Title:
Methods and apparatus for inhibiting growth on roofs and other structures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Methods and apparatus for inhibiting growth of moss, fungus, algae, and other vegetation on roofs and other housing structures include a metallic strip mounted to the structure by non-intrusive mounting elements, as for example, adhesive, to avoid permanent damage to the structure to which the strip is mounted. The metallic strip, preferably formed from zinc or a zinc alloy, reacts with water, preferably rain water, to form a growth inhibiting solution which flows down the roof or other structure to which the strip is mounted. The strip defines a reservoir for increasing the contact time between water and the strip to increase the metallic content of the solution for more effectively inhibiting growth on the structure to which the strip is mounted.



Inventors:
Buckenmaier Jr., Erwine T. (Westport, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/049006
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
02/02/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark P. Stone (Hawthorne, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A metallic element for reacting with water flowing over said metallic element to form a solution for inhibiting growth on an outdoor structure, said metallic element comprising: at least one reservoir defined in said metallic element, said reservoir adapted to at least partially impede the flow of water over said metallic element so as to increase the time in which said water remains in contact with said metallic element.

2. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein said at least one reservoir comprises a channel defined in said metallic element.

3. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein said metallic element is a strip.

4. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein said metallic element is formed from pure metal.

5. The metallic element as claimed in claim 4, wherein said metal is zinc.

6. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein said metallic element is formed from a metal alloy.

7. The metallic element as claimed in claim 6, wherein said metallic element is formed from a zinc alloy.

8. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein said metallic element comprises a first planar portion extending from a first side of said at least one reservoir.

9. The metallic element as claimed in claim 8, wherein said: first planar portion of said metallic element includes non-invasive means for mounting said metallic element to said outdoor structure.

10. The metallic element as claimed in claim 9, wherein said means for mounting includes an adhesive material applied to at least a part of said first planar portion of said metallic element.

11. The metallic element as claimed in claim 8, wherein said metallic element comprises a second planar portion extending from a second side of said reservoir.

12. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least a portion of a surface of said metallic element over which said water flows is roughened.

13. The metallic element as claimed in claim 1, wherein metallic element is adapted to be mounted to a roof.

14. A metallic element for reacting with water flowing over said metallic element to form a solution for inhibiting growth on an outdoor structure, said metallic element comprising: non-invasive means for mounting said metallic element to any selected position on said outdoor -structure.

15. The metallic element as claimed in claim 14, wherein said non-invasive means comprises an adhesive material.

16. The metallic element as claimed in claim 14, wherein said non-invasive means is adapted to removably mount said metallic element to said outdoor structure.

17. The metallic element as claimed in claim 14, wherein said metallic element comprises at least one reservoir and at least a first planar portion extending from a first side of said at least one reservoir, said non-invasive means for mounting said metallic element applied, at least in part, to said first planar portion.

18. The metallic element as claimed in claim 17, wherein said metallic element comprises a second planar portion extending from a second side of said at least one reservoir.

19. A method of inhibiting growth on an outdoor structure, said method comprising the steps of: mounting an element to said outdoor structure for reacting with water flowing over said element to form a solution for inhibiting growth on said outdoor structure, and increasing the time in which said element remains in contact with said water flowing over said element by impeding the flow of said water over said element by at least one reservoir formed in said element.

20. The method as claimed in claim 19, further including the step of: mounting said element to any selected location on said outdoor structure by non-invasive mounting means.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to improved methods and apparatus for inhibiting growth of vegetation, algae, moss and fungi on outdoor surfaces, and in particular, roofs and other external housing stuctures. A metallic strip, preferably formed from zinc or a zinc alloy, is mounted to a structure, such as a roof, and reacts with water, usually rain water, to form a growth inhibiting solution which flows down the surface of the roof.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,216,864 discloses a typical known growth inhibiting device. In accordance with this prior art patent, a metallic strip of zinc alloy includes a portion defining a plurality of openings for mounting the strip to a roof. Nails are driven through the openings in the strip and into the roof for mounting the strip at a fixed position on the roof. The nails driven through the roof disadvantageously result in openings in the roof itself which may lead to short term or long term roof leakage.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,119,604 discloses another known device for inhibiting growth on a roof structure. The device disclosed in this patent is a metallic strip applied to a roof structure. Although the metallic strip is applied to the roof structure by adhesive material, the metallic strip is applied to only a very specific location on the roof, namely a gap defined between adjacent longitudinal edges of the roof, the gap being covered by ridge tile members. Moreover, the growth inhibiting strip disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,119,604 is applicable to only a single type of roof, namely a tile roof in which a tile roof cap assembly incorporates the growth , inhibiting metal strip into the overall structure.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,479,130 discloses a bi-metallic strip attachable to a roof structure for preventing discoloration of the roof as a result of biological action.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,035,079 discloses a vegetation barrier applied to the lower edge of fencing, or to adjacent buildings or other structures, for eliminating the growth of vegetation, grass or weeds at the location at which the barrier is applied. The '079 patent does not disclose attaching the vegetation barrier to a roof structure.

