Title:
Deck Railing Protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protector for hand rails is provided. The protector includes a resilient body having a first surface and a second surface. The first surface includes a single protrusion extending outwardly from the first surface. A pair of arms extends from opposite ends of the body in the same general direction as the protrusion, each arm further extending to a retainer. The body, arms and retainers are configured to protectively surround a hand rail. In an installed position, each of the retainers is secured to one or more surfaces of the hand rail with the protrusion maintained in abutting contact with the hand rail due to flexing of the body.



Inventors:
Castelle, Gary L. (Greenwood Lake, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/953896
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
12/11/2007
Assignee:
MAGNUM PLASTICS INC (Greenwood Lake, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
256/59, 52/717.05
International Classes:
E04F11/18; E04C3/00; E04G21/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCNEES WALLACE & NURICK LLC (HARRISBURG, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A protector for hand rails comprising: a resilient body having a first surface and a second surface, the first surface including a single protrusion extending outwardly from the first surface; a pair of arms extending from opposite ends of the body in the same general direction as the protrusion, each arm further extending to a retainer; and wherein the body, arms and retainers are configured to protectively surround a hand rail, wherein in an installed position each of the retainers is secured to one or more surfaces of the hand rail with the protrusion maintained in abutting contact with the hand rail due to flexing of the body.

2. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protector is an extruded material.

3. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protrusion maintains a predetermined spacing between the first surface and the hand rail.

4. The protector of claim 1, wherein the second surface is nonlinear when in the installed position.

5. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protrusion is substantially centered in the body.

6. The protector of claim 5, wherein the protrusion includes an end having an increased cross-section.

7. The protector of claim 6, wherein the end is rounded.

8. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protector is composed of plastic.

9. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protector is constructed in a plurality of pigments.

10. The protector of claim 9, wherein each pigment is distributed throughout the protector.

11. The protector of claim 1, wherein each arm is disposed substantially parallel to each other.

12. The protector of claim 11, wherein the retainer extend toward each other.

13. A protector for hand rails comprising: a resilient body having a first surface and a second surface, the first surface including a single protrusion extending outwardly from the first surface; a pair of arms extending substantially parallel to each other along opposite ends of the body, each arm further extending to a retainer; and wherein the body, arms and retainers are configured to protectively surround a substantially rectangular hand rail, wherein in an installed position each of the retainers is secured to at least one surface of the hand rail with the protrusion maintained in abutting contact with the hand rail due to flexing of the body

14. The protector of claim 13, wherein the protector is an extruded material.

15. The protector of claim 13, wherein the protrusion maintains a predetermined spacing between the first surface and the hand rail.

16. The protector of claim 13, wherein the second surface is nonlinear when in the installed position.

17. The protector of claim 13, wherein the protrusion is substantially centered in the body.

18. The protector of claim 17, wherein the protrusion includes an end having an increased cross-section.

19. The protector of claim 18, wherein the end is rounded.

20. The protector of claim 13, wherein the protector is composed of plastic.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to structural protectors, and more particularly to protectors for structural railing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a protector for structural railing, such as hand rails. The protector includes a resilient body having a first surface and a second surface. The first surface includes a single protrusion extending outwardly from the first surface. A pair of arms extends from opposite ends of the body in the same general direction as the protrusion, each arm further extending to a retainer. The body, arms and retainers are configured to protectively surround a hand rail. In an installed position each of the retainers is secured to one or more surfaces of the hand rail with the protrusion maintained in abutting contact with the hand rail due to flexing of the body.

The present invention further relates to a protector for hand rails. The protector includes a resilient body having a first surface and a second surface. The first surface includes a single protrusion extending outwardly from the first surface. A pair of arms extends substantially parallel to each other along opposite ends of the body, each arm further extending to a retainer. The body, arms and retainers are configured to protectively surround a substantially rectangular hand rail. In an installed position each of the retainers is secured to opposed portions of the hand rail with the protrusion maintained in abutting contact with the hand rail due to flexing of the body

In one embodiment, the protector is configured to provide protection to warped hand rails.

In one embodiment, the protector is configured with a snap feature over the hand rail.

In one embodiment, the protector provides substantial coverage to cover damaged or worn hand rails, and/or to protect from environment conditions.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following more detailed description of the preferred embodiment, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an end view of an embodiment of a protector of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an end view of the protector of FIG. 1 secured over a railing structure of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the protector of FIG. 1 secured over a railing structure of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial view taken along region 4 of FIG. 1 of the present invention.

Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is an end view of a hand rail protector 10. Protector 10 includes a resilient body 11 that extends at opposite ends to arms 12. In one embodiment, arms 12 extend substantially parallel to each other. Extending from body 11 between arms 12 is a protrusion 15. In one embodiment, protrusion 15 is substantially centered in body 11. In another embodiment, a single protrusion 15 extends contiguously from body 11. In yet another embodiment, protrusion 15 is not contiguous, forming spaced segments that may be uniformly or non-uniformly spaced. Further extending from ends of arms 12 opposite body 11 are retainers 13, 14, which in one embodiment are parallel to each other, and in a further embodiment extend toward each other. In one embodiment, arms 12 extend in the same general direction as protrusion 15, as arms 12 are neither constrained to extend linearly, nor substantially perpendicular to body 11 nor parallel to protrusion 15. In a further embodiment, arms 12 and protrusion 15 are substantially parallel to each other. Retainer 13 resembles a hook leg in one embodiment, and retainer 14 resembles a locking leg in one embodiment. In other embodiments, retainers may both be hook leg, or locking leg or other retainer configurations. Retainers 13, 14 generally extend toward each other, and in a further embodiment, are parallel. Protector 10 is configured to protectively surround a hand rail 16, such as shown in FIG. 2.

