Title:
ROOF RIDGE VENT WITH IMPROVED TROUGH
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ridge vent for covering an open ridge of a roof comprises an elongated panel having two opposed lateral edges; a pair of elongated sidewalls, each extending downward from one of the lateral edges; a pair of elongated floor portions, each extending outward from one of the sidewalls; a pair of elongated baffles, each extending upward from one of the floor portions, each baffle combining with one of the sidewalls and one of the floor portions to form an elongated trough along one side of the panel; and a filtering structure over each trough between the sidewall and the baffle to prevent particles and debris from collecting in the trough while allowing free flow of air.



Inventors:
Carlson, Jacob (Rocklin, CA, US)
Griswold, Gary H. (Safety Harbor, FL, US)
Daniels, Gregory S. (Santa Rosa, CA, US)
Mutter, David S. (Santa Rosa, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/750969
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
05/18/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F7/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PROBST, SAMANTHA A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ridge vent for covering an open ridge of a roof, comprising: an elongated panel having two opposed lateral edges; a pair of elongated sidewalls, each extending downward from one of the lateral edges; a pair of elongated floor portions, each extending outward from one of the sidewalls; a pair of elongated baffles, each extending upward from one of the floor portions, each baffle combining with one of the sidewalls and one of the floor portions to form an elongated trough along one side of the panel; and a filtering structure over each trough between the sidewall and the baffle to prevent particles and debris from collecting in the trough while allowing free flow of air.

2. The ridge vent of claim 1, further comprising a pair of elongated flanges, each extending outwardly from an upper edge of one of the baffles.

3. The ridge vent of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of drain openings at a lower end of each baffle.

4. The ridge vent of claim 1, wherein each sidewall includes a row of ventilation openings.

5. The ridge vent of claim 4, wherein the filtering structure comprises a row of slots each extending from the sidewall to the baffle.

6. The ridge vent of claim 1, wherein the filtering structure comprises a plurality of grates extending downward to an upper surface of the floor portion of the trough.

7. The ridge vent of claim 6, wherein the grates are spaced in substantially equal intervals along a length of the trough.

8. The ridge vent of claim 1, wherein the filtering structure over each trough comprises a plurality of strips that extend across the trough without contacting an upper surface of the floor portion of the trough.

9. The ridge vent of claim 8, wherein the filtering structure over each trough further comprises a plurality of grates extending downward to an upper surface of the floor portion of the trough, and each grate is flanked by at least one strip on each side.

10. The ridge vent of claim 6, wherein each grate has a height extending from the floor portion to an uppermost edge of the baffle.

11. The ridge vent of claim 6, wherein the plurality of grates comprises: a first group of grates having a length from the baffle to a first lateral position on an underside of the panel, the first lateral position having a distance from a longitudinal centerline of the panel; and a second group of grates having a length from the baffle to a second lateral position on the underside of the panel, the second lateral position having a different distance from the longitudinal centerline than the first lateral position.

12. The ridge vent of claim 1, wherein the filtering structure comprises a screen extending between the sidewall and the baffle, over the floor portion.

13. A ridge ventilation system comprising: a plurality of elongated ridge vent sections configured to be arranged end-to-end over an open ridge of a roof, each of said ridge vent sections having: a laterally flexible panel having two opposed lateral edges and two opposed ends; a pair of elongated sidewalls each extending downwardly from one of the lateral edges; a pair of elongated floor portions each extending outwardly from one of the sidewalls; a pair of elongated baffles each extending upwardly from one of the floor portions, each baffle combining with one of the sidewalls and one of the floor portions to form an elongated trough along one side of the panel; and a railed structure between the sidewall and the baffle over each trough to prevent particles and debris from collecting in the trough while allowing free flow of air.

14. The ridge ventilation system of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the railed structure is formed by a plurality of grates extending to an upper surface of the floor portion of the trough.

15. The ridge ventilation system of claim 14, wherein at least another portion of the railed surface is formed by a plurality of strips that extend across the trough but do not extend to an upper surface of the floor portion of the trough.