It is the primary object of the present invention to provide an improved method and device for inhibiting the growth of vegetation, fungi, moss and algae on external structures, and in particular roofs. As will be discussed in greater detail herein, the improved methods and apparatus in accordance with the present invention include a growth inhibiting element designed to be mounted at any location without causing permanent damage to the roof, and further designed to define a structure by which the contact time between roof water and the strip is increased for increasing. the metallic concentration of solution flowing down the roof to increase the efficiency by which the strip inhibits growth on the roof surface. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the folowing description of the invention in conjunction with the drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to methods and apparatus for inhibiting the growth of vegetation, moss, algae and fungi on external structures, and in particular, roofs. A metallic strip, preferably formed from zinc or a zinc alloy, is mounted to one or more positions on the outer surface of a roof by non-invasive mounting means, as for example, an adhesive strip or an adhesive material applied to at least a portion of one surface of the strip. In this manner, the strip can be mounted to any position on the roof selected by the user, and the mounting process does not result in any permanent damage to the roof. Moreover, since each strip is adhesively mounted to the roof, the strip can be relocated to a different position on the roof, if desired by the user, without leaving any uncovered openings in the roof at the location at which the strip was originally mounted.

In order to increase the time in which water, and in particular rainwater falling on the roof, remains in contact with the metallic strip, the metallic strip is designed to define a reservoir for impeding the flow of rainwater down the roof. The reservoir temporarily receives and retains rain water therein before the water continues its flow down the roof, thereby increasing the dwell or contact time between rainwater and the metallic strip. This, in turn, increases the metallic (zinc) concentration of the solution formed from the reaction between the rainwater and the metallic strip, thereby enhancing the growth inhibiting effect of the solution as it flows down the roof. Preferably, the upper surface of the metallic strip in which the reservoir is defined, is also roughened to further impede the flow of rainwater over the strip, acting in combination with the reservoir also defined on the upper surface of the metallic strip which also impedes the flow of rainwater over the strip.

In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the metallic strip can be formed from pure metal, preferably pure zinc, and not a metal alloy. This will assure that the growth inhibiting solution formed by the reaction of the rainwater to the metallic strip, will have a rich concentration of metallic oxide (zinc oxide), the growth inhibiting material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a metallic strip in accordance with the present invention mounted to a roof;

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross sectional view of the metallic strip in accordance with the present invention, as viewed along directional arrows II-II of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 illustrates a bottom plane view of the metallic strip illustrated by FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The improved methods and apparatus for inhibiting growth on an outdoor structure, in accordance with the present invention, are illustrated by FIGS. 1-3 of the drawing. Although the description of the preferred embodiment of the invention is discussed with respect to a roof, the methods and apparatus disclosed and claimed herein are equally applicable to inhibiting growth, such as moss, algae and other vegetation, and fungi, on outdoor structures other than roofs.

FIG. 1 illustrates a growth inhibiting strip, generally designated by reference numeral 2, mounted to a roof structure, generally designated by reference numeral 4. Preferably, the metallic strip is formed from pure zinc, and extends longitudinally across the outer surface of the roof 4. The strip 2 will typically be approximately four feet in length, 3 inches in width and 100 mm. in thickness. One or more strips 2 can be mounted to the roof 4 at any desired locations. As will be discussed in greater detail herein, the strips 2 are mounted to the roof 4 substantially perpendicular to the direction of flow of water down the roof so as to partially obstruct and interfere with water flowing down the roof to increase the time during which the water remains in contact with the metallic strip 2.

FIG. 2 of the drawing is a cross sectional view of the metallic strip 2 in accordance with the present invention. The strip includes a planer portion generally designated by reference numeral 6, having an upper surface designated by reference numeral 8 and a lower surface designated by reference numeral 10. And adhesive material, such as a strip or coating designated by reference numeral 12, is applied to at least a portion of the lower surface 10 of the planer portion 6 of the metallic strip 2. The strip 2 is mounted to the upper surface of the roof 4, as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, by the adhesive material 12 on the lower surface 10 of the planar portion 6 of the metallic strip 2.