The term “protectively surround” is intended to mean that a substantial portion of a hand rail is overlaid and protected, such as by protector 10, such as the majority of a hand rail 16 that is visible from a vantage point that is equal to or vertically above an upper surface 19 (FIG. 2) of the hand rail.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show protector 10 in an installed position substantially surrounding and protectively securing hand rail 16, which hand rail 16 being supported by vertical supports 17. Protector 10 is installed over hand rail 16 by directing retainer 13 over and around hand rail 16, and securing retainer 13 to a lower corner of a lower surface 18 of hand rail 16. Once retainer 13 is secured to hand rail 16, retainer 14 is then directed toward the opposed lower corner of lower surface 18 of hand rail 16 and secured, retainer 14 and body 11 being sufficiently flexed to permit retainer 14 to swing clear of the hand rail 16. In one embodiment, all that is required after retainer 13 is secured is application of a downward force sufficient to drive retainer 14 downward and along the periphery of hand rail 16 until retainer 14 is disposed below lower surface 18 of hand rail 16, upon which retainer 14 snaps into a securing position beneath and in abutting contact with lower surface 18. That is, upon retainer 14 extending below lower surface 18 of hand rail 16, retention forces in body 11 urge retainer 14 toward hand rail 16. However, in addition, protrusion 15 is sized to compressively abut upper surface 19 of hand rail 16. Stated another way, when the body 11, arms 12 and retainers 13, 14 are configured to protectively surround hand rail 16, protector 10 is in the installed position. In the installed position, with each of the retainers 13, 14 secured to opposed portions of the lower surface 18 of hand rail 16, the protrusion 15 is maintained in abutting contact with upper surface 19 the hand rail due to flexing of body 11. In an alternate embodiment, one or more of retainers 13, 14 may be configured to be secured to lower surface 18, but also to other surfaces of hand rail, such as the side surfaces, or other hand rail geometries. By virtue of flexing of body 11 when protector 10 is in the installed position, body 11 acts to urge retainers 13, 14 toward body 11, compressively securing hand rail 16 therein, substantially preventing rattling of the protector 10 in use. Further, the flexing of body 11 permits protector 10 to accommodate warping of the hand rail 16, such as, but not limited to, a 1″×6″ or 2″×6″ wooden board.

In addition, protrusion 15 maintains a predetermined spacing between upper surface 19 of hand rail 16 and body 11 of protector 10. This spacing permits ventilation to evaporate moisture due to precipitation, condensation or other reason from otherwise collecting on upper surface 19 or hand rail 16, prevents potential damage to hand rail 16. Further, in one embodiment, body 11 has a nonlinear surface geometry, such as a curved surface while in the installed position, so that water does not collect thereon. In one embodiment, protrusion 15 may include an end 20 (FIG. 4) having an increased cross-section, thereby increasing the amount of surface area of end 20 in contact with upper surface 19 of hand rail 16 and reducing the pressure applied to the upper surface, which reduces the opportunity for inadvertently marring upper surface 19 of the hand rail.

In one embodiment, protector 10 is composed of a suitable resilient material, such as, but not limited to plastic, which can be produced by extrusion so that protector 10 may be of unitary construction. In one embodiment, the plastic is an outdoor grade to allow for maximum ultraviolet and weather resistance, and can be constructed to comprise a variety of pigments to blend with the color of the environment or the preference of the user. The term variety of pigments is intended to provide a protector of one color, but may also provide a predetermined mix of colors for the protector, if so desired by the user.

In operation, the protector 10 is secured over the hand rail 16 to protect the hand rail, such as the hand rail of a deck, from a variety of causes of damage including but not limited to sunlight, rain, snow and animal paws. Protector 10 is configured to be secured to hand railing without tools or any intrusive mounting device, such as, but not limited to screws, staples, glue tape to maintain the integrity and appearance of the hand rail. In one installation technique, mounting is achieved by sliding retainer 13 on to the hand rail 16 and simply pressing down on the body 11 with sufficient force as to cause retainer 14 to snap over the hand rail 16. Once in place, the protector 10 maintains the integrity and appearance in at least four ways including the following:

1) With the use of a material that is colored throughout, surface scratches, such as those caused by dog paws, are much less visible when compared to painted or coated surfaces which show the underlying substrate when scratched.

2) Variations in the color and texture of the outer wall of body 11 and arms 12 can yield beneficial visual effects to the overall hand rail construction by creating contrast between the two.

3) The protector 10 requiring no special expertise can easily be installed or replaced by the occupant of the home without requiring a paid professional.

4) With the use of a non-intrusive, snap on mounting system, the underlying substrate of the hand rail is not damaged by the mounting process as it would be with the use of screws or similar mounting mechanisms.

While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.