16. The ridge ventilation system of claim 15, wherein each strip has a height in the range of about 1/16 inch to about ½ inch.

17. The ridge ventilation system of claim 14, wherein the grates have a length in the range of about 1 inch to 3½ inches from the baffle to a lateral position on an underside of the panel.

18. The ridge ventilation system of claim 14, further comprising: a first group of grates having a length from the baffle to a first lateral position on an underside of the panel, the first lateral position having a distance from a longitudinal centerline of the panel; a second group of grates having a length from the baffle to a second lateral position on the underside of the panel, the second lateral position having a different distance from the longitudinal centerline than the first lateral position; and a third group of grates having a length from the baffle to a third lateral position on the underside of the panel, the third lateral position having a different distance from the longitudinal centerline than the first and second lateral positions.

19. The ridge ventilation system of claim 13, wherein the railed structure comprises strips extending between the sidewall and the baffle, over the floor portion.

20. The ridge ventilation system of claim 13, wherein the railed structure comprises strips extending between one end of a trough corresponding with an end of the panel and another end of the trough corresponding with the opposed end of the panel, over the floor portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to a ventilation system for covering an opening along the ridge of a roof. More specifically, this invention relates to a roof ridge vent assembly including vent panels placed end-to-end over the ridge of a roof to allow for ventilation of air through the ridge.

2. Description of the Related Art

Roof ridge ventilators are commonly installed over an opening along the length of a building at the ridge of the roof in order to reduce the heat that builds up in the space below the roof or in the attic. Ridge ventilators allow naturally rising hot air to escape the attic through an elongated ridgeline opening within the roof decking. The elongated ridgeline opening is typically formed by making two elongated cuts in the roof deck, each cut substantially parallel to the ridge, the cuts being on opposite sides of the ridge. Generally, ventilation helps to prevent degradation of the roof structure, and reduces the accumulation of condensation in the insulating material covering the floor of the attic. Additionally, ridge ventilators increase the efficiency of cooling the building covered by the roof, and accordingly reduce the cooling costs and other problems associated with such heat. In particular, ridge ventilators can assist in the expulsion of hot gases that are produced in living areas of the building (e.g., from dishwashers, heaters and other household appliances), rise and permeate through the ceiling and insulation material into the attic space. In addition, ridge vent systems are installed to meet net free vent area (NFVA) requirements included in building codes. Ridge vent systems also desirably prevent rain, snow, insects, vermin and other debris from entering through the opening along the ridge, while providing for the free flow of air to and from the interior of the building.

Early ridge vents included corrugated covers attached to the roof over the ridge opening, with traditional ridge cap shingling secured over the covers. However, this construction can be costly and not easily adaptable to accommodate various roof pitches. Moreover, the earlier ridge vents typically were not durable and did not allow adequate air flow. The most common recent designs include molded plastic vent sections attached to the roof end-to-end to span the entire opening along the ridge. The vent sections are typically plastic center panels flanked along either edge with a row of ventilation slots. The plastic center panels are typically laterally flexible to conform to the apex of particular roofs with various pitches. The plastic center panel is also typically held a short distance above the roof by support structures that define a space between the panels and the roof. After the ridge vents are installed, a ridge cap shingling is fixed over the top surface of the ridge vent sections, using well-known shingles such as asphalt composition shingles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment, a ridge vent covers an open ridge of a roof. The ridge vent includes an elongated panel having two opposed lateral edges. The ridge vent also includes a pair of elongated sidewalls, each extending downward from one of the lateral edges. The ridge vent also includes a pair of elongated floor portions, each extending outward from one of the sidewalls. The ridge vent also includes a pair of elongated baffles, each extending upward from one of the floor portions, each baffle combining with one of the sidewalls and one of the floor portions to form an elongated trough along one side of the panel. The ridge vent also includes a filtering structure over each trough between the sidewall and the baffle to prevent particles and debris from collecting in the trough while allowing free flow of air.

