Title:
Gutter and Siding Protection Device and System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a new gutter-mounted protection system for use in the construction, remodeling and renovating fields, and more particularly, to a device, system, and method for protecting a gutter, siding or landscape from damage during construction activities. The invention may also be used to temporarily create an area protected from weather.



Inventors:
Kruk, Paul G. (New Berlin, WI, US)
Kruk, James G. (Waukesha, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/842203
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
08/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/73
International Classes:
E04B7/18; E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMUREN, BABAJIDE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul G. Kruk (New Berlin, WI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A gutter protection system comprising: a top panel sized to extend transversely across the width of a trough of a gutter and longitudinally along a length of the gutter thereby covering or mostly covering a length of the gutter trough and a gutter securing means for temporarily securing the top panel to the gutter.

2. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the top panel in non-porous.

3. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the top panel extends transversely beyond the outside edge of the gutter.

4. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the top panel is flat, concave, or convex along the transverse axis.

5. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the gutter securing means comprises an inverted U-shaped channel located on the underside of the top panel, running parallel to the length of the top panel, and sized to fit over a front lip of the gutter.

6. The gutter protection system of claim 5 wherein inverted U-shaped channel contains at least one angled vertical walls, wherein the angled wall is angled in towards the center of the inverted U-shaped channel.

7. The gutter protection system of claim 6 wherein the angle formed by the angled wall and the top surface is about 85°.

8. The gutter protection system of claim 5 wherein the inverted U-shaped channel is formed integral to the top panel.

9. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the gutter protection system further comprises a curtain hanging means.

10. The gutter protection system of claim 9 wherein said curtain hanging means is positioned parallel to an outside edge of the top panel.

11. The gutter protection system of claim 10 wherein said curtain hanging means is selected from the group consisting of: hook, snap, hook-and-loop fastener, magnet, latch, inverted J-slot with J-hook, and T-slot with T-hook.

12. The gutter protection system of claim 12 further comprising a curtain that is suspended from the curtain hanging means.

13. The gutter protection system of claim 11 wherein said gutter protection system is symmetrical contains a curtain hanging means and a gutter securing means running parallel to and positioned inside each curtain hanging means

14. The gutter protection system of claim 13 wherein the width of the to panel is about five to about six inches.

15. The gutter protection system of claim 11 wherein said gutter protection system contains single curtain hanging means and a gutter securing means running parallel to and positioned inside the curtain hanging means.

16. The gutter protection system of claim 15 wherein the width of the to panel is about 6.5 to about 7 inches.

17. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein length of the top panel is about 3 to about 12 feet.

18. The gutter protection system of claim 1 wherein the top plate, gutter securing means, and optionally a curtain hanging means, are formed from a single piece or rigid or semrigid material selected from the group consisting of: plastic, extruded polymer, PVC, CPVC, RPVC, metal, galvanized metal, aluminum, and enamel coated metal.

19. A method for protecting a gutter during roofing activity comprising: installing the gutter protection system of claim 1 onto the gutter of the structure.

20. The method for protecting a gutter, siding, or landscape features of a structure comprising: installing the gutter protection system of claim 9 onto the gutter and suspending a curtain from the gutter protection system such that the landscape features to be protected are located between the curtain and the structure.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/888,199, filed Feb. 5, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a new gutter-mounted protection system for use in the construction, remodeling and renovating fields, and more particularly, to a device, system, and method for protecting a gutter, siding or landscape from damage during construction activities.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gutters are roughly U-shaped troughs, open at their upper-most end, that are affixed under the lower most edges of a roof of a building and extend along the roofline to collect water that runs off of the roof. Gutters are typically formed of metal or plastic and are anchored to the eaves of the structure by metal spikes or various gutter hangers known in the art. The gutters are sloped slightly to direct the water into a connected down spout that in turn directs the water to a desired spill way or drainage area that drains the water away from the building's foundation.

