Title:
Rain gutter guard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rain gutter guard has mounting tabs that are integrally cut into or otherwise formed with a body of the rain gutter guard. The body includes a hood and a flange extending therefrom. The flange is attachable to a roof, and the hood has a forward surface from which the mounting tabs extend. A system for directing the flow of water into a rain gutter includes the rain gutter positioned adjacent to an edge of a roof and a guard attached to the roof and to the rain gutter. A method of directing water from a roof to a rain gutter includes attaching a guard to the roof and to the rain gutter. Integral mounting tabs extending from the guard position the guard such that it stands off from the rain gutter and defines a gap through which water can flow into the rain gutter.



Inventors:
Stagni, John M. (Moodus, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/400593
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
04/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John Stagni (Moodus, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A guard for a rain gutter, said guard comprising: a hood; and a flange extending from said hood and attachable to a roof; said hood having a forward surface having a mounting tab depending therefrom, said mounting tab being integral with said hood and attachable to a surface of said rain gutter.

2. The guard of claim 1, wherein once said mounting tab is coupled to said rain gutter, said hood and said rain gutter cooperate to define a gap therebetween through which water can flow.

3. The guard of claim 1, wherein said hood and said flange define a unitary member, said flange being bent relative to said hood to correspond to a pitch angle defined by said roof to which said guard is attached.

4. The guard of claim 1, further comprising a fastener positionable through said mounting tab for coupling said guard to said rain gutter.

5. The guard of claim 4, wherein said fastener is selected from the group consisting of screws, bolts, and rivets.

6. The guard of claim 1, further comprising a deflector member extending from a terminal edge forming part of said hood.

7. The guard of claim 1, wherein said hood comprises a non-perforated surface.

8. A system for directing water into a gutter, said system comprising: a rain gutter positioned adjacent to an edge of a roof; and a guard attached to said rain gutter, said guard comprising, a hood positioned over said rain gutter, and a flange extending from said hood, said flange being attachable to said roof, wherein said hood includes an integral mounting tab, said mounting tab extending therefrom for attachment to said rain gutter.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein said mounting tab is attached to said rain gutter using a fastener.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein said rain gutter includes a front lip and said mounting tab is attached to an inside surface thereof.

11. The system of claim 9, wherein said rain gutter includes a front lip having an upwardly-facing surface to which said mounting tab is attached.

12. The system of claim 9, wherein said rain gutter includes a forward-facing surface to which said mounting tab is attached.

13. The system of claim 9, wherein said mounting tab is attached to a cross-member of said rain gutter.

14. The system of claim 8 wherein said mounting tab is attached to a forward-facing surface of said rain gutter by being crimped thereto.

15. The system of claim 8, wherein said mounting tab is attached to said rain gutter so as to define a gap between said hood and an upper lip of said rain gutter.

16. The system of claim 8, wherein said flange is attachable to said roof and is positioned at least in part under a course of shingles.

17. The system of claim 8, wherein said hood is non-perforated.

18. The system of claim 8, further comprising a drip bar attached to said roof.

19. The system of claim 8, further comprising a deflector member disposed at a terminal edge of said hood.

20. A method of directing water from a roof to a rain gutter, said method comprising the steps of: attaching a guard to said roof; and attaching said guard to said rain gutter via an integral mounting tab extending from said guard, said rain gutter and said guard cooperating to define a gap therebetween.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is entitled to the benefit of and incorporates by reference the disclosure of U.S. Patent Application 60/670,476 filed on Apr. 11, 2005.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention generally relates to rain gutters and, more particularly, to guards for rain gutters, the guards being attachable to the rain gutters to allow water to enter the gutters while preventing or limiting the amount of solid debris collecting in the gutters.

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Conventional rain gutter guards are generally attached to rain gutters using clips or other fasteners made of metal or plastic. These guards are typically attached by being positioned along the rain gutters and attached to the roof under the shingles along one longitudinal edge and clipped to the rain gutters along an opposing longitudinal edge. During the mounting of conventional rain gutter guards, the clips can be lost or broken. The attachment of the clips to both the gutters and the guards also provides a point of weakness that may, in high winds or under heavy snow or rainfall, cause one or more of the clips to break or separate from either the guard or the rain gutter, thus compromising the structural integrity of the guard/gutter assembly and its attachment to the roof. Furthermore, the use of clips adds weight to the gutter/guard assembly, which can undesirably stress the roof. Moreover, the use of clips typically raises the profile of the guard on the gutter and increases the likelihood that the guard will be seen from the ground.