According to another embodiment, a ridge ventilation system includes a plurality of elongated ridge vent sections configured to be arranged end-to-end over an open ridge of a roof. Each of the ridge vent sections has a laterally flexible panel having two opposed lateral edges and two opposed ends. Each of the ridge vent sections also has a pair of elongated sidewalls each extending downwardly from one of the lateral edges. Each of the ridge vent sections also has a pair of elongated floor portions each extending outwardly from one of the sidewalls. Each of the ridge vent sections also has a pair of elongated baffles each extending upwardly from one of the floor portions, each baffle combining with one of the sidewalls and one of the floor portions to form an elongated trough along one side of the panel. Each of the ridge vent sections also has a railed structure between the sidewall and the baffle over each trough to prevent particles and debris from collecting in the trough while allowing free flow of air.

For purposes of summarizing the invention and the advantages achieved over the prior art, certain objects and advantages of the invention have been described above and as further described below. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such objects or advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other objects or advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

All of these embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the invention herein disclosed. These and other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments having reference to the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiment(s) disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a ridge vent section according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of a lateral edge of the ridge vent section of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the ridge vent section of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of one lateral edge of the ridge vent section of FIG. 1, taken along line A-A′ of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a side view of one lateral edge of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6B is a cross sectional view of a ridge vent section according to the embodiment of FIG. 6A.

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7C is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8B is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8C is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8D is a perspective view of a ridge vent section according to another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

While modern ridge vent systems are an improvement over early ridge vents, there are still many shortcomings inherent in their designs. One problem of the prior art is that the drain trough region typically located between the sidewalls and wind baffles at the lateral edges of the ridge vent can accumulate leaves, twigs, gravel, airborne litter, and other natural and manmade debris. Although the placement of drain openings (also known as “weep holes”) at the trough or lower end of the wind baffles can effectively drain water and other small particles from the trough, the size of the weep holes is typically limited. Weep holes that are too large may undercut the very purpose of the baffles to prevent the entry of wind-driven rain and to provide wind resistance to create a low pressure zone in the troughs (which provides outward ventilation). Accordingly, the weep holes of modern ridge vents are typically too small to provide for the elimination of larger particles. Thus, the trough areas can result in the accumulation of debris that causes clogging and can reduce the amount of ventilation and drainage of water.

Thus, there is a need for an improved ridge vent system that addresses and solves the problems associated with current systems. It is desirable for such an improved system to prevent clogging of the trough regions at the lateral edges of the ridge vent section by accumulation of debris and other particles, and to further improve the draining of water, snow and other precipitation.

FIGS. 1-6 illustrate a ridge vent section that can be joined end-to-end with like sections to span the entire length of an open ridge 28 of a roof 30, according to embodiments of the invention. Referring to FIG. 1, an elongated ridge vent section 10 (referred to generally herein as a “ridge vent 10”) according to an embodiment of the invention is shown to have a first end 18, an opposite second end 20, a topside 22 and an underside 24 facing the open ridge. Ridge vent 10 comprises a central panel portion 12, a first lateral edge 14 and a second lateral edge 16 opposed to the first, spanning the longitudinal length of the ridge vent 10. FIG. 2 shows a plan view of underside 24 and FIG. 3 shows the corresponding plan view of topside 22 of ridge vent 10.

Ridge vent 10 can vary in thickness and width as desired, but preferably, the central panel portion 12 is sufficiently thin and laterally flexible across its width in order to bend over the apex of the ridge 28. In some embodiments the flexible central portion may be slightly thinner in thickness than the rest of vent section to allow lateral flexing of the central portion over the apex of a roof to accommodate various roof pitches. In other embodiments, the ridge vent 10 can be integrally scored (not illustrated) to assist in further flexing, in a single line or several lines running longitudinally along the entire length of the center panel portion 12 or any portion thereof.

