Title:
Leak diverter device for use with gutters
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A leak diverter device for use with gutters is provided. The leak diverter device provides a novel and effective method for diverting water leaked from a gutter away from a fascia board or other moisture sensitive material. The leak diverter device is generally installed between a gutter and the fascia board adjacent a joint in the gutter. The leak diverter blocks leaked water from contacting the fascia board and directs it down and away from the fascia board toward the ground. The leak diverter device generally comprises a first portion located substantially parallel to a fascia board and a second portion protruding from the first portion away from the fascia board. Additionally, it is preferable that the angle between the first portion and the second portion be greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees. Furthermore, the leak diverter device may be installed adjacent a straight section of gutter or may be installed at a corner where two gutter sections join. When installed at a corner, the first portion and the second portion of the leak diverter include two sections that are at an angle to each other that is substantially the same as the angle of the corner.



Inventors:
Mehaffey, Joseph H. (Dawsonville, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/357573
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
02/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/302.1
International Classes:
B61D17/12
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A leak diverting device for use with a rain gutter and a fascia board for diverting water leaked from the rain gutter away from the fascia board, the lead diverting device comprising: a first portion located substantially parallel to the fascia board; and a second portion protruding from the first portion away from the fascia board; wherein an angle between the first portion and second portion is greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees.

2. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein at least part of the first portion is located between the rain gutter and the fascia board.

3. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the first portion has a top end and a bottom end and the fascia board extends below the bottom end of the first portion.

4. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the angle between the first portion and the second portion is greater than 90 degrees and less than 160 degrees.

5. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the first portion is made of a non-corrosive material.

6. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the first portion has a thickness that is sufficiently thin to allow installation between a preinstalled rain gutter and a fascia board.

7. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the first portion has a first section and a second section and the first portion is adapted such that an angle between the first section and the second section is substantially equal to 90 degrees.

8. The leak diverting device of claim 7, wherein the leak diverting device is adapted to fit into an inside corner.

9. The leak diverting device of claim 7, wherein the leak diverting device is adapted to fit into an outside corner.

10. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the lead diverting device is adapted for use on a corner having a first angle; wherein the first portion has a first section and a second section; and wherein the first portion is adapted such that an angle between the first section and the second section is substantially equal to the first angle.

11. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the leak diverting device is composed of a resilient material.

12. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the lead diverting device is composed of plastic.

13. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the second portion directs water down and away from the fascia board.

14. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the gutter has a gutter joint and the first portion is adjacent the gutter joint.

15. The leak diverting device of claim 1, wherein the gutter has a leak and the first portion is adjacent the leak.

16. A leak diverting device for use with a rain gutter for diverting water leaked from the rain gutter away from a structure on which the gutter is associated, the lead diverting device comprising: a first portion located substantially parallel to the structure; and a second portion protruding from the first portion away from the structure; wherein an angle between the first portion and second portion is greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the field of gutters, and more particularly, an apparatus for diverting water leaked from a gutter away from a structure to prevent moisture damage to the structure.

BACKGROUND

Gutters have been used for centuries to collect rainwater running off of a building's roof and to channel the water to a downspout to take the water to the ground. It is desirable to collect the water and transfer it to the ground with minimal water contacting the building. Wood or corrosive materials may be damaged with prolonged exposure to water. Accordingly, it is highly desirable to provide gutters that do not leak. This is especially troublesome on most residential structures where the gutters are installed adjacent a fascia board, which is generally susceptible to rot. If the gutters leak onto the fascia board, it may rot and require costly repairs.

Today, gutters are typically constructed of aluminum, because of its non-corrosive and light weight properties. Often, aluminum gutters are supplied in long sections which are joined by junction plates. Unfortunately, wherever there is a joint, the gutters are prone to leaking. Even when sealed, these joints eventually develop leaks.

