Title:
WATER CHANNELING SYSTEM FOR GUTTERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of the present invention provide systems and methods for channeling water flowing off the roof of a structure. In one embodiment, the water channeling system includes a gutter, a gutter cover and a clip. The clip is configured to be positioned substantially within the channel defined by the gutter and to engage an inner surface of the gutter lip and a concave portion of the front wall of the gutter. The clip defines an upwardly directed groove that is configured to receive the front edge of the gutter cover.



Inventors:
Kehs, Vincent (Barto, PA, US)
Newswanger, Robert (Mt. Joy, PA, US)
Connelly, Michael (Manheim, PA, US)
Wolf, Joe (Lancaster, PA, US)
Hoffman, Terry (Lititz, PA, US)
Samples, Drew (Powder Springs, GA, US)
Bell, Ben (Douglasville, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/948609
Publication Date:
06/04/2009
Filing Date:
11/30/2007
Assignee:
Euramax International, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/11, 52/12
International Classes:
E04D13/068
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
That which is claimed:

1. A water channeling system for use with a structure having a roof comprising: a gutter defining an upwardly directed channel, wherein said gutter includes a front edge defining a lip extending at least partially back towards the upwardly directed channel; a gutter cover having a front edge, a skirt portion and an arcuate portion intermediate said front edge and said skirt portion, wherein said gutter cover is positioned above said channel with said arcuate portion proximate said front lip of said gutter and said skirt portion is configured to be secured to said roof or said structure; and a clip configured to be positioned substantially within said channel and supported by an inner surface of said lip and said upwardly directed channel, and wherein said clip defines an upwardly directed groove configured to be capable of receiving said front edge of said gutter cover after said skirt portion has been secured to said roof or said structure.

2. The water channeling system of claim 1, wherein the upwardly directed groove is defined by two substantially parallel walls, and further wherein at least one of said parallel walls defines a hole intersecting said groove.

3. The water channeling system of claim 2, wherein said gutter cover includes a groove proximate said front edge and said clip includes a complementary rib positioned in said upwardly directed groove.

4. The water channeling system of claim 1, wherein the upwardly directed groove is defined by two substantially parallel walls, and further wherein one of said walls defines a recess thereby providing a target for a fastener.

5. The water channeling system of claim 1, wherein said clip includes a concave section, a first planar section and a second planar section, and wherein said second planar section is substantially perpendicular to said first planar section.

6. A clip for facilitating attachment of a gutter cover having a front edge to a gutter having a front wall defining a front lip, said clip comprising: a gutter interface portion configured to be positioned within said channel and to engage at least a portion of each of (1) an interior surface of said front lip and (2) said front wall; and a cover interface portion defining a groove sized to accept said front edge of said gutter cover wherein said groove is configured to be upwardly directed when said gutter interface portion engages said front lip and said front wall such that said front edge of said cover can be inserted into said groove after said gutter cover is secured to a structure.

7. The clip of claim 6, wherein said cover interface portion comprises a first wall and a second wall which define said groove, and wherein a rib is formed on at least one of said first and said second walls.

8. The clip of claim 7, wherein said first wall defines a hole intersecting said groove.

9. The clip of claim 7, wherein a groove is substantially parallel with a portion of said structure when said gutter interface portion engages said front lip and said front wall.

10. The clip of claim 7, wherein said first wall defines a recess thereby providing a target for a fastener.

11. The clip of claim 6, wherein said gutter interface portion includes a concave section, a first planar section and a second planar section, and wherein said second planar section is substantially perpendicular to said first planar section.

12. The clip of claim 11, wherein said gutter interface portion has a continuous profile, and wherein said concave section terminates in said first planar section and said first planar section terminates in said second planar section.

13. The clip of claim 6, wherein said clip has a periphery section and a web section and wherein said periphery section has a width substantially greater than the width of said web section.

14. A method for installing a gutter cover to a gutter, said method comprising the steps of: securing a clip to a front wall of the gutter and orienting a groove in said clip in an upward direction; securing a skirt portion of the gutter cover to a structure; and inserting an interface portion of said gutter cover into said groove after securing said skirt portion to said structure wherein said interface portion is above said channel such that water flowing over said gutter cover will be directed into said channel.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising the step of driving a fastener through a portion of said clip and a portion of said gutter cover.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein said step of securing a slip to a front wall comprises the steps of: engaging a lip front lip of the gutter with a first portion of said clip and turning said clip downwardly until a second portion engages said front wall.