Ridge vent 10 may be formed from a single sheet of flexible plastic or the like to a predetermined length and width. According to one embodiment, each ridge vent 10 is approximately 4 feet in length along lateral edges 14 and 16, and approximately one to one and a half feet in width along end portions 18 and 20. Although ridge vent 10 may be of any suitable length and width, the above dimensions are preferred in order to accommodate a variety of building sizes and for convenience of use, assembly and manufacture.

Ridge vent 10 is preferably injection-molded as a single piece of plastic from polymeric materials well known in the art, including but not limited to, for example, high-density linear polymers such as polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and copolymers thereof. Recycled polymeric materials can also be used. Ridge vent 10 may also be formed by any of the above along with U.V. inhibitors to resist degradation from ultraviolet radiation exposure. A suitable material for the U.V. inhibitor would be carbon black or a U.V. stabilizer as readily available to those skilled in the art. The ridge vent 10 material is chosen based on its cost, ease of manufacture and effective resistance to warping and wear due to weather.

Building roof 30 may comprise a plurality of cross-beams or rafters 32 joined to form the structural support for building roof 30, with plywood decking panels 34 laid over in a manner well known to those skilled in the art. The plurality of decking panels 34 is typically referred to as a roof deck (also referred to herein by reference numeral 34). Skilled artisans will recognize that a roof deck can be formed of materials other than wood, such as steel. While the illustrated embodiment shows a roof deck comprising two layers of panels 34, it will be understood that the roof deck can alternatively be formed with only one layer of panels 34, or with more than two such layers. The decking panels 34 are covered with a layer of cover elements, such as shingles, or a composition roofing material 36 nailed to decking panels 34 using well-known roofing nails (not shown). The decking panels 34 and the overlying shingles or composition roofing material 36 do not completely cover the roof 30, except for at the very ends of the ridge. Between the ends, an elongated ridgeline opening is cut out of the roof deck 34. FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a portion of the ridgeline where there is an opening between decking panels 34, and is not representative of the very ends of the ridge that can be viewed from the sides of the building. While the gap at the ridge 28 provides for increased ventilation of the attic space, it needs to be covered to prevent rain, snow, insects, vermin and debris from entering the attic space. The ridge vent 10 is consequently fixed in end-to-end fashion with like ridge vents to cover the gap in the ridge 28, and the combined ridge vents at least partially overlap the decking panels 34 and composition roofing material 36 of roof 30.

According to other embodiments, the ridge vent 10 may be installed over roofs without a deck or decking panels. As known in the art, in place of a deck such a roof can include a row of parallel rafters arranged perpendicular to the ridge of the roof, and a row of counter battens overlying and perpendicular to the rafters. Shingles, tiles or slates as known in the art can then be secured over the battens to form the exterior surface of the roof. The ridge vent 10 may be installed over the uppermost shingles at the peak of the roof.

Nail lines 40 and 42 and a plurality of nail holes 38 running parallel to edges 14 and 16 are formed along a topside 22 of the ridge vent 10 for facilitating installation. A plurality of nails (not shown) are respectively inserted through nail holes 38 molded into the central panel 12 in intervals along the longitudinal length of ridge vent 10 for securing the vent 10 to the roof. The nails are then pounded into the underlying decking panels 34 using a hammer or the like to secure each ridge vent 10 to the roof 30. A plurality of ridge cap or ‘capping’ shingles 44 can then be placed over the ridge vent 10 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, and roofing nails 46 can be inserted through ridge cap shingles 44 along the nail lines 40, 42. The capping shingles 44 secured over the ridge vent 10 are shown to extend slightly past the lateral edges 14 and 16 to prevent water that cascades over the lateral edges of the capping shingles 44 from dropping through the vent slots 54 (described below).