The use of shields for gutters or eaves troughs that are designed to permit passage of rainwater into the gutter while preventing extraneous foreign matter, such as leaves, debris and the like, from entering and accumulating at bottle neck points along the guttering system, (such as around the spikes or hangers, at the drop outlets to the down spouts, at bends in the gutters and/or down spouts, etc) is well known in the art. Debris accumulation can prevent the guttering system from properly draining water. Gutter shields known in the art (also called guards) typically extend from the roofline of a house to the outside rim of the gutters and include either holes or a trough to allow water to flow into the gutters while preventing debris from doing the same. Other known gutter shields include a sheet of metal that covers the gutter, and has a curved forward end that extends back into the gutter. Thus, leaves and the like are prevented from entering the gutter, but because of surface tension, water flows along the forward curvature of the guard and falls through small openings thereat into the gutter, where the water is carried away to the down spout.

These systems are designed to remain on the building and work with the gutter system to direct rainfall, but not environmental debris such as plant material, into the gutter. However, there does not currently exist a gutter protection system to protect the gutter, and potentially building siding and landscape plants, from physical damage during construction activities such as roofing or re-roofing. Gutters and landscape plants are prone to being damaged during re-roofing activities, especially from roofing material falling or being thrown from the roof. For this reason, it is not uncommon for gutters to be replaced when the shingles on a roof are replaced. A temporary system that protects the gutter, siding, and landscape plants during construction activities would provide an economic benefit to the building owner and the contractor by limiting damage to the gutter, siding, and landscape plants. In addition to a cost benefit realized by reduced replacement or repair costs, the described system further aids in cleanup of a job site.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a preferred embodiment, a gutter and siding protection system is described that protects the gutters and siding of a structure during construction activities. The described gutter protection system provides a protective barrier to the gutters during roofing removal and installation of new roofing materials. By protecting the gutters using the described system, the likelihood of gutter damage due to falling debris is lessened or eliminated. With the gutter protection system in place, debris is able to slide over and off the gutters. Further, because debris is limited from falling into the gutter, there is reduced need to clean out the gutters at the end of the roofing process. By reducing incidental damage to gutters during roofing or re-roofing activity, an economic benefit is gained by the contractor and the structure owner.

In a preferred embodiment is described a gutter protection plate, or top plate. The gutter protection plate, or top plate, comprises: a top panel or planar member for covering the gutter trough, a means for temporarily securing the panel to a gutter, and optionally, a means for hanging a curtain. The width of the top panel is sized to cover the gutter trough and inhibit falling material from entering, directly hitting, or damaging the gutter. The top panel can be flat, concave, or convex. The top panel can be perforated, porous or non-porous. The top panel can also be smooth, or ribbed. In a preferred embodiment, the top panel is non-porous, non-perforated and smooth. In a preferred embodiment, the top panel is secured to a gutter by means of a channel or clip which fits over the front wall or lip of the gutter. The channel or clip can fit loosely over the front wall or lip of a gutter or it may be a pressure fit; e.g. it may “snap” onto the front wall or lip of a gutter. In another embodiment, the top panel is secured to a gutter by means of a one or more clips which fit brackets that affix the gutter to the structure.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention further comprises a siding and landscape protection system. The gutter protection system comprises a top plate to which a curtain can be suspended. The curtain can be any plastic or cloth sheet material such as a tarp. With the protective curtain in place, the system protects the siding of the structure and landscape plants. The curtain is suspended from the top plate and can extend to the ground. The curtain may further be secured to the ground. The curtain keeps falling debris away from the house and away from planting beds and further aids in cleanup. The curtain can suspend freely from the top plate or the curtain can secured. A curtain can be secured to the ground, to a scaffolding, or such that the curtain covers and therefore protects a landscape object such as a plant.

In a preferred embodiment, the gutter and siding protection system can provide a barrier to facilitate exterior work, such as siding or window replacement during inclement weather. With the curtain in place, an area under the roof overhang of the structure is shielded from the weather. The curtain can be secured to the ground or around scaffolding.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. Illustration of a cross-section across the width of one embodiment of a gutter protection system top plate comprising a top panel 1 means for covering the gutter, a T slot 2 means for handing a curtain, and an inverted U channel 3 means for securing the top plate to the gutter.

FIG. 2. Illustration of a cross-section across the width of one embodiment of a top plate with dimensions suitable for installation of the top plate on a typical gutter.