17. The method of claim 14, further comprising the step of engaging a rib formed in said groove by a channel formed in said interface portion of said gutter cover.

18. A clip for facilitating attachment of a gutter cover relative to a K-Style gutter having a front wall and an inwardly directed lip, said clip comprising: a gutter interface portion having a profile including a concave section terminating in a first planar section, which terminates in a second planar section and wherein said first planar section is substantially perpendicular to said second planar section, and further wherein said profile is sized to engage a portion of said front wall and said inwardly directed lip; and a cover interface portion including two substantially parallel walls defining a groove, wherein said groove is substantially parallel with said first planar section.

19. The clip of claim 17, wherein at least one of said substantially parallel walls includes a rib.

20. A method of cleaning a gutter channel having a gutter cover thereabove comprising the steps of: rotating an interface portion of a gutter cover out of a groove defined by a gutter clip secured to the front of a gutter while said gutter cover remains secured to a structure; accessing the gutter channel to remove debris; rotating said interface portion of said gutter cover into said groove defined by said gutter clip.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to water channeling systems, and more particularly to gutters, gutter covers and attachment clips.

2. Description of Related Art

Residential and commercial structures often include gutters that channel rain water from the roof to several downspouts that direct the water away from the foundation of the structure. These gutters are often clogged by debris, such as leaves and the like, thereby causing the captured water to spill over the lip of the gutter.

One solution to this problem is to attach a cover over the gutter to deflect debris away from the gutter. Typically, the cover includes a portion that is tucked under the first or second course of roof shingles. The opposite end of the cover typically has a bull nose shape and attaches proximate the front lip of the gutter. When water runs over the cover, surface tension draws the water along the bull nose and into the gutter, while leaves and other debris are deflected away from the gutter. The cover may be attached to the gutter using a plurality of brackets or clips spaced at regular intervals along the length of the gutter.

Installation of a gutter cover can be expensive and time consuming. Some conventional gutter brackets require elaborate installation procedures to properly position the brackets on the gutter. Other known bracket designs require the removal of the entire gutter cover from the structure to access the gutter channel in the event cleaning is necessary. Further known designs attach to an exterior surface of the gutter, which can prevent water at that location from being captured by the gutter. Accordingly, an improved gutter cover and bracket design would be desirable.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above and other needs are met by the present invention, which in one embodiment provides a water channeling system for use with a structure having a roof. The water channeling system includes a gutter defining an upwardly directed channel, wherein the gutter includes a front edge defining a lip extending at least partially back towards the upwardly directed channel; a gutter cover having a front edge, a skirt portion and an arcuate portion intermediate the front edge and the skirt portion, wherein the gutter cover is positioned above the channel with the arcuate portion proximate the front lip of the gutter and the skirt portion is configured to be secured to the roof or the structure; and a clip configured to be positioned substantially within the channel and supported by an inner surface of the lip and the upwardly directed channel, and wherein the clip defines an upwardly directed groove configured to be capable of receiving the front edge of the gutter cover after the skirt portion has been secured to the roof or the structure.

In another embodiment, a clip for facilitating attachment of a gutter cover having a front edge to a gutter having a front wall defining a front lip is provided. The clip includes a gutter interface portion configured to be positioned within the channel and to engage at least a portion of each of (1) an interior surface of the front lip and (2) the front wall; and a cover interface portion defining a groove sized to accept the front edge of the gutter cover wherein the groove is configured to be upwardly directed when the gutter interface portion engages the front lip and the front wall such that the front edge of the cover can be inserted into the groove after the gutter cover is secured to a structure.

In a further embodiment, a method for installing a gutter cover to a gutter is provided. The gutter includes a back wall, a bottom wall and a front wall cooperating to form a channel and extending from the front wall is a lip. The method includes the steps of: securing a clip to an interior portion of the gutter wherein the clip is configured to engage at least a portion of the front wall and the gutter lip and includes an upwardly directed groove; providing a gutter cover that includes a substantially planar skirt portion, an arcuate portion and an interface portion; securing the skirt portion of the gutter cover to a structure; and inserting the interface portion of the gutter cover into the groove after securing the skirt portion to the structure wherein the interface portion is above the channel such that water flowing over the arcuate section will be directed into the channel.