When attached to a roof, the central panel 12 is held a predetermined distance above the roof by end caps that extend from the underside 24 of the panel 12 at opposite ends 18 and 20 of ridge vent 10. Referring to FIG. 2, which shows a plan view of the underside 24, end cap 25 extends integrally from the underside 24 across the first end 18, and end cap 26 extends across the second end 20 of ridge vent 10. The end caps 25, 26 may be aligned so that extending portions 25 of one end are aligned with receiving portions 26 of another end of a like ridge vent, and the end caps of adjacent ridge vents may engage each other to secure all the ridge vent sections together. Although the end caps are shown to have semicircular portions, other configurations can be used to facilitate the interlocking of adjacent ends, as known to one skilled in the art.

FIGS. 2-3 also show an interlocking flange 27 according to an embodiment, extending from the first end 18 of ridge vent 10 adjacent to end cap 25, to be received by a receiving portion 29 at the second end 20 adjacent to end cap 26 of an adjacent ridge vent 10. The cross section of interlocking flange 27 is also shown in FIG. 4, which shows a side view of a lateral edge 14 of ridge vent 10. The interlocking flange 27 and receiving portion 29 of adjacent vent sections also lock to each other as described above in end-to-end fashion along the ridge of a roof and thereby help prevent wind, rain, insects, vermin, debris, etc., from entering the open ridge of the roof between adjacent ends of each vent section. It should be understood that various other configurations of alignment and interlocking between adjacent ends of ridge vents could be used while remaining within the scope of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 1, ridge vent 10 also includes first 48 and second 50 sidewall portions respectively extending generally downwardly from the lateral edges 14 and 16. Sidewalls 48 and 50 further include a ventilation row formed by a plurality of vent strips 52 defining a plurality of ventilation openings 54 (e.g., slots, as in the illustrated embodiment). The vent strips 52 essentially comprise portions of the sidewalls 48, 50 between the vent openings 54. As shown, the row of ventilation strips 52 runs horizontally through the entire length of ridge vent 10 in order to allow air from the attic to freely flow to the outdoor environment, while preventing ingress of certain insects, vermin, and debris into the attic space. According to an embodiment, the width of each vent slot between adjacent strips 52 is about ¼″, and the width of each vent strip is about 1/16″. However, the number and dimension of the vent strips 52 and openings 54 may vary. Moreover, a ventilation row of open slots may be formed only along one edge of the central panel if desired to accommodate other types of roofs such as hip roofs. Ventilation openings other than downwardly extending slots may also be used so long as the aggregate area of the openings is sufficient to provide a desired flow of air from beneath the central panel 12.

Adjacent to the bases of the sidewalls 48 and 50 respectively are floor portions 55 and 57 that form floors of drain portions or “troughs” 56 and 58 on opposite sides of central panel 12 and which run along the entire length of ridge vent 10. As shown in FIG. 1, drain troughs 56 and 58 rest on the composition roofing material 36 of roof 30 to capture rainwater that flows down upon capping shingles 44 covering the central panel 12. Drain troughs 56 and 58 preferably have a narrow flat floor extending between the bottom of sidewalls 48, 50 and the bottom of wind baffle portions 62, 64, described further below. As shown in the perspective view of FIG. 6A, drain troughs 56 and 58 are flat and coplanar with the bottom surface of end cap 25 at end 18, when ridge vent 10 is not installed over a roof as shown. The flat floor at the troughs 56, 58 adds stability and provides a secure base upon which the ridge vent section rests when attached to a roof.

The water collected in the troughs 56, 58 is allowed to drain away through drain openings 60, or weep holes, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, which respectively show side views at lateral edge 14 for two different embodiments. According to an embodiment, the drain openings 60 are formed along the lower end of wind baffles 62, 64. The size, spacing, number and positioning of the drain openings 60 can vary, so long as the desired draining is provided. According to the embodiment of FIG. 4, drain openings 60 are each sized about 3/16 inch by about ⅜ inch and spaced apart about 1⅜ inches from each other end to end, or about 2 inches center to center, so that 24 drain holes in total span the length of a 4 foot ridge vent section 10. However, ridge vent 10 can have twice as many drain openings (e.g., 48) according to an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 5. While various shapes may be used, the drain openings 60 are preferably rectangular in shape. The drain openings 60 prevent water from collecting in the troughs 56, 58 and guide water, snow and other precipitation away from the open ridge 28 of roof 30 and away from internal portions of the ridge vent 10 to prevent water or moisture from collecting between ridge vent 10 and the underlying composition material.