FIG. 3 Illustration of a perspective view of a short section of one embodiment of a top plate. The top plate can be manufactured or cut into various lengths L.

FIG. 4. Illustration of a cross-section of an alternative embodiment of a top plate.

FIG. 5. Illustration of various top plate shapes: A) flat, B) convex, and C) concave.

FIG. 6. Illustration of various top plate edge designs: A) flush (shown with hook curtain attachment means), B) linear (shown with hook curtain attachment means), C) square (shown with T-slot curtain attachment means, T-bracket shown in dotted lines), and D) rounded (shown with snap curtain attachment means).

FIG. 7. Illustration of various curtain hanging means on a perspective view of one embodiment of a top plate: B) snap, C) hook, and D) hook and loop (VELCRO®).

FIG. 8. Illustration of one embodiment of a T-shaped bracket, front and side view.

FIG. 9. Illustration of a cross-section of a top plate juxtaposed with a curtain hanging bracket. The illustration shows that the bracket is designed to fit into the T-slot of the top plate.

FIG. 10. Illustration of three embodiments of a T-shaped curtain hanging bracket (A) loop T bracket, (B) hook T bracket, and (C) snap T bracket.

FIG. 11. Perspective illustration of gutter and siding protection system in place. The illustration shows: the gutter G, top plate P, and suspended curtain C. The top plate is positioned on top of the gutter. The curtain is suspended from the top plate thus creating a protected area A behind curtain C.

FIG. 12. Illustration of an embodiment of the top plate designed to cover “high back” gutters.

FIG. 13. Illustration of two different embodiments of the gutter protection system top plate installed on gutters. The gutters are connected to the structure by two different connection methods.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The described gutter and siding protection system comprises: a top plate that is positioned atop an existing gutter and a means to suspend a curtain from the top plate. A typical gutter consists of a rear wall, a front wall which typically has a lip, and a bottom wall, thereby forming a trough. The rear wall is positioned against the structure, such as a house, and the front wall set apart, opposite to rear wall. The gutter is typically affixed to a structure with a plurality of mounting brackets. Gutters can be connected to a building with a gutter hanger, hidden hanger, nail, or other means known in the art.

The gutter and siding protection system of the present invention provides a guard that covers a gutter and gutter trough to prevent or limit construction debris from entering, striking, or damaging the gutter. A first component of the gutter and siding protection system comprises a top plate that can be temporarily, and without fasteners that alter the gutter or structure, positioned onto a gutter to protect the gutter from damage during roof removal, construction or repair. The top plate comprises a planar surface that extends transversely across the width of the trough of the gutter, from or near the roof edge to the outside edge of the gutter, and preferably extends beyond the outside edge of the gutter. The top plate extends longitudinally along the length of the gutter, thereby covering the gutter and protecting the gutter from damage due to dropped or falling objects, including objects sliding downward along the plane of the roof.

The top plate is formed to positionally fit above the trough of the gutter such that the plate extends in its first direction across the width of the trough and in its second direction along the length of the gutter. The top plate further comprises a securing means, such as a seating bracket or channel, which fits over the lip of the gutter and secures the top plate to the gutter, and optionally a curtain hanging means by which to suspend a protective curtain. For a top plate which contains a curtain hanging means, the width of the top plate is extended to include the width required for the curtain hanging means. Preferably, the top surface of the top plate is smooth and without perforations to allow objects contacting the plate to slide over and off the edge of the plate. However, the top surface can be ribbed to provide additional rigidity to the plate. For ribbed top plates in which the ribs are on tope of the plate when it is positioned on a gutter, the ribs preferably run perpendicular to the length of the top plate. For ribs on the underneath surface of the top plate, the ribs may run perpendicular or parallel to the length of the top plate. The top surface can be flat, concave, or convex. Preferably, the top panel is shaped such that debris falling on or over the top plate readily slides over the plate and off the roof and gutter.