Based on the foregoing, it is a general object of the present invention to provide a rain gutter guard that overcomes the problems and drawbacks of conventional rain gutter guards.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention resides in one aspect in a rain gutter guard having mounting tabs that are integrally cut into or otherwise formed with a body of the rain gutter guard. The body of the rain gutter guard includes a hood and a flange extending from the hood. The flange is attachable to a roof, and the hood has a forward surface from which the mounting tabs extend.

In a second aspect, the present invention is directed to a system for directing the flow of water into a rain gutter. The system includes the rain gutter positioned adjacent to an edge of a roof and a guard attached to the roof and to the rain gutter. The guard includes a hood positioned over an open top of the rain gutter. A flange extends from the hood and is attachable to the roof, preferably under a first course of shingles. The hood has an integral mounting tab for attaching the guard to the rain gutter.

In a third aspect, the present invention is directed to a method of directing water from a roof to a rain gutter. In the method, a guard is attached to the roof and to the rain gutter. Integral mounting tabs extending from the guard position the guard such that it stands off from the rain gutter and defines a gap through which water can flow into the rain gutter.

In the present invention, the use of clips can be avoided altogether. One advantage is that by eliminating the use of clips, the weight of the guard/gutter assembly is reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of weight placed on the edge of the roof.

Another advantage is that by eliminating the use of clips, the profile of the guard on the gutter is lowered, thus making the guard less noticeable from the ground (or not noticeable at all).

Still another advantage of not using clips is that fewer parts are required for mounting the guard, which means that the potential for losing or breaking parts during assembly and after installation is reduced.

Still another advantage is that the non-perforated surface of the preferred embodiments of the guard allows for a flow of water across the guard without the potential for holes, slots, or other perforations to become clogged with debris.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective cutaway view of the rain gutter guard of the present invention mounted on a rain gutter.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention attached to an inner surface of a rain gutter.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention attached to an outer surface of a rain gutter.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention attached to a forward facing surface of a lip of a rain gutter.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention having a bent surface for directing a flow of water into a rain gutter.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention attached to a cross-member of a rain gutter.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a rain gutter guard of the present invention in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a rain gutter guard of the present invention is shown generally at 10 and is hereinafter referred to as “guard 10.” Guard 10 is an elongated device having a lengthwise dimension indicated by L, which corresponds to the longitudinal dimension of a rain gutter, and a widthwise dimension indicated by W, which corresponds to the widthwise dimension of the rain gutter. The lengthwise dimension L is generally substantially greater than the widthwise dimension W. The guard 10 can extend for all or any portion of the length of a rain gutter (in the lengthwise dimension L), although it is preferable that the guard covers the entire length of the gutter.

The guard 10 comprises a hood 12 that forms a front portion of the guard and a rear flange 14 that extends from a rear portion of the hood. As used herein, the terms “front” and “forward” are used to indicate the surface of the guard that faces outward from the building on which the gutter is mounted and the term “rear” is used to indicate the surface of the guard that faces the building or is attached to the roof of the building. Preferably the material of the guard 10 is such that the rear flange 14 can fold, flex, or be bent relative to the hood 12 to facilitate the attachment of the guard to the roof of a building. The edge of the material of the guard 10 opposite the edge at which the rear flange 14 is formed extends under and back around toward the rear of the guard 10 to define the front edge of the hood 12.

The hood 12 is defined by a unitary member having a non-perforated surface. In other words, the hood 12 is defined by a contiguous surface lacking holes, slots, or other openings that would interrupt the flow of water over the surface. The contiguity of the surface allows water to flow directly from one edge of the hood 12 to the other.

Mounting tabs 16 are cut into or otherwise formed so as to be integral with the front edge of the hood 12. The mounting tabs 16 are bent or are bendable relative to the hood 12 to facilitate the attachment of the guard 10 to a portion of the rain gutter and to enable the guard to stand off from the gutter.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the guard 10 is mounted on a rain gutter (shown at 20) by locating the rear flange 14 under a course of shingles 22 or tiles and connecting the hood 12 to the rain gutter. The rear flange 14 is at least partially located under the first course of shingles 22 rearward of a drip bar 24 attached to the front edge of the roof. The mounting tabs 16 are attached to the gutter 20 via any suitable fastener 26. The fastener 26 is set through the gutter 20 and the mounting tab 16 to secure the hood 12 to the gutter. Although the guard 10 is shown as being attached to the inside surface of a front lip 28 of the gutter 20, the present invention is not limited in this regard as the guard may be attached to the gutter at other locations, as indicated below. Suitable fasteners include, but are not limited to, self-tapping sheet metal screws, bolts, rivets, and the like.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the mounting tabs 16 may be positioned on any surface of the gutter 20 conducive to attachment of the hood 12 to the gutter. As shown in FIG. 3, the mounting tabs 16 may be attached to an inside surface 32 of the front lip 28 to secure the hood 12 to the gutter 20. The forward-most edge of the hood 12 is substantially coincident with the front lip 28 or slightly overhanging. A fastener 26 is set through a substantially upward-facing surface 34 of the front lip 28 to engage at least a portion of the mounting tab 16. When fastened, the guard 10 is pulled upward against the front lip 28. If the fastener 26 is a self-tapping sheet metal screw, the threaded engagement thereof with the mounting tab 16 may allow the screw to be periodically tightened to pull the mounting tab against the inside surface 32 of the front lip 28 in the event that the connection becomes loose over time. Furthermore, fastening the mounting tab 16 under or against the inside surface 32 of the front lip 28 lowers the profile of the guard 10 on the gutter 20 and also obscures any rough edges, burrs, or other defects that may be realized during the forming of the mounting tab.