The planar portion 6 has a first free end designated by reference numeral 14 and an opposed end designated by reference numeral 16 which terminates in an upwardly extending wall designated by reference numeral 18. The wall 18 forms part of an upwardly extending protrusion, designated by reference numeral 20. The strip 2 includes a second planar portion designated by reference numeral 22 which is disposed between upwardly extending protrusion 20 and a second upwardly extending protrusion designated by reference numeral 24. The upwardly extending protrusions 20 and 24, together with the second planar portion 22 disposed between the upwardly extending protrusions, define a reservoir generally designated by reference numeral 26. Preferably, the reservoir 26 is an opened channel extending longitudinally with the strip 2. A third planar portion, designated by reference numeral 28, extends from the second upwardly extending protrusion 24. The third planar portion 28 has a first end, designated by reference numeral 30, extending from the protrusion 24, and a second, free end generally designated by reference numeral 32.

The configurations of the upwardly extending protrusions 20 and 24 can vary from that illustrated in FIG. 2 provided that the heights of the protrusions are sufficient, in combination with planar portion 22 therebetween, to define the reservoir 26 for impeding the flow of water down the roof 2. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the first upwardly extending protrusion 20 is elevated 0.12 inches above the top surface 8 of the first planar portion 6, the second planar portion 22 is 0.05 inches above the first planar portion 6, and the second upwardly extending protrusion 24 is elevated 0.07 inches above the second planar portion 22. The third planar portion 28 slopes downwardly at an angle of approximately 3 degrees. Additionally, the metallic strip 2 is 3 inches in width, and the width of each of the three planar portions 8, 22 and 28 are approximately 1 inch. As noted above, the length of the metallic strip 2 is preferably approximately 4 feet. However, the length, width and height dimensions of the metallic strip 2, and the different sections thereof, can be varied.

Although the illustrated embodiment of the invention shows a single reservoir 26 defined between protrusions 20 and 24, it is also within the scope of the invention to provide two or more reservoirs by providing one or more additional protrusions extending upwardly from the planar portion 22. For example, a third protrusion extending upwardly from the center region of the planar portion 22 will define two reservoirs having substantially equal widths. The widths of the multiple reservoirs are adjustable by adjusting the positions of the upwardly extending protrusions and/or the width of the bottom planar portion 22. Providing multiple reservoirs will further impede the flow of roof water and increase the dwell time of the roof water in the reservoirs.

FIG. 3 illustrates a bottom plan view of the metallic strip illustrated by FIG. 2. Common elements illustrated by FIG. 3 are designated with the same reference numerals used in FIG. 2. FIG. 3 illustrates the adhesive material 12 applied to the planar portion 6 of the metallic strip 2. A removable protective layer, as for example, a strip of paper, can be applied over the adhesive material 12 to prevent the metallic strip from adhering to any surface before it is mounted to the roof 4.

In operation, the strip 2 is mounted to the roof 4 so that the strip extends in a substantially longitidunal direction relative to the roof, and is oriented substantially perpendicular to the flow of water down the roof 4. The longitudinally extending strip 2, as a result of its substantially perpendicular orientation to the flow of water down the roof, and as a further result of the opened channel reservoir 26 defined in the longitudinally extending strip 2, will temporarily obstruct the flow of water down the roof 4. The roof water will temporarily dwell within the opened channel reservoir 26 defined in the strip 2 as it flows down the roof. During this dwell time, the roof water reacts with the zinc from which the strip is formed, resulting in a zinc solution flowing down the roof below the position of the strip 2. The reservoir 26 increases the time during which the roof water remains in contact with the zinc strip, thereby increasing the concentration of the zinc solution formed from the reaction to result in a more efficient inhibition of growth as the flowing zinc solution is applied to the outer roof surface. A plurality of strips 2 can be mounted at different positions along the roof 2 to increase the surface area of the roof over which the zinc solution is distributed. Additionally, the upper surface of the strip 2, or at least portions thereof, can be roughened to further impede the flow of water over the strip 2, which in cooperation with the reservoir 26 defined in the strip, further increases the time during which roof water remains in contact with the strip to increase the zinc concentration of the resulting solution.

Other modifications and variations to the metallic strip described herein within the scope of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. As noted, the length, width, height and thickness of the metallic strip and the different sections thereof can be varied from that disclosed herein; the strip can be formed from metals or metal alloys other than zinc; the adhesive materials for applying the strip to a roof structure can include any suitable mastics, adhesives, glues or polymeric materials; and the strip can be used to inhibit growth on structures other than roofs. Therefore, the description of the preferred embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are intended only to be illustrative of the invention, and not restrictive of its scope, that scope being defined by the following claims and all equivalents thereto.