The width of the top plate is sized to fit over and cover the gutter when the gutter is attached to a structure. In one embodiment, the width of the top plate is about 5 to about 6 inches and preferably about 5.625 inches. However, this width can vary to fit a given gutter size or application. The width of the top plate is further sized such that when the securing means is positioned on the lip of a gutter front wall, the top plate covers or mostly covers the gutter trough. In one embodiment, the width from one edge, to an outer wall of an inverted U-shaped channel (item 3 in FIG. 1) is about 4.625 inches (FIG. 2). However, this width can vary to fit a given gutter size or application. In one embodiment, the depth of the top plate can be about 0.5 to about 1.5 inches, with about 0.75 to about 1.0 inches being preferred (FIG. 2). The length of the top plate L (FIG. 3) can be any length from about 1 foot to about 50 feet or more. A preferred length is about 3 feet to about 8 feet. A more preferred length is about 5 feet to about 6 feet. The measurements in FIG. 2 and FIG. 12 are provided as one embodiment only. The invention is not limited to these measurements. While many gutters are manufactured in common or standard sizes, gutters of different dimensions and shapes exist. Dimensions of different gutters may be obtained from gutter equipment manufacturers or by measurement of existing gutters. By knowing the dimensions of a particular gutter, one skilled in the art can readily fashion a protective system top plate appropriate for the given gutter using the information provided herein.

The top plate can be provided in sections of any desired length. Preferably about 1 to about 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 or fractions thereof) feet in length. More preferably about 3 to about 6 feet in length and most preferably about 5 feet in length. Multiple top plates can be used in combination to extend along the length of the gutter.

In one embodiment, the top plate can further be designed such that the width or length is adjustable. By way of example, for adjustable width top plates, the top plate can be made such that the gutter securing means can be positioned at different positions at various distances from a longitudinal edge of the plate. The top plate can also be composed of two or more lengthwise components which adjustably overlap each other such that decreasing the amount of overlap increases the width of the top plate and increasing the amount of overlap decreases the width of the top plate. Similarly, a variable length top plate can be composed of two or more components parts that adjustably overlap each other such that decreasing the amount of overlap increases the length of the top plate and increasing the amount of overlap decreases the length of the top plate.

In a preferred embodiment, the design of the top plate allows it to be temporarily seated on top of the gutter without the need for customized parts and without fastening or physically connecting it to the gutter or the structure with screws, bolts, or nails, i.e., without physically altering the gutter or structure. As used herein, temporary, or temporarily, means for the duration of an activity, such a construction activity, including roofing or re-roofing. A securing means is thus provided to engage the gutter and secure to top plate in place and prevent substantial movement of the plate. For example, a securing means may include an inverted U-shaped channel located on the underside of the top plate, and running parallel to the length of the top plate, that is sized to fit over a front wall of a gutter (the gutter lip or rim). In one embodiment, an inverted U-shaped channel section (see FIGS. 1 and 2) is formed by a front or outer vertically oriented wall (a in FIG. 1), an upper horizontally oriented wall (b in FIG. 1) and a rearward or inner vertically oriented wall (c in FIG. 1). The width of the channel, dimension b, is sized such that the front wall of the gutter or gutter lip fits into the channel. A closer fit can provide a more secure attachment of the top plate to the gutter. The channel can be square, trapezoidal, or curved to fit a particular style and shape of gutter lip. The inverted U-shaped channel can have perpendicular vertical walls, or it may have one or more angled vertical walls, with the wall preferably being angled in towards the center of the inverted U-shaped channel. An angled wall can aid in keeping the top plate secure. The angled wall can also provide for the channel “snapping” to the gutter. Further, the walls of the channel can be flat or curved. An inverted U-shaped channel can have continuous vertical walls or discontinuous vertical walls. In one embodiment, the front vertical wall (item a in FIG. 2) is continuous. A discontinuous inner vertical wall may facilitate mounting of the top plate over brackets that secure the gutter to the structure. The securing means may be formed integral to the top plate or it may be a separate piece that is permanently or reversibly connected to the top plate. Although customized clips, brackets or hangers are not required to install the top plate, such devices may be used. Clips, brackets or other hangers in the art that function to secure the top plate to the gutter without the need for fasteners that alter the gutter or structure (such as by screws, bolts, or nails) may also be used as gutter securing means.