In another embodiment, a clip for facilitating attachment of a gutter cover relative to a K-Style gutter having a front wall and an inwardly directed lip is provided. The clip includes a gutter interface portion having a profile including a concave section terminating in a first planar section, which in turn terminates in a second planar section, wherein the first planar section is substantially perpendicular to the second planar section and wherein the profile is sized to engage a portion of the front wall and the inwardly directed lip; and a cover interface portion including two substantially parallel walls defining a groove, wherein the groove is substantially parallel with the first planar section.

In a further embodiment, a method of cleaning a gutter channel is provided. The gutter channel is covered by a gutter cover thereabove, and the method includes the steps of: rotating an interface portion of a gutter cover out of a groove defined by a gutter clip secured to the front of a gutter while the gutter cover remains secured to a structure; accessing the gutter channel to remove debris; and rotating the interface portion of the gutter cover into the groove defined by the gutter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 provides a cross-sectional view of a water channeling system 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2. provides an enlarged cross-sectional view of a portion of the gutter 20, the gutter clip 40 and gutter cover 60 shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 provides a side view of a gutter clip 40 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 provides a cross-sectional view of a gutter cover 60 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the inventions are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

FIG. 1 provides a cross-sectional view of a water channeling system 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. This embodiment includes a gutter 20, a gutter clip 40 and a gutter cover 60. Generally described, the gutter 20 collects and channels water flowing off of a roof 14 of a structure 12 into a downspout (not shown). The gutter cover 60 is positioned over the gutter 20 and is designed to deflect leaves and other debris away from the gutter, while at the same time directing water into the gutter 20. Gutter clips 40 are installed at regular intervals along the length of the gutter to facilitate attachment of the gutter cover 60 relative to the front of the gutter 20, as is known in the art.

The gutter 20 illustrated in FIG. 1 is sometimes referred to as a “K-style” gutter. This gutter 20 has a generally elongate structure that includes a back wall 22, a bottom wall 23 and a front wall 24 that cooperate to define an upwardly directed channel 25. The channel 25 directs water to a downspout (not shown). In use, the back wall 22 of the gutter 20 is positioned adjacent to the structure 12 at a location proximate the lower edge of the roof 14 such that water flowing off of the roof is collected by the gutter channel 25. As will be understood by those skilled in the art, nails, screws or other types of fasteners may be used to attach the gutter to the structure 12. Brackets may also be used in conjunction with the fasteners to provide additional support for the gutter.

In the illustrated embodiment, the front wall 24 of the gutter 20 includes a first vertical section 26 attached to the bottom wall 23 and extending upwardly in a substantially perpendicular orientation in relation to the bottom wall 23. This section 26 extends to a convex section 27, which blends with a concave section 28 to form a reversed “S” shape. The concave section 28 terminates into a second vertical section 29.

Referring also to FIG. 2, the lip section 30 of the gutter 20 extends inwardly from the second vertical section 29 and includes an inwardly directed, substantially planar horizontal member 34. An outwardly directed flange 36 is formed at the edge of the horizontal member 34. In the illustrated embodiment, the flange 36 is substantially parallel to the horizontal member 34, and these two components define a pocket 38. As will be understood by those of skill in the art, the outwardly directed flange 36 does not have to be parallel with the horizontal member 34 and may be formed at any outwardly directed angle with respect to the horizontal member 34. Although embodiments of the present invention are described in connection with a “K-style” gutter, it should be understood that embodiments of the present invention may be used in conjunction with other known or developed gutters such as half round and vinyl styles.

FIG. 3 illustrates a gutter clip 40 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The gutter clip 40 includes a gutter interface portion 42 and a cover interface portion 50. Referring also to FIG. 1, the gutter interface portion 42 is generally configured to be positioned within the channel 25 of the gutter 20 and to engage the interior surface of the front lip 30 and a portion of the front wall 24 of the gutter 20. The cover interface portion 50 is generally configured to receive the front edge of the cover 60 at a position above or within the gutter channel 25 such that water flowing over the cover is directed into the channel when installed.

A benefit of positioning the clip 40 within the gutter channel 25 is that water flowing over the cover and contacting the clip falls into the gutter channel. In many prior art designs, the clip is not positioned within the gutter channel, and as a result, some of the water contacting the prior art clip is blocked from entering the channel.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the gutter interface portion 42 includes a concave portion 43 that terminates in a front planar section 44. An inwardly directed leg 45 is attached to the front planar section 44 at one end and extends inwardly and substantially perpendicular to the front planar section 44 in a cantilevered manner. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the inwardly directed leg 45 is oriented at a 95 degree angle with respect to the front planar section 44. It should be understood that the orientation of the inwardly directed leg 45 could be at any desired angle with respect to the front planar section 44 as long as the inwardly directed leg 45 is directed generally inwardly.