One solution to this problem has been to provide gutters in continuous lengths between the end and corners of the roof line. This is typically accomplished by forming the gutters at the jobsite and cutting them to length to custom fit the structure. This reduces the number of joints, however, joints are still necessary at each corner. Thus, even this improved installation method yields the same leakage issues.

In order to minimize leaks, gutter installers generally use a sealant, such as caulk, at the seams. Such sealants are often initially effective, but temperature changes due to the weather put a strain on the sealant. It is very difficult for a sealant to maintain a water tight seal over time when exposed to intense summer heat and winter cold. The gutter is constantly expanding and contracting with the environmental temperature and unless the sealant expands and contracts at the same rate, gaps will form. Once a gap forms, a leak is likely to follow.

Another problem is that if a leak develops after installation, it can be very difficult to reapply the sealant in the gutters. This is especially problematic in some of today's covered gutter systems where the covers limit, or prevent, access to the inside of the gutter without disassembling the gutter. While, disassembly is possible, it greatly increases the time, effort, and cost associated with accessing the inside of the gutter.

One solution is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,186,531 to Okolischan. Okolischan describes a plate that can be inserted between the gutter and the fascia board. The plate extends past the fascia board so that water dripping down the plate will be carried past the fascia board and therefore will not contact it. This solution is undesirable for many installations. Since the plate must extend past the fascia board, it can be unsightly, especially when wide fascia boards are used. Additionally, the Okolischan device does not direct the water away from the structure, it merely allows it to drip down from below the fascia board. Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an apparatus to keep water leaked from a gutter away from a building structure.

Additionally, there is a need in the art for an apparatus that can be easily installed with a gutter system for protecting a structure for leaks that develop when sealants break down.

Also, there is a need in the art for an apparatus that can be installed into an existing gutter system to protect a structure from water leaking from the gutter.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a leak diverter for diverting leaked water from a gutter away from a structure. The leak diverter device provides a novel and effective method for diverting water leaked from a gutter away from a fascia board or other moisture sensitive material. The leak diverter-may be installed along with a new gutter system at each gutter seam or gutter joint to divert any water leaked through the joint away from the structure on which the gutter is installed. Additionally, the leak diverter may be installed in an existing gutter system when leaks are discovered or as a preventative measure to combat potential leaks and to preserve the structure on which the gutter is mounted. In residential applications, the gutter is typically mounted to a fascia board and thus the leak diverter may be installed between the gutter and the fascia board.

The leak diverter generally comprises a first portion located substantially parallel to a fascia board and a second portion adjacent to and protruding from the first portion away from the fascia board. Additionally, it is preferable that the angle between the first portion and the second portion be greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees. Furthermore, the leak diverter may be installed adjacent a straight section of gutter or may be installed at a corner where two gutter sections meet. When installed at a corner, the first portion and the second portion of the leak diverter are shaped at an angle that is substantially the same as the angle of the corner.

The leak diverter is preferably impervious to water to protect the fascia board by serving as a barrier to water leaking from the gutter. The leak diverter also preferably has a surface that allows leaked water to run down the leak diverter and to drip away from the fascia board.

In a corner arrangement, the leak diverter structure follows the contour of the corner, maintaining its position between the fascia board and the gutter. Structures for various corner configurations are described.

These and other features as well as advantages, which characterize the various preferred embodiments of present invention, will be apparent from a reading of the following detailed description and a review of the associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention installed between a fascia board and a gutter on an outside corner of a building.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention installed between a fascia board and a gutter on an inside corner of a building.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building.

FIG. 4 is a top-view illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building.

FIG. 5 is a side-view illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building.

FIG. 7 is a top-view illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building.