In a preferred embodiment, the top plate further comprises a means for hanging a fabric or plastic protective curtain such as a canvas, tarp or drop cloth, i.e., a curtain hanging means. The curtain hanging means allows a curtain to be suspended from the top plate, over the outside edge (front wall) of the gutter, and extend downward towards the ground. Thus, the curtain hanging means is located longitudinally along one edge of the top plate (both edges for symmetrical top plates) to the outside of the gutter securing means. The curtain can be attached, mounted, connected, and/or secured to gutter plate by any known attachment means including, but not limited to: T-slot with T hook, inverted J-channel with J hook, screw, hook and loop fastener (e.g. VELCRO®), buckle, latch, force fit, snap fit, button, zipper, and magnet. The top plate and curtain hanging means may be integrally formed in a single piece or fashioned from independent pieces which may be permanently or reversibly connected. In a preferred embodiment, the hanging means allows the curtain to be readily hung or removed from the top plate. The hanging means can also provide for the curtain to be slid along the top plate, i.e. be “opened” or “closed”. A curtain hanging means which utilizes bearings may be used to facilitate opening and closing of the curtain. Preferably, the hanging means provides for the curtain to be suspended from underneath the outside edge of the top plate to reduce the likelihood of falling debris catching on the curtain.

In a preferred embodiment, a described hanging bracket, T bracket, (FIG. 8) and corresponding top plate bracket holding channel, T-slot, is used (item 2 in FIG. 1, see also FIG. 9). One embodiment of a hanging bracket comprises: a first top hook, a first shaft section, a bottom loop, a second shaft section that runs roughly parallel and next to the first shank section, and a second top hook parallel to the first top hook and facing the opposite direction. Alternatively, instead of a bottom hook, the hanging bracket can comprise a snap, magnet, hook and loop (VELCRO®), hook, or other connecting device. The hanging bracket can be made from any suitable material, including, but not limited to: metal, galvanized metal, plastic, and ceramic. The curtain can be connected to the described T bracket by inserting a hook into a hole or grommet in the curtain, and sliding the curtain over a shank such that the grommet rests in the bottom loop of the described hook. Alternatively, other means of fastening the curtain to the hanging bracket may be used. For example, a) a snap section on the curtain can be snapped into a corresponding snap section on the hanging bracket, b) a hole or grommet on the curtain can be hung on a hook on the hanging bracket, or c) the curtain and hanging bracket can contain complementary components of a hook and loop attachment system (VELCRO®). The described hanging bracket is compatible with standard tarps produced by many manufacturers. The described T-bracket is readily inserted into the grommets present in typical tarps. By using a loop between two arms of the T-bracket, the tarp is unable to be dislodged from the bracket when the bracket is in place in the top plate T slot. The T-bracket can be slid along the T-slot, enabling the curtain to be “opened” and “closed.”

It is understood that other connectors and fasteners of various designs and configurations including mechanical connectors can be utilized. Other configurations of a gutter securing means and curtain hanging means for the top plate are readily recognized. For examples, the top plate can have a row of hooks, magnets or snaps, or a zipper. Hooks come in a variety of shape and sizes that are readily compatible with the described gutter protection system. Any means known in the art for suspending a curtain from a horizontal bar, such as the described top plate, are considered to be within the scope of the invention. In a preferred embodiment, the hanging means is compatible with tarps sold by different manufacturers and readily available for purchase.

A curtain hanging bracket can a permanent component of the gutter protection system top plate or the hanging bracket can be removable from the top plate. The hanging bracket can also be a permanent component of the curtain or the hanging bracket can be removable from the curtain.

The top plate of the present invention is preferably formed of a plastic material, such a PVC, CPVC, or RPVC. PVC, PVC-like materials, and other rigid or semi-rigid plastics are preferred for their light weight and mild flexibility. However, it will be understood that other materials may be used and indeed, the gutter guard may be formed by a combination of materials. The top plate and hanging brackets can be manufactured from a variety of rigid or semi-rigid preferably weather resistant materials selected from the list comprising: plastic, polymers, PVC, CPVC, RPVC metal, galvanized metal, aluminum, and enamel coated metal. In a preferred embodiment, a section of top plate is formed from a single solid piece. The use of a semi-rigid material, such as PVC, allows the top plate to absorb certain impacts without denting.