In the illustrated embodiments, the gutter interface portion 42 has a continuous profile defined by the concave portion 43, the front planar section 44 and the inwardly directed leg 45. However, in other embodiments, the profile may comprise multiple individual segments.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the gutter interface portion 42 is sized to engage the inner surface of the horizontal member 34, the second vertical section 29 and the concave section 28 of the gutter 20. The cantilevered end of the inwardly directed leg 45 is sized to engage the pocket 38 formed by the horizontal member 34 and the flange 26 when installed.

Returning to FIG. 3, the cover interface portion 50 of the clip 40 includes two substantially parallel walls 52A,B that are connected by arcuate portion 55 to define a groove 53 having an opening opposite the arcuate section 55. The groove 53 is sized to accept the front edge of the gutter cover 60 as generally shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the illustrated embodiment, the groove 53 is substantially parallel to the front planar section 44 such that when installed, the groove 53 is upwardly directed and substantially parallel to the back wall 22 of the gutter 20. This orientation can facilitate insertion and removal of the interface section 70 of the cover 60 by pivoting about a hinge 68 formed in the cover 60 as will be discussed in more detail later. Alternative embodiments may have groove orientations other than substantially parallel with the back wall 22 of the gutter 20.

In one embodiment, a rib 54 is formed on wall 52B. This rib 54 is oriented substantially parallel to the opening of the groove 53. Although the illustrated embodiment includes a single rib 54 on wall 52B, other embodiments may not include ribs or may include any number of ribs on one or both of the parallel walls 52A,B. As will be discussed in greater detail below, the cover 60 may include a complementary groove positioned substantially parallel with the gutter cover's front edge that engages the rib 54 when installed.

In one embodiment, one or both of the parallel walls 52A,B define a hole 56A,B, which is illustrated in FIG. 3 with dashed lines. The hole 56A,B is sized to accept a fastener such as a self-tapping screw. In the illustrated embodiment, the holes 56A,B are substantially aligned such that the central axis of the two holes forms an acute angle with the plane defined by the groove 53. In use, the front edge 73 of the cover 60 may be placed in the groove 53 as shown in FIG. 1 and a threaded fastener may be driven into the cover interface portion 50 and the portion of the cover 60 positioned in the groove 53. In this case, the holes 56A,B assist in positioning and aligning the fastener. In an alternative embodiment, wall 52A provides a recessed portion, as opposed to a hole, to aid in positioning a fastener such as a self-tapping screw, which pierces the material of the gutter clip 40 and the interface section 70 of the cover 60 as it is screwed in by the installer.

The gutter clip 40 has a periphery portion 58 and a web portion 57. The periphery portion 58 has a thickness “t” as shown in FIG. 3 and a width extending into the page. The web portion 57 extends between some of the interior surfaces of the periphery portion 58 and has a width that is substantially less than the width of the periphery portion 58. The web portion 57 is positioned at the approximate midpoint of the width of the periphery portion 58. Of course, the web portion 57 may be positioned anywhere along the width of the periphery portion 58 as desired. In an alternative embodiment, the gutter clip 40 has a substantially consistent width as opposed to a periphery width and a separate web width.

In one embodiment, the gutter clip 40 is made from any suitable plastic material such as polyamide, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene. Those skilled in the art will recognize that gutter clip embodiments described herein may be produced using any known or developed plastic forming processes such as molding or extruding.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a gutter cover 60 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The gutter cover 60 has an elongate structure that includes a back edge 61, skirt section 62, an arcuate section 64, a transition section 66, an interface section 70 and a front edge 73.

The skirt section 62 is substantially flat and extends from the back edge 61 of the gutter cover 60 to the arcuate section 64. The skirt section 62 may include one or more protrusions 63 that are substantially parallel with the back edge 61. The skirt section may also include a hinge 68 that is substantially parallel with the back edge 61 and facilitates the bending of the skirt section 62 such that at least a portion of the skirt section 62 conforms to the pitch of the roof. This hinge 68 may also provide a pivoting axis for facilitating insertion and removal of the interface section 70 into and out of the groove 53 formed in the clip 40.