FIG. 8 is a side-view illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals represent like elements, exemplary embodiments of the present invention are herein described.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show two exemplary embodiments of the present invention installed in on a residential structure. Specifically, FIG. 1 shows a leak diverter 100 installed on an outside corner of a house between a fascia board 110 and a gutter 105. For context, the roof 115 and the walls 120 of the house are shown. As installed, the leak diverter 100 is positioned between the gutter and the fascia board 110 adjacent a seam in the gutter 105. Thus, if any water leaks from the gutter 105 at the seam, it will be kept away from the fascia board 110 and away from the house by the leak diverter 100. While FIG. 1 shows the leak diverter 100 installed at an outside corner of the house, the leak diverter 100 may be installed adjacent any gutter seam, any gutter leak, or any other portion of a gutter. For example, and not limitation, seams may be located at any point where two gutter sections meet.

FIG. 2 shows a leak diverter 100 installed between a fascia board 110 and a gutter 105 on an inside corner of a building. Additionally, a leak diverter 100 could be installed along a straight section of gutter 105 if a gutter section was too short to span between two corners.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the leak diverter includes a first portion 300 that is located adjacent a fascia board and a second portion 305 protruding from the first portion and away from the fascia board 110. In such an arrangement, the first portion 300 is between the fascia board 110 and the gutter 105. Accordingly, the first portion 300 may preferably be sufficiently thin so as to allow installation between the gutter and the fascia board without spacing the gutter 105 a significant distance from the fascia board 110. In fact, in some embodiments of the present invention, it may be desirable to provide a first portion 300 that is thin enough to be inserted between a gutter 105 that is already installed adjacent the fascia board 110.

Typically, when installing the leak diverter 100 into a preinstalled gutter system, the gutter 105 may be deflected a small distance away from the fascia board 110. Those skilled in the art will recognize that such deflection may require removal of one or more gutter anchors used to attach the gutter 105 to the fascia board 110. Thus, it may be desirable for the leak deflector 100 to be sufficiently thin and rigid to enable one to insert the leak diverter 100 into a tight fitting location.

The first portion 300 is preferably of sufficient height to extend near the top of the gutter. In such a configuration, the leak diverter 100 will divert a leak from the gutter 105 regardless of how high in the gutter the leak is. Thus, even if the gutter 105 is nearly full of water, the leak diverter 100 may be capable of diverting a leak.

The second portion 305 extends down from the first portion 300 and directs water down and away from the fascia board 110 and the building. By being positioned at an angle away from the fascia board 110, water leaking from the gutter 105 will run down the first portion 300 to the second portion 305 and then drip off the bottom end of the second portion 305 a distance away from the fascia board 110 so as to prevent water contact. Preferably, the angle between the first portion 300 and second portion 305 is greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees so that the water will run down and away from the fascia board 110. In an exemplary embodiment, the bottom edge of the second portion 305 may be approximately one-half inch or more away from the fascia board 110. Accordingly, the water will drip away from the fascia board 110 thereby keeping the fascia board 110 dry and protected.

When using the leak diverter 100 along a straight run of gutter 105, the leak diverter 100 may be arranged with a flat first portion 300 and a flat second portion 305. However, when using the leak diverter 100 on a corner, as shown in FIG. 2, it is preferable that the first portion 300 include two sections 300a, 300b and that the second portion include two sections 305a, 305b. For use with a right angle corner, the two sections 300a, 300b are preferably at a right angle to each other. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention may be practiced with any corner having any corner angle.

Throughout this description, the first portion 300 may refer to the single section 300a arrangement without the corner or to the two section 300a, 300b arrangement for use on a corner.

FIG. 4 shows a top-view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building. As shown in FIG. 4, the first portion 300 includes two sections 300a, 300b. Additionally, FIG. 4 shows the two sections 300a, 300b or the first portion 300 arranged at an angle of approximately 90 degrees.