In a preferred embodiment, the top plate can be symmetrical about a center axis (as illustrated in FIG. 1). Thus, the top plate would contain a curtain hanging means along each edge and a gutter securing means inside each hanging means. In one embodiment, the top plate is symmetrical across its width, containing two inverted U-shaped channels and two curtain hanging T-slots (se FIG. 1, 2, 4). By having a symmetrical top plate, the top plate can be placed in either length-wise orientation on a gutter. This arrangement makes placing the top plate simpler, and extends the life of the top plate by providing two functional placement orientations.

In another embodiment, the top plate is not symmetrical and contains a single gutter securing means, and option curtain hanging means, along one longitudinal edge. This embodiment is more readily compatible with attachment to gutters referred to in the art as “high-back” gutters. “High-back” gutters consist of a built in gutter apron nailed to the lower roof and roof straps that are attached to the front of the gutter and nailed on top of a built-in gutter apron. For these and other gutters which are attached to a structure by means of a strap that extends from the gutter to over the top of a gutter apron, the non-symmetrical top plate is preferred (FIG. 12). The greater width, and thinner back edge, allow the gutter to be placed on a gutter as shown in FIG. 13. with the back edge extending onto the bottom edge of the roof-line, either over or preferable under the bottom shingle, over the gutter apron.

The top plate can have an end cut at an angle (mitered) to allow for placement on inside as well as outside corners. Top plates can be provided with one or more different angled ends.

Alternatively, the end user can cut the top plate to a desired angle. For symmetrical top plates, symmetry allows a single mitered top plate to be used for either an inside or outside corner.

Preferable, the gutter protection system is installed prior to roof construction activity and removed when the activity is finished. A curtain suspended from the top plate can protect siding and landscaping from damage. The curtain can also create an area between the structure and the curtain that is protected from the environment. With the curtain in place, an area under the roof overhang of the structure can be shielded from the weather. Used in this manner, the system can be useful for siding and window replacement activities. The curtain can be allowed to simply hang from the top plate, the lower edge of the curtain can be secured to the ground or the curtain can be placed around scaffolding. The curtain can also be positioned and optionally secured around landscape features including, but not limited to, plants, fountains, and other valuable objects near or under the roof overhand of the structure, thereby providing protection to those features.

Certain embodiments of the gutter protection system of the present invention can be adapted for use in association with any type of gutter system.

Having described a specific preferred embodiment of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, it will be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to that precise embodiment and that various changes and modifications can be effected therein by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention defined by the appended claims.

EXAMPLES

Example 1

Describing FIGS. 1-3 and 13

One embodiment of a gutter protection plate is illustrated in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the top plate comprises a top panel 1, a gutter securing means 2, and a curtain hanging means 3 (with T-shaped hanging bracket shown in FIG. 6C and FIG. 9). Exemplary dimensions are shown in FIG. 2. The width of the top plate is sized to cover the gutter (gutter trough and gutter front wall and lip) when the gutter is mounted on a structure. The width of the top plate is further sized such that when the securing means, such as an inverted U-shaped channel 3, is positioned on the lip of a gutter front wall, the top plate covers or mostly covers the gutter trough. In one embodiment, the top surface of the top panel 1 is flat and smooth. A smooth top surface more easily allows debris to slide over or off the top plate. If ridges are added for strength, they are preferable aligned perpendicular to the length of the top plate (perpendicular to the roof line or gutter line when the top plate is installed). The top plate can be made in various lengths L (FIG. 3).

In one embodiment, the gutter securing means comprises an inverted U-shaped channel 3. The inverted U-shaped channel is sized to fit over the lip of a gutter front wall. The inverted U-shaped channel is sized and shaped to provide a means for securing the top plate to the gutter without the need for additional fasteners. This design also allows the top plate to be installed and removed quickly and easily without tools and without altering the structure or gutter. The inner wall c of the inverted U-shaped channel can be angled in towards the channel 3. A preferred angle θ is about 85° although other angles are permissible. The angled inner wall c provides for improved stability of the top plate to the gutter. An angle wall can also provide for a pressure fit to the gutter, allowing the plate to be “snapped” in place.