As shown in the bottom and top views of FIGS. 2-3, wind baffles 62 and 64 preferably run longitudinally and parallel to sidewalls 48, 50 along the entire length of ridge vent 10. Although wind baffles 62, 64 block some windblown rain from entering vent slots 54, high winds can significantly drive water through the drain openings 60, through vent slots 54 and into the open ridge 28. Consequently, embodiments can include an upstanding barrier positioned behind the drain openings 60 on the floor portions 55, 57 of drain portions 56, 58, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,963 to Headrick, to prevent water from drain portions 56, 58 from entering the open ridge.

According to an embodiment, barriers to prevent water from entering through drain openings 60 can be provided by closing off a number of vent slots 54. As shown in FIG. 7A, the regions 90 that are closed off between open vent slots 54 are aligned with drain openings 60. According to another embodiment, barriers may be provided by closing off lower portions of the open vent slots 54 that are aligned with drain openings 60. As shown in FIG. 7B, closing off lower portions of vent slots 54 aligned with drain openings 60 would form partially open vent slots or ‘windows’ 92, that do not extend to the bottom of sidewall 48. As a result, barriers against wind-driven water through drain openings 60 would be provided in the areas below ‘windows’ 92 while ventilation is maintained through the open slots of 92. According to another embodiment, barriers may be provided by closing off all the lower portions of open vent slots 54 so that they extend uniformly to a distance above the bottom of sidewall 48, and all provide smaller ‘windows’ 94, as shown in FIG. 7C. However, a skilled artisan could appreciate that many other variations and designs are possible.

Wind baffles 62 and 64 have been found to generate relatively low pressure regions over the vent openings 54 inside troughs 56, 58, when even gentle breezes blow across a roof. As the external wind hits the vertical walls of wind baffles 62 and 64, it is deflected upward towards the peak of the roof and the ‘Bernoulli effect’ is thereby induced. That is, as the wind passes over the vent openings 54, areas of lower pressure are created in the troughs and the lower pressure regions draw air out from the attic through the vent openings 54. Wind baffles 62 and 64 thus significantly enhance the air flow through the open ridge 28 of the roof 30 to improve ventilation of the attic.

As shown in FIGS. 6A-6B, baffles 62 and 64 may have outwardly extending flanges or lips 66 and 68 to divert air and facilitate further deflection of wind. Accordingly, the extending lips 66 and 68 improve the Bernoulli effect by further disrupting the flow of air to create an even lower pressure in the troughs 56, 58, which improves the ventilation. The extending lips 66 and 68 also help disrupt wind-driven rain or snow and further resist weather infiltration of the attic space. The extending lips 66, 68 are generally angled outwardly and upwardly from the upper edge of the wind baffles 62, 64. The lips 66, 68 can be variously angled from the plane of the baffles 62, 64, and is as shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 6A-6B to be about 45 degrees.

As shown in the cross sectional view of FIG. 6B, ridge vent 10 can also include a support grate 80 that extends a first length from sidewall 50 towards the center of panel 18 along its underside 24. Ridge vent 10 can also include a support grate 81 that extends another length as shown, for example, by the distance between sidewall 48 and the dotted line in FIG. 6B extending downward from the underside 24 of panel 18. Grates 80 and 81 can be interspersed along the underside 24 of ridge vent 10 to provide substantially evenly distributed support from collapsing or bending of ridge vent 10 over a roof when a load or weight is set over the ridge vent 10, before, during or after installation. As used herein, grates 80, 81 are rigidifying structures, e.g., they add rigidity to the panel 18. In some embodiments, the grates 80, 81 contact and/or transfer loads onto the roof, while in other embodiments the grates 80, 81 do not transfer loads onto the roof and do not contact the roof (e.g., the grates terminate above the roof with a gap therebetween, which may in many cases improve ventilation). One example of a grate is a strengthening rib. However, a skilled artisan could appreciate that other types of rigidifying structures can also be included.