FIG. 5 shows a side-view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an inside corner of a building. As shown in FIG. 5, the first portion 300 is adjacent the second portion 305 and the second portion 305 is angled into the page.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building. As shown in FIG. 6, the first portion 300 of the leak diverter is made up of two sections 300a, 300b. Additionally, the two sections 300a, 300b of the first portion 300 of the leak diverter 100 are arranged such that the first section 300a is at an angle to the second section 300b such that the first portion 300 can fit around an outside corner of a building or other structure. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the angle between the first section 300a and the second section 300b may be approximately 90 degrees in order to fit around a corner that is approximately a right angle. Alternatively, the angle between the first section 300a and the second section 300b may be any angle substantially corresponding to a corner angle to be fit. For example, and not limitation, in order to accommodate a bay window, the roof line of a house may have corners of approximately 120 to 150 degrees. Accordingly, it may be desirable to utilize a leak diverter 100 with a matching angle between the two sections 300a, 300b in order to divert leaks that could arise at a gutter joint at this location. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be familiar with common angles used in constructing various corners and it may be preferable for the present invention to be manufactured at these common angles for use on these corners.

Also shown in FIG. 6 is the second portion 305 of the leak diverter. Similar to the arrangement described above, the second portion 305 is adjacent the first portion 305 and is angled away from the fascia board 110 of a building. In an exemplary arrangement, the second portion 305 is located below the first portion. Additionally, the first portion 300 and the second portion 305 may be fabricated as a single unitary piece. As shown in FIGS. 6, 7, and 8, the second portion 305 of the leak diverter extends around a corner. Due to the second portion 305 being angled away from the building, the second portion 305 may include three sections 305a, 305b, 305c. The third section 305c is used to bridge the gap between the first two sections 305a, 305b since they may not touch at the corner. This third section 305c may be, but is not limited to, a curved section, as shown in FIG. 6, a corner section, or any other arrangement appropriate for connecting the other two sections 305a, 305b.

FIG. 7 shows a top-view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building. As shown in FIG. 7, the first portion 300 of the leak diverter 100 is arranged with a right angle between its two sections 300a, 300b. Additionally, the corner 300c where the two sections 300a, 300b meet may be rounded.

FIG. 8 shows a side-view illustration of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention for use on an outside corner of a building. As shown in FIG. 8, the second portion 305 of the leak diverter 100 may include a first section 305a and a second section 305b. Additionally, as described above, a connecting section 305c may be used to connect the other two sections 305a, 305b of the leak diverter. Alternatively, the connecting section 305c may be omitted and the first section 305a and the second section 305b may be of sufficient size that they meet, thereby eliminating any gap.

In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the leak diverter 100 may be made of plastic and formed through injection molding or any alternative methods of forming a plastic component. Preferably, injection molded sections are contemplated for various complex forms. Alternatively, the leak diverter 100 may be fabricated from any other material suitable for diverting water leaked from a gutter. Exemplary materials may include, but are not limited to plastics, fiberglass, aluminum, rubber, or any other substantially non-corrosive material. It is preferable that the leak diverter be constructed as a unitary device such that no joints require sealing. This may be accomplished by molding or casting the device. Alternatively, the leak diverter 100 may be fabricated by bending sheet metal and drawing it to form the curve 305c on the lower, second, portion 305 of the leak diverter 100.

For installation, the leak diverter 100 may be attached to the fascia board 110 using a variety of fasteners including, but not limited to, nails, screws, adhesives, or any other suitable fasteners. Alternatively, the leak diverter may be installed without the use of a fastener. For example, and not limitation, the leak diverter may be held between the gutter 105 and the fascia board 110 through the force of the gutter 105 against the fascia board 110 or by friction.

While the present description has been described with particular reference to the invention when installed between a gutter 105 and a fascia board 110, as shown in the drawings, those skilled in the art will recognize that the leak diverter may be implemented in a variety of settings when it is desirable to protect a moisture sensitive material from fluid leaked from a gutter or other fluid carrying device.

While the various embodiments of this invention have been described in detail with particular reference to exemplary embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that variations and modifications can be effected within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Accordingly, the scope of the various embodiments of the present invention should not be limited to the above discussed embodiments, and should only be defined by the following claims and all applicable equivalents.