The optional curtain hanging means (shown as a T-slot 2 in FIG. 1) provides a mechanism by which to suspend a curtain, such as a tarp. The curtain hanging means is positioned outside the gutter securing means. This configuration provides for suspending a curtain from the top plate such that the curtain hangs to the outside of the front gutter wall towards the ground (FIG. 11)

In one embodiment, the T-slot 2 is designed to work with a T-shaped curtain hanging bracket (one embodiment of which is shown in FIGS. 6C and 9). The T-slot with accompanying curtain hanging bracket is one example of a curtain hanging means.

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate symmetrical top plates, with gutter securing means and curtain hanging means running the length of each longitudinal edge of the top plate.

FIGS. 5, 6, and 12 illustrate asymmetrical top plates, with gutter securing means and with or without curtain hanging means.

FIG. 13 illustrates the placement of a symmetrical or asymmetrical top plate positioned on a gutter.

Example 2

Describing FIGS. 4-7

Various top plate shapes within the scope of the invention are readily envisioned. FIG. 4 illustrates and alternative embodiment of the bracket described in example 1. In this embodiment, the inside and outside edges of the top plate are rounded and a central section is made from thicker, solid material. The top plate illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 is symmetrical.

FIG. 5 illustrates that the top plate can be flat A, convex B, or concave C. The figure shows a cross-section of the top plate. The degree of curvature or particular slope is not limited to that shown in the FIG. 5. Each of the top plates shown in FIG. 5 contains an outside edge overhang, but not a curtain hanging means, beyond the inverted U-shaped channel gutter securing means. However, the invention is not limited to the presence or absence, or shape or size of an overhang. The top plates shown in FIG. 5 further illustrate non-symmetrical top plates, with singled inverted U-shaped channels for securing the top plate to the gutter.

A number of means by which to suspend a curtain from the top plate are compatible with the invention. FIG. 6 illustrates the use of a hook, with A or without B an overhang, a T-slot with corresponding T-shaped hanging bracket C, or a snap D to attach a curtain to the top plate. FIG. 6 further illustrates that a variety of longitudinal edge shapes are compatible with the invention. The top plate can have no overhang (flush edge) A, a simple linear overhang B, a square overhang which incorporated a T slot means for hanging a curtain C, or a curved or rounded overhang D. The invention is not limited to the presence or absence, or shape or size of an overhang.

Further curtain hanging means are illustrated in FIG. 7. Perspective views of non-symmetrical top plates with snaps A, simple hooks B, or hook and loop fastener C are shown. The spacing of hooks or snaps can be made to correspond to grommets or snaps in readily available tarps.

Alternatively, a curtain can be manufactured specifically for the top plate. In yet another embodiment, the top plate can have snaps, hooks, or other fasteners with are adjustably spaced. For instance, snap or hooks can be made to slide along the edge of the top plate.

Example 3

T-shaped Curtain Hanging Means FIGS. 8-10

In one embodiment, a T-shaped curtain hanging bracket (FIG. 8) comprises a first top hook a, a first shaft section b that connects the first hook a to a loop section c, and a second shaft section d that connects the loop section c to a second hook e. The first shaft section b runs roughly parallel to the second shaft second d. The hooks a, e are sized to enable them to be inserted into a T-slot of the top plate. The bracket is inserted into the T-slot with the hooks running parallel to the slot, the bracket is then twisted about 90°. The T-shaped bracket is then lowered such that the hooks engage the inner, vertically oriented walls of the T-slot. See FIG. 9.

A T-shaped bracket can have a number of configurations that are compatible with the invention, as illustrated in FIG. 10. For instance, the T-shaped bracket can have a loop A, hook, B, or snap C.

Example 4

Suspending a curtain from the top Plate creates a protected area underneath a roof overhang (FIG. 11) The curtain can be used to protect landscape objects from damage during roofing activities. Alternatively, the curtain can be used to create an area that is at least partially protected from the weather. This embodiment is particularly useful during siding or window installation or repair. Thus, the gutter and siding protection system is useful for construction activities other the roofing tear-off, repair, or installation,