In an alternative embodiment of the cover, the skirt section may be designed to be fastened directly to the structure 12 at a position below the lower edge of the roof 14 instead of being slid under the roof covering. As will be understood by those skilled in the art, the portion of the structure in which the skirt section would be fastened to is often referred to as the “fascia.” In this embodiment, the back edge of the cover would include a substantially planar section that is designed to abut the structure 12 and would be fastened to the structure 12 using screws or other fastening mechanisms. In this embodiment, the back edge is positioned such that the cover, as seen in cross-section, is angled away from the structure when the front of the cover is secured proximate the front lip 30 of the gutter 20 such that water flows away from the structure 12.

The arcuate or “bull nose” section 64 has a radius “R”, which is sized such that water “adheres” to profile of the cover 60 and is directed into the gutter channel 25 when installed. The arcuate section 64 leads to a substantially planar transition section 66, which extends to an interface section 70.

The interface section 70 is sized and oriented to engage the groove 53 in the clip 40 as shown in FIG. 1. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the interface section 70 includes a groove 72 that is substantially parallel to the front edge 73 of the cover 60. In one embodiment, this groove 72 may engage a complementary rib 54 formed in the gutter clip groove 53. This engagement removably attaches the cover 60 to the clip 40.

Method of Installation

The method for installing a water channeling system according to an embodiment of the present invention begins with the attachment of a plurality of gutter clips 40 to a gutter 20. The clips 40 are generally installed at regular intervals along the length of the gutter 20. Individual clips may be installed by positioning the gutter clip 40 inside the gutter channel 25 such that the cantilevered end of the inwardly directed leg 45 of the clip 40 is positioned proximate the pocket 38 formed by the horizontal member 34 and the flange 36 of the gutter 20. The clip 40 is then rotated substantially about the cantilevered end of the inwardly directed leg 45 such that the clip 40 engages the gutter 20. When installed, the inwardly directed leg 45 of the gutter clip 40 is retained within the pocket 38 formed by the horizontal member 34 and the flange 36 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Depending on the geometry of the parts, this may create a “snap” effect. The front planar section 44 and the concave portion 43 of the clip 40 engage the complementary shapes of the gutter front wall 24. This engagement of the gutter clip to the gutter 20 substantially secures the clip 40 to the gutter 20. In a further embodiment, adhesives or fasteners may be used to further secure the clip 40 to the gutter 20. It should be noted that the installation of the clips 40 to the gutter 20 may occur before or after the gutter 20 is secured to the structure.

Next, the skirt section 62 is secured to the structure. In one embodiment, this includes sliding the back edge 61 of the cover 60 under the roof covering such as the first or second course of shingles. The skirt section 62 may be further secured to the roof using fasteners such as nails or screws. In another embodiment, the skirt section is attached directly to the fascia of the structure.

After the cover is secured, the front portion of the gutter cover is pivoted about the hinge 68 such that the interface portion is inserted into the groove. In a non-hinge embodiment, the gutter cover may be creased or bent proximate the edge of the roof to position the interface section 70 into the groove 53. As discussed above, the gutter cover 60 and gutter clip 40 may have complementary ribs/grooves that engage to retain the cover 60 in the groove 53 of the clip 40, making a further fastener unnecessary. However, for higher wind-load ratings, the cover 60 may be further secured to the clip 40 by a fastener driven into the cover interface portion 50 of the clip 40 and a portion of the planar interface section 70 of the cover 60 in the groove 53. In one embodiment, the fastener is a self-tapping screw and the interface portion defines a recess or hole to aid in positioning the screw at an appropriate location.

A benefit of the upwardly directed groove in the gutter clip embodiments discussed herein is that a user may access the gutter channel without removing the fasteners securing the gutter cover to the structure. Periodically, a user may desire to access the gutter channel to troubleshoot drainage issues or to remove debris from the channel. In many prior art designs, the gutter cover had to be unfastened from the structure to gain access to the gutter channel. With the upwardly directed groove design described herein, a user can access the gutter channel by pivoting the interface section 70 of the gutter cover 60 out of the upwardly directed groove 53 and away from the gutter channel 25 without having to unfasten the gutter cover from the structure. In one embodiment, the interface section 70 pivots about the hinge 68 in the skirt section of the gutter cover. After the desired access is complete, the interface section 70 can be pivoted back into the groove 53. Of course, if the gutter cover is secured to the gutter clips 40 with fasteners, these fasteners would be removed to allow the gutter cover to pivot away from the gutter and replaced after the desired access is complete.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these inventions pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the inventions are not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.