It is also noted that an optional screen or filter may be positioned below the underside 24 of ridge vent 10, such as along the inner surfaces of sidewalls 48, 50, to provide additional protection against snow, rain, insects, vermin and the like from entering the building. Although the filter can be made of many materials, it is preferably porous enough to enable sufficient air to flow from the attic to the outside ambient. The screen or filter material may be a wire mesh, fiberglass material, foam, sponge, and the like. The screen or filter may also comprise several different portions adhesively fixed to the ridge vent 10 at one or more locations along the underside 24 of ridge vent 10 to form a single combined unit. Alternatively, the screen or filter can be provided separately and secured between the central panel portion 12 of the ridge vent 10 and the roof 30 during installation by being simultaneously nailed to the decking panels 34.

The ridge vent according to embodiments of the invention includes a filtering structure over the troughs (not shown in FIGS. 7A-7C). The filtering structure can take various forms. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A, the filtering structure may be a railed configuration, with the rails running across the width of the trough 56, extending between the baffle 62 and the sidewall 48. Alternatively, according to another embodiment, the rails 92 can run across the length of the trough 56 from one end of the trough to the other end, as shown in the simplified perspective view of FIG. 8A. The rails may be supported by grates 94 that extend to the floor portion of the trough 56. In yet another embodiment as shown in the simplified perspective view of FIG. 8B, the filtering structure may be a screen structure 96 extending between the baffle 62 and the sidewall 48, over the trough 56. The screen structure may have large diameter openings, as shown in FIG. 8C, or finer mesh-like openings, as shown in FIG. 8D. Other embodiments can include screen structures having openings with various other shapes (e.g., honeycomb, diamond, etc.) and other geometric configurations and variations.

According to an exemplary embodiment, a railed configuration over the troughs is described in further detail below. This configuration can include a railed surface formed by a plurality of grates that extend from the railed surface to an upper surface of the floor portion of troughs 56, 58. The railed surface may further be formed by a plurality of strips, or “grate strips” hereinafter, which do not extend from the railed surface to an upper surface of the floor portion of troughs 56, 58 but provide an adequate filtering surface or screen over the troughs. Referring to the top plan view of FIG. 3, a row of grate strips 88 defining slots 90 extends along the length of trough 56, wherein each grate strip 88 extends from the lateral edge 14 to the wind baffle 62. Similar grate strips 88 are preferably provided between lateral edge 16 and baffle 64. For simplicity, only the strips 88 between edge 14 and baffle 62 are described. In the illustrated embodiment, the grate strips 88 form at least a portion of the railed surface or filtering structure over the trough 56 and do not extend all the way down to the floor of the trough 56. The railed structure is positioned over drain trough 56 as shown in FIG. 6A to advantageously prevent larger particles and debris from collecting in the underlying troughs and clogging the drain openings 60 and/or vent openings 54.

As shown in the perspective view of FIG. 6 in one embodiment, grate strips 88 are substantially coplanar with vent strips 52, and slots 90 are substantially coplanar with ventilation openings 54. However, alternative orientations and positions of such elements is possible. In one embodiment, the grate strips 88 are integral with and have the same dimensions (e.g., thickness) as the vent strips 52. But in other embodiments, the grate strips 88 may be larger or smaller than the vent strips 52. In some embodiments, the grate strips 88 extend from the sidewall 48 over the top edges of vent strips 52 and/or vent openings 54. According to embodiments, the grate strips 88 can have a height in the range of about 1/16 inch to about ½ inch. According to one embodiment, the grate strips 88 are about 1/16 inch in width by about 1/16 inch in height by about 1¼ inches length, the length being approximately equal to the lateral width of the trough 56. However, grate strips 88 can take many different sizes.

FIG. 6A also shows a row of support grates 80 as described above with respect to FIG. 6B. Grates 80 also form at least a portion of the railed surface or filtering structure over the trough 56, but unlike the grate strips 88, further extend downward from the railed surface to the floor of the trough 56. Grates 80 may be positioned over the trough 56 in intervals. According to the embodiment shown in FIG. 6A, each grate 80 extends downward from grate strips 88 in equally spaced intervals of after three grate strips 88. According to other embodiments, each grate 80 can extend downward to the trough 56 for every grate strip 88, or every other grate strip 88. According to yet other embodiments, each grate can extend downward in unequally spaced intervals, and separated by any number of grate strips 88. In some embodiments, some or all of the grates 80 are integrally formed with a grate strip 88. Since grates 80 extend all the way downward to the trough 56, they can provide adequate support for the relatively thin railed surface in catching and deflecting large particles and debris.

Grates 80 may also be sized and arranged in a variety of ways. According to an exemplary embodiment, each grate 80 has approximately the same width as each grate strip 88 and vent strip 52, and has approximately the same height as the wind baffle 62, as shown in FIG. 6A. According to one embodiment, grates 80 extending from strip 52 between adjacent vent openings 54 are integral with vent strips 52. Alternatively, grates 80 may be formed separately from ridge vent 10 and inserted into grooves molded along the trough 56 adjacent to vent strips 52.

FIG. 2 shows a plan view from the underside 24 of ridge vent 10 according to an embodiment. According to the embodiment of FIG. 2, some or all of the grates 80 extend past the sidewall 48 to different locations under central panel 12. In the illustrated embodiment, such grates 80 include different groups of grates, 82, 84 and 86 that extend past sidewall 48 to three different lateral positions, each lateral position having a different distance from a longitudinal centerline of the panel 12. As noted above, grates 80 that extend past the sidewalls 48, 50 to underneath the panel 12 can provide additional support to prevent the ridge vents 10 from buckling or collapsing, such as during the times when each ridge vent 10 is nailed to the roof, or under intense winds and/or weather conditions. As shown, grates 82 extend to the nail holes 38, grates 84 extend to a first location on central panel 12, and grates 86 extend to a second location on central panel 12. Grates 82, 84 and 86 are shown spaced at equal intervals along the length of lateral edge 16 with grate strips 88 in between grates.

According to embodiments, the grates 82 can have a length in the range of about 1 inch to 3½ inches from the baffle to a lateral position on the underside of the panel 12. For example, in the embodiment of FIG. 2, grates 82 are sized about 1/16 inch in width between adjacent grate slots 90, about 1 inch in height from the top of the wind baffle 62 or panel 12 to the floor of the trough 56, and about 1 5/16 inches in length from the wind baffle 62 to the nail hole 38. In the illustrated embodiment, grates 84 are sized about 1/16 inch in width, about 1 inch in height, and about 2¾ inches in length. In the illustrated embodiment, grates 86 are sized about 1/16 inch in width, about 1 inch in height, and about 3 1/4 inches in length. In the illustrated embodiment, the grate strips 88 between the grates 82, 84 and 86 are about 1/16 inch in width by about 1/16 inch in height by about 1¼ inches in length.

The embodiments described above thus improve the ventilation and draining capabilities of the ridge vents by providing a filter, screen or railed structure over the trough regions to prevent the accumulation of particles and debris that can clog the ventilation openings in the vent sidewalls and the drain openings in the baffles. At the same time, embodiments of the invention can provide additional structural support to the ridge vent by the use of grates that form a portion of the railed structure while simultaneously extending to the underside of the panel. Thus, ridge vents according to embodiments of the invention provide a superior combination of protection against clogging of the drain and structural integrity. The grates also prevent debris from moving longitudinally through the troughs, which further minimizes clogging of the troughs.

Whereas particular embodiments of the present invention have been described and illustrated above, it is not to be so limited since it can be appreciated by those skilled in the art that numerous modifications and changes may be made within the full intended scope of the invention and without departing from the invention as set forth in the claims.