When the mounting tab 16 is fastened under or against the inside surface 32 of the front lip 28, a gap G1 is formed between the forward-most edge of the hood 12 and the front lip. The gap G1 is sized to prevent or limit the amount of debris (e.g., leaf material, pine needles, children's toys) that may be received into the gutter 20. The gap may also be sized to prevent or discourage the entry of birds or rodents.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the mounting tabs 16 are attached to the upward-facing surface 34 of the front lip 28. The present invention is not limited in this regard, however, as the mounting tabs 16 may be attached to other surfaces of the gutter. In embodiments of the guard 10 in which the mounting tabs 16 are attached to the upward-facing surface 34 of the front lip 28, the mounting tabs are bent to lay as flat as possible on the upward-facing surface, and the fasteners 26 secure the mounting tabs to the upward-facing surface. A gap G2 is formed between the forward-most edge of the hood 12 and the upward-facing surface 34 of the front lip 28. The gap G2 is also sized to prevent or limit the amount of debris that may be received into the gutter 20 and may also prevent or discourage the entry of birds or rodents.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the mounting tabs 16 may be bent in such a way so as to be accommodated on a forward-facing surface of the front lip 28. The mounting tab 16 may be bent, molded, or otherwise formed such that the inner surface of the mounting tab corresponds with the outer surface of the front lip 28. Fasteners 26 may be used to secure the mounting tab 16 to the forward-facing surface. Additionally (or in the alternative), the mounting tab 16 may be crimped to or otherwise made to frictionally fit the front lip 28. In such an embodiment, a gap G3 is formed and sized to prevent or limit the amount of debris that may be received into the gutter 20 and may also prevent or discourage the entry of birds or rodents.

Referring now to FIG. 6, in any embodiment and irrespective of where the mounting tab 16 is located on the gutter 20, the hood 12 may include a deflector member 40 at a terminal edge thereof. The deflector member 40 may be defined by a bend or curl in the edge of the hood 12 to direct or deflect the flow of water. In particular, the bend or curl may be in a forward direction to direct the flow of water (shown by an arrow R) against a substantially vertical wall of the gutter 20. By doing so the water is made to cascade downward along the inner surface of the gutter 20 (as opposed to the water dripping from the terminal edge onto a bottom surface 44 of the gutter). By minimizing the angle at which the water cascades against the inner surface of the gutter 20 by directing the water down a vertical surface, a less aggressive flow of water into the gutter is realized, which may reduce the amount of stress placed on the gutter and may also reduce the amount of noise emitted as a result of water striking the surface of the gutter.

In any of the above-described embodiments, the fastener 26 is received through the lip and the mounting tab 16. Referring now to FIG. 7, the mounting tab 16 may be secured to a cross-member 46 of the gutter 20 using the fastener 26.

In FIG. 8, a system for directing water into the rain gutter is shown. The gutter 20 is attached to an edge of a roof of a building. The guard 10 is mounted on the gutter 20 such that water (shown at arrow R) cascading down the roof or landing directly on the guard travels across the hood 12. As the water travels across the hood 12, the surface tension of the water causes the water to be pulled around the front edge of the hood where it drips into the gutter 20 or is directed against the inner surface of the gutter. End caps 30 may be attached to the ends of the guard 10 to prevent or limit the entry of debris into the gutter 20.

In any of the above-disclosed embodiments, the guard 10 can be a single piece that is mounted over the rain gutter, or several shorter guards can be mounted over the rain gutter. Materials from which the guard 10 may be fabricated include, but are not limited to, metal, plastic, fiberglass, and the like. The materials can be painted, cast, or molded to have any color desired. For example, the color can be matched to the color of the rain gutter or the roofing material.

Although this invention has been shown and described with respect to the detailed embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those of skill in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed in the above detailed description, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims