Title:
APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING AIR FLOW IN A BUILDING WALL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An inter-panel ventilation apparatus is installed in a building wall between rows of siding, for providing air flow to and from an interstitial space between exterior and interior building wall layers. The inter-panel ventilation apparatus has a hood for carrying away water to an exterior of the building wall, and upper and lower apertured venting components respectively engaged with adjacent upper and lower siding panels. A plurality of inter-panel ventilation apparatus may be connected together with couplers to form a ventilation trim extending along a length of the building wall.



Inventors:
Koessler, Juergen (Surrey, CA)
Chan, James Chun Nam (Richmond, CA)
Sikura, Boris (New Westminster, CA)
Application Number:
12/017291
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
01/21/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/536
International Classes:
E04F17/04; E04B1/70; E04D13/152; E04F13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUAST, ELIZABETH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OYEN, WIGGS, GREEN & MUTALA LLP (VANCOUVER, BC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ventilation apparatus for installation in a building wall, the apparatus comprising: a base mountable to an interior wall layer; a hood projecting outwardly and downwardly from the base to an exterior of an exterior wall layer; an apertured upper venting component located above the hood for providing ventilation between the exterior of the exterior wall layer and an upper interstitial space, the upper interstitial space extending above the ventilation apparatus and located between the interior and exterior wall layers; and an apertured lower venting component located below the hood for providing ventilation between the exterior of the exterior wall layer and a lower interstitial space, the lower interstitial space extending below the ventilation apparatus and located between the interior and exterior wall layers.

2. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the apertured upper venting component projects outwardly from the base and engages a lower portion of an upper siding panel of the exterior wall layer.

3. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the apertured lower venting component projects inwardly from an interior surface of the hood and engages an upper portion of a lower siding panel of the exterior wall layer.

4. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the apertured lower venting component projects downwardly from an undersurface of the hood and engages an upper portion of a lower siding panel of the exterior wall layer.

5. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the upper venting component comprises: an upper-apertured portion projecting outwardly from the base; and an outer portion depending from the upper-apertured portion and engageable with an inward face of the lower portion of the upper siding panel.

6. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the outer portion of the upper venting component comprises an outwardly projecting lip engageable with a lower edge of the upper siding panel.

7. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the lower venting component comprises: a lower apertured portion projecting inwardly from the interior surface of the hood; and an inner portion depending from the lower apertured portion and engageable with one or more of: an inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel and an outward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel.

8. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the inner portion of the lower venting component comprises a first connecting flange for abutting against the inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel.

9. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the lower venting component comprises a second connecting flange depending from the lower apertured portion, the second connecting flange spaced outwardly from the first connecting flange for receiving the upper portion of the lower sliding member between the first and second connecting flanges.

10. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 4 wherein the lower venting component comprises: an upper apertured segment projecting downwardly from an undersurface of the hood; and a lower segment depending from the upper apertured segment and engageable with one or more of: an inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel and an outward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel.

11. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 10 wherein: the lower venting component comprises a ledge flange which projects inwardly from between the upper apertured segment and the lower segment; an outward face of the lower segment is engageable with an inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel; and an upper edge of the lower siding panel abuts against an undersurface of the ledge flange.

12. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the hood comprises: a spacer portion projecting outwardly from the base; and a protective portion extending downwardly from the spacer portion.

13. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 12 wherein the hood comprises an inclined drip edge extending downwardly and outwardly from a lower edge of the protective portion and wherein the protective portion extends more sharply downwardly than the drip edge.

14. An apparatus according to claim 12 wherein the base, the hood and the upper and lower venting components are integrally formed.

15. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the hood comprises: a spacer portion projecting outwardly from the base; and a protective portion extending downwardly from the spacer portion.

16. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 15 wherein the hood comprises an inclined drip edge extending downwardly and outwardly from a lower edge of the protective portion and wherein the protective portion extends more sharply downwardly than the drip edge.

17. An apparatus according to claim 15 wherein the base, the hood and the upper and lower venting components are integrally formed.

18. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the lower venting component comprises: an upper apertured segment projecting downwardly from an undersurface of the hood; and a lower segment depending from the upper apertured segment and engageable with one or more of: an inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel and an outward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel.

19. A ventilation apparatus according to claim 18 wherein: the lower venting component comprises a ledge flange which projects inwardly from between the upper apertured segment and the lower segment; an outward face of the lower segment is engageable with an inward face of the upper portion of the lower siding panel; and an upper edge of the lower siding panel abuts against an undersurface of the ledge flange.

20. A building wall ventilation system comprising: a plurality of ventilation apparatus according to claim 1; and one or more couplers for connecting a pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus in edge to edge relationship to form a ventilation trim extending along a horizontal length of the building wall.

21. A building wall ventilation system comprising: a plurality of ventilation apparatus according to claim 18; and one or more couplers for connecting a pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus in edge to edge relationship to form a ventilation trim extending along a horizontal length of the building wall.

22. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 21 wherein each one of the couplers comprises: one or more upper transversely extending flanges shaped for slideable engagement with the upper venting components of a corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus; and one or more middle transversely extending flanges shaped for slideable engagement with the hoods of the corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus.

23. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 22 wherein each one of the couplers comprises one or more lower transversely extending flanges for slidable engagement with the lower venting components of the corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus.

24. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 22 wherein the one or more middle transversely extending flanges comprise a U-shaped receptacle for receiving lowermost edges of the hoods of the corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus.

25. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 18, comprising one or more upper ventilation apparatus for installation between an upper edge of the exterior wall layer and a soffit, each upper ventilation apparatus comprising: a base mountable to the exterior building wall layer; an apertured upper venting portion extending upwardly from the base for providing ventilation to the upper interstitial space, the upper interstitial space extending below the upper ventilation apparatus and located between the interior and exterior wall layers; and a hood projecting outwardly and downwardly from above the apertures of the upper venting portion.

26. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 23, wherein the hood of each upper ventilation apparatus comprises: a spacer portion projecting outwardly from the base; and a protective portion extending downwardly from the spacer portion.

27. A building wall ventilation system according to claim 25, wherein the upper ventilation apparatus comprises a flange projecting outwardly from the base for engagement with the upper edge of the exterior wall layer.

28. A building wall ventilation system mountable in wall between an upper siding component and a lower siding component, the ventilation system comprising: a base mountable to an interior wall layer, an upper apertured element located between the interior wall layer and an interior surface of the upper siding member for venting an upper interstitial space, the upper interstitial space extending above the ventilation apparatus and located at least in part between the interior wall layer and the upper siding component; a lower apertured element for venting a lower interstitial space, the lower interstitial space extending below the ventilation apparatus and located at least in part between the interior wall layer and the lower siding component; and a hood for covering the lower apertured element.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to ventilation apparatus for installation in building walls. Particular embodiments of the invention provide air flow and moisture management in a space between interior and exterior layers of building walls.

BACKGROUND

Exterior layers (e.g. siding) can be installed to cover an exterior of a building wall to protect the building from precipitation, wind and other environmental effects. Siding typically consists of panels, shingles or sheets, generally arranged in horizontal and/or vertical rows which may overlap with one another. Siding can be made of materials such as wood, metal, vinyl, composite materials, stucco, etc.

Moisture can occasionally penetrate the external layer of a building wall, or first plane of protection of a building wall, and become trapped in spaces between external and internal layers of the building wall. This is a particular problem in wet climates. If the moisture does not evaporate or drain away, it can eventually result in mold growth, rot and/or structural damage to the building structure.

Siding panels may be perforated to allow for air circulation between the siding and internal building layers. For example, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003/0097810 (Leichtfried) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,488 (Pelfrey et al.) disclose vinyl siding panels in which portions of the vinyl panels have apertures to allow moisture to evaporate from within the building wall. However, it may be difficult, costly and/or impractical to create perforations in siding panels which are made of other materials such as wood or metal. In addition, apertures formed in siding can allow excessive moisture (e.g. from rain) to enter the wall.

Ventilation strips may be installed in the soffit (i.e. under the eave) of a roof to permit air circulation in the space above the ventilation strip. Examples of such ventilation strips are described or shown in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0166529 (Rodolfo et al.), U.S. Pat. No. 7,137,224 (Rasmussen et al.), and U.S. Design Pat. No. 271,713 (Hicks) and Nos. D503,469 and D503,470 (Rodolfo et al.). These soffit ventilation strips alone do not provide for sufficient air flow and moisture management between the layers of building walls, particularly where the walls of the building are several stories high and the air flow provided by the soffit ventilation is insufficient.

There is a general desire for apparatus to permit air flow and/or moisture management in a space between internal and external layers of building walls.

SUMMARY

One aspect of the invention provides a ventilation apparatus for installation in a building wall. The ventilation apparatus has a base mountable to an interior wall layer, and a hood projecting outwardly and downwardly from the base to an exterior of an exterior wall layer. The ventilation apparatus has an apertured upper venting component located above the hood for providing ventilation between the exterior of the exterior wall layer and an upper interstitial space extending above the ventilation apparatus and located between the interior and exterior wall layers. The ventilation apparatus also has an apertured lower venting component located below the hood for providing ventilation between the exterior of the exterior wall layer and a lower interstitial space extending below the ventilation apparatus and located between the interior and exterior wall layers.

Another aspect of the invention provide a building wall ventilation system mountable in wall between an upper siding component and a lower siding component. The ventilation system comprises: a base mountable to an interior wall layer, an upper apertured element located between the interior wall layer and an interior surface of the upper siding member for venting an upper interstitial space, the upper interstitial space extending above the ventilation apparatus and located at least in part between the interior wall layer and the upper siding component; a lower apertured element for venting a lower interstitial space, the lower interstitial space extending below the ventilation apparatus and located at least in part between the interior wall layer and the lower siding component; and a hood for covering the lower apertured element.

In some embodiments, the apertured upper venting component of the ventilation apparatus projects outwardly from the base and engages a lower portion of an upper siding panel of the exterior wall layer. The apertured lower venting component of the ventilation apparatus may project inwardly from an interior surface of the hood and engages an upper portion of a lower siding panel of the exterior wall layer. The apertured lower venting component may project downwardly from an undersurface of the hood and engages an upper portion of a lower siding panel of the exterior wall layer.

In some embodiments, the hood of the ventilation apparatus includes a spacer portion projecting outwardly from the base and a protective portion extending downwardly from the spacer portion. The hood may also include an inclined drip edge extending downwardly and outwardly from a lower edge of the protective portion. The protective portion may extend more sharply downwardly than the drip edge. The base, the hood and the upper and lower venting components may be integrally formed.

Another aspect of the invention provides for a building wall ventilation system. In some embodiments, the building wall ventilation system has a plurality of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus coupled together in edge to edge relationship by a plurality of couplers to form a ventilation trim extending along a horizontal length of the building wall. Each of the couplers has one or more upper transversely extending flanges shaped for slideable engagement with the upper venting components of a corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus, and one or more middle transversely extending flanges shaped for slideable engagement with the hoods of the corresponding pair of horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus.

In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following detailed descriptions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

In drawings which illustrate non-limiting embodiments of the invention,

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an inter-panel ventilation apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of the FIG. 1 ventilation apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of two adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus connected together and installed between siding panels on a building wall;

FIGS. 4A and 4B (together, FIG. 4) are front and side perspective views, respectively, of a coupler for connecting together adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the FIG. 4 coupler shown connecting two adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus;

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of an upper ventilation apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of the FIG. 6 ventilation apparatus installed between a soffit edge and an uppermost siding panel;

FIG. 8A is a front perspective view of an inter-panel ventilation apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8B is an enlarged front perspective view of a portion of the FIG. 8A ventilation apparatus; and

FIG. 9 is a side perspective view of a coupler for connecting together adjacent ones of the ventilation apparatus shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B (together, FIG. 8).

DESCRIPTION

Throughout the following description, specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding to persons skilled in the art. However, well known elements may not have been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the disclosure. Accordingly, the description and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative, rather than a restrictive, sense.

This description employs a number of simplifying directional conventions. Directions are described in relation to a vertically oriented building wall (e.g. wall 15 of FIG. 3). Referring to FIG. 3, directions may be referred to as: “external”, “exterior”, “outward” or the like if they tend toward an exterior 102 of building wall 15; “internal”, “interior”, “inward” or the like if they tend toward an interior 104 of building wall 15; “upward” or the like if they tend toward the top (not explicitly enumerated) of building wall 15; “downward” or the like if they tend toward the bottom (not explicitly enumerated) of building wall 15; “vertical” or the like if they tend both upwardly and downwardly; “leftward” or the like if they tend toward one side of building wall 15; “rightward” or the like if they tend toward the opposing side of building wall 15; and “sideways”, “transverse” or the like if they tend both leftward and rightward. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that these directional conventions are used for the purpose of facilitating the description and should not be interpreted in a literal sense. In particular, the invention may be employed, for example, in walls 15 that are not strictly vertically oriented.

FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 show an inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 for installation in a building wall 15. In the illustrated embodiment, siding panels 12, 13 are generally horizontally oriented and inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 is located generally between upper and lower siding panels 12, 13. In the illustrated embodiment, siding panels 12, 13 are formed from wood. Generally, however, siding panels 12, 13 may be formed of other materials including, by way of non-limiting example, vinyl, aluminum, stucco or any other suitable material(s).

As is typical, building wall 15 may comprise several layers. In the illustrated embodiment, building wall 15 has an exterior wall layer 19 comprising siding panels 12, 13. Exterior wall layer 19 is mounted to an exterior of a number of interior wall layers. In the illustrated embodiment, interior wall layers include sheathing layer 14 which may be mounted to wall studs (not shown). Sheathing layer 14 may comprise plywood, together with building wrap paper (e.g. Tyvek™ marketed and sold by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company), other building wrap material(s), other moisture barrier material(s) and/or the like. In other embodiments, different sheathing materials may be used to form sheathing layer 14 or sheathing layer 14 may not be present at all. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that building wall 15 may incorporate other materials (e.g. insulation, vapor barriers or the like) on an interior of sheathing layer 14. These optional other materials are not discussed herein as they are not germane to the explanation of the current invention.

Building wall 15 is constructed so as to create interstitial space 18 between exterior wall layer 19 and sheathing layer 14. Interstitial space 18 creates a condensation layer external to sheathing layer 14 such that moisture is generally prevented from entering the building. In prior art building constructions, airflow into and out of interstitial space 18 is provided by openings at the foundation of wall 15 (i.e. at the bottom of external layer 19) and at or near the soffit (i.e. at the top of external layer 19). This airflow allows the venting of interstitial space 18. However, in higher building walls (e.g. walls that are over one story tall), the airflow provided at the bottom and the top of external layer 19 is insufficient to fully vent interstitial space 18.

In general, interstitial space 18 need not necessarily be empty space. There are a variety of construction techniques typically used to create a ventilated interstitial space 18. In the illustrated embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, interstitial space 18 is created by providing a layer of ventable material 11, such as, by way of non-limiting example, Home Slicker™ marketed and sold by Bejamin Obdyke Incorporated of Horsham, Pa., Delta Dry™ marketed and sold by Cosella-Dörken Products, Inc. of Beamsville, Ontario, Canada or the like. In the illustrated embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, ventable material 11 is applied to sheathing layer 14. Ventable material 11 may be provided in rolls which are unwound, cut to size and fastened (e.g. by staples) to sheathing layer 14.

In other embodiments, different techniques may be used to create interstitial space 18. Such techniques do not require the use of ventable material 11. For example, one relatively common technique involves creating columns or channels of interstitial space 18 by attaching vertically extending spacers (referred to as “furring strips” and/or “strapping”) to sheathing layer 14 at transversely spaced apart locations. These furring strips create vertical columns of empty space between sheathing layer 14 and exterior wall layer 19. Still other systems for providing interstitial space 18 are known to those skilled in the art. The various embodiments of the invention should be understood to be applicable to any such techniques for creating an interstitial space 18 which allow for flow of air and moisture between sheathing layer 14 and exterior wall layer 19.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 has a generally uniform cross-section along its horizontal dimension. Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 includes a base 16 which can be mounted to an interior building wall layer, such as sheathing layer 14, using suitable fasteners such as screws, nails, staples, or the like. In the illustrated embodiment, base 16 extends both horizontally and vertically. Base 16 is optionally penetrated by a plurality of apertures 17 for projection of fasteners therethrough. In other embodiments, apertures 17 are not required and fasteners may project directly through base 16 and into an interior building wall layer (e.g. sheating 14).

Projecting outwardly and downwardly from base 16 is a hood 20. In the illustrated embodiment, hood 20 comprises a spacer portion 21 projecting outwardly and optionally downwardly from base 16 and a protective portion 22 extending downwardly and optionally outwardly from spacer portion 21. In embodiments where spacer portion 21 and protective portion 22 extend both downwardly and outwardly, protective portion 22 extends more sharply downwardly than spacer portion 21. In other embodiments, hood 20 may be a curved piece projecting outwardly and downwardly from base 16.

Hood 20 may have an inclined drip edge 24 extending from protective portion 22. Drip edge 24 may also extend outwardly and downwardly. Preferably, drip edge 24 extends more sharply downwardly than spacer portion 21 but less sharply downwardly than protective portion 22.

As shown best in FIG. 3, when inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 is installed in building wall 15, hood 20 projects outwardly from base 16 (i.e. from a location inward of siding panels 12, 13 to a location outward of siding panels 12, 13). Hood 20 provides several functions. Water received hood 20 (e.g. rain water or condensation which may be received on spacer portion 21 and/or protective portion 22; and moisture from condensation or the like which may drain from interstitial space 18 above spacer portion 21) is directed outwardly and downwardly to exterior 102. Hood 20 also provides a weather shield which prevents moisture from entering interstitial space 18 below inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10.

Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 has an apertured upper venting component 26 located above hood 20. In the illustrated embodiment, upper venting component 26 has an upper-apertured portion 30 projecting generally outwardly from base 16 and an outer portion 31 depending from an outer edge of apertured portion 30. Outer portion 31 of upper venting component 26 abuts against an inward face of lower portion 12A of upper siding panel 12 (FIG. 3). Upper venting component 26 may have a lip 32 which projects outwardly from outer portion 31 for engaging a lower edge portion 12B of upper siding panel 12. In the illustrated embodiment, where siding panels are made from wood, upper siding panel 12 rests upon outwardly projecting lip 32. In other embodiments, where siding panels are fabricated from other materials, lower edge portion 12B of upper siding panel 12 may wrap around lip 32. Suitable fasteners may also be used to couple upper siding panel 12 to outer portion 31 and/or lip 32. Apertured portion 30 of upper venting component 26 is penetrated by a plurality of apertures 27 along its generally horizontal dimension which allow air to enter and exit interstitial space 18 above inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 (e.g. interstitial space 18 between an interior of upper siding panel 12 and an exterior of sheathing layer 14).

Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 also has an apertured lower venting component 34 located below spacer portion 21 of hood 20 and inwardly of protective portion 22 of hood 20. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, lower venting component 34 has a lower-apertured portion 35 projecting inwardly from an inside surface of protection portion 22 of hood 20. Lower aperture portion 35 is penetrated by a plurality of apertures 37 along its generally horizontal dimension which allow air to enter and exit interstitial space 18 below inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 (e.g interstitial space 18 between an interior of lower siding panel 13 and an exterior of sheathing layer 14).

In the illustrated embodiment, lower venting component 34 also has a lower-inner portion 36 located interior to apertures 37 for engaging with upper portion 13A of lower siding panel 13. In the illustrated embodiment, inner portion 36 includes a first connecting flange 42 which extends downwardly from an interior edge of lower-apertured component 35 and abuts against an inward face of lower siding panel 13. Inner portion 36 may optionally include a second downwardly extending connecting flange 43 spaced outwardly from first connecting flange 42. Together first and second connecting flanges 42, 43 may form a downwardly opening channel 82 for receiving upper portion 13A of lower siding panel 13. In some building walls where siding panels have different shapes, upper portion 13A of lower siding panel 13 may abut against both first and second connecting flanges 42, 43. First connecting flange 42 may have a greater depth than that of second connecting flange 43.

Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 may be integrally formed as one piece (e.g. by injection molding or extrusion, for example) and installed in building wall 15. In other embodiments, various components of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 described herein are formed as separate pieces which are installed and assembled in building wall 15. Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 may be made of rigid or semi-rigid materials, such as, by way of non-limiting example, metal, plastic, etc.

Interior wall layers of building wall 15 (e.g. sheathing layer 14 and/or other interior wall layers) may be constructed prior to installation of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10. Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10, ventable material 11 and/or furring strips, and siding panels 12, 13 can then be installed in building wall 15.

To install inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 in building wall 15, base 16 of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 is mounted to sheathing layer 14 (e.g. by projection of suitable fasteners (through apertures 17 or otherwise) through base 16 an into sheathing layer 14). Elements used to create interstitial space 18 may be mounted to wall 15 before and/or after apparatus 10 is mounted. For example, where interstitial space 18 is formed by furring strip spacers, such furring strip spacers (not shown) may be mounted to sheathing 14 at suitably horizontally spaced apart locations. Apparatus 10 may be mounted to sheathing 14 before or after such furring strips, such that apparatus 10 is located between the vertically extending and horizontally spaced-apart furring strips. Where interstitial space 18 contains ventable material 11, such ventable material 11 may be applied to sheathing layer 14. Ventable material 11 may be applied after apparatus 10, so as to extend downwardly past an upper edge of base 16 at a location exterior to base 16. In the illustrated embodiment, ventable material 11 extends downwardly past an upper edge of base 16 to approach and/or abut against apertured portion 30 of upper venting component 26, although this is not necessary.

Apparatus 10 may be mounted at suitable locations along the vertical extent of wall 15 to increase air flow through (i.e. improve the venting of) interstitial space 18. For example, where building wall 15 has venting openings to interstitial space 18 at its top (e.g. near the soffit) and bottom (e.g. near the foundation), then apparatus 10 may be installed at regular intervals (e.g. midway) between these venting openings (i.e. at location(s) spaced apart from both the bottom and the top openings). In some embodiments, apparatus 10 may be installed between stories of the building. In some embodiments, a plurality of apparatus 10 may be installed in wall 15 at locations vertically spaced apart from one another.

After apparatus 10 is mounted, siding may be mounted to wall 15 in the conventional manner to provide interstitial space 18 above and below apparatus 10. Upper siding panel 13 (which actually represents the lowermost siding panel in wall 15 that is located above apparatus 10) may be installed to engage lip 32 and to abut against outer portion 31 of upper venting component 26, as discussed above. Lower siding panel 13 (which actually represents the uppermost siding panel in wall 15 that is located below apparatus 10) may be installed to abut against an exterior surface of flange 43 as described above. In some embodiments, it may be necessary to cut siding panels 12, 13 (or other siding panels in wall 15) to accommodate apparatus 10.

In embodiments where base 16, venting components 26, 34 and hood 20 of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 are formed as separate pieces, the pieces are installed in building wall 15 in stages. For example, in one embodiment, the method of installation comprises the following steps. Base 16 is mounted to sheathing layer 14. Ventable material 11 may be applied to sheathing layer 14 above and below base 16. Upper venting component 26 is mounted to sheathing layer 14 and connected to base 16. Lower venting component 34 is mounted to sheathing layer 14. Hood 20 is installed by connecting spacer portion 21 of hood 20 to base 16, and protective portion 22 of hood 20 to lower venting flange 34.

Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 may be formed in discrete lengths. A plurality of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 may be connected together lengthwise to form a ventilation strip extending along a length (e.g. a horizontal length) of building wall 15.

FIG. 4 illustrates a coupler 50 for connecting adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 to each other. Coupler 50 has a portion 52 with an inverted J-shaped cross-section, which may be referenced as J-shaped portion 52. As shown in FIG. 4, J-shaped portion 52 comprises a generally vertical base component 79, an outwardly extending component 78 which extends outwardly from base component 79, and a component 77 which extends downwardly from component 78. Coupler 50 also has a portion 54 with an inverted L-shaped cross-section, which may be referenced as L-shaped portion 54. L-shaped portion 54 comprises a component 81 which extends outwardly from base component 79 of J-shaped portion 52 and optionally downwardly (e.g. to match the orientation of spacer portion 21 of hood 20). L-shaped portion 54 also comprises a component 80 extending downwardly and optionally outwardly from component 81 (e.g. to match the orientation of protective portion 22 of hood 20). L-shaped portion 54 may have a U-shaped end portion 57 at a lower edge of component 80 for receiving drip edges 24 of adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10.

Coupler 50 may be used to couple horizontally adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B to each other as shown in FIG. 5. Each side 52A, 52B of J-shaped portion 52 is respectively slid into a space 53 (FIG. 2) between base 16 and an upper venting component 26 of a corresponding one of adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B. Component 77 of J-shaped portion 52 may abut against an interior face of outer portion 31 of upper venting component 26. Component 78 of J-shaped portion 52 may abut against an underside of apertured portion 30 of upper venting component 26. Component 79 of J-shaped portion 52 may abut against an exterior face of base 16. Meanwhile, each side 54A, 54B of L-shaped portion 54 is respectively slid onto a hood 20 of a corresponding one of adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B. Component 81 of L-shaped portion 54 may abut against an upper surface of spacer portion 21 of hood 20. Component 80 of L-shaped portion 54 may abut against an exterior surface of protective portion 22 of hood 20. In embodiments where inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 includes drip edge 24, U-shaped end portion 57 of coupler 50 may receive drip edges 24 of adjacent inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B.

Coupler 50 may have a divider 55 which divides portion 52 into symmetrical sides 52A, 52B. Ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B may be mounted to opposing sides 52A, 52B of coupler 50 and slid toward one another until adjacent edges of inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B abut against divider 55. It is not necessary that adjacent inter-panel apparatus 10A, 10B approach and/or abut against divider 55, provided that apparatus 10A, 10B extend on coupler 50 to interact with J-shaped portion 52 and L-shaped portion 54 as described above.

As best seen in FIG. 4B, upper and lower portions 46, 47 of divider 55 may extend above and below coupler 50 respectively. Coupler 50 may have a lower vent connection member 56 extending transversely from each opposing side of lower portion 47 of divider 55 for engaging with an upper surface of lower venting components 34 of adjacent ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B.

The above-described coupling between adjacent ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B and coupler 50 may involve deformation of one or more components of ventilation apparatus 10A, 10B and/or coupler 50, such that deformative restoration forces tend to increase the strength and/or friction of joints made between abutting surfaces.

When mounted in a building wall 15, inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 provides ventilation of interstitial space 18 and drainage of moisture from interstitial space 18. Air flow into and out of interstitial space 18 can carry moisture away from within wall 15. Apparatus 10 provides ventilation to interstitial space 18 above apparatus 10 via apertures 27 and provides ventilation to interstitial space 18 below apparatus 10 via apertures 37. Where building wall 15 already has apertures providing ventilation to interstitial space 18 (e.g. at the top of wall 15 adjacent a soffit and/or at the bottom of wall 15 adjacent the foundation), apparatus 10 provides improved ventilation by decreasing the space between such apertures. Apparatus 10 may be used in conjunction with ventilation apparatus above and/or below windows and other building openings to provide venting to interstitial space 18. In particular, apparatus 10 may be used in conjunction with the building opening moisture management systems disclosed in co-owned U.S. application Ser. No. 11/846,487 which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

In building walls where interstitial space 18 is provided by furring strips, air ventilation provided by apparatus 10 may be limited (for the most part) to columns defined between horizontally spaced-apart pairs of furring strips. On the other hand, where interstitial space 18 is provided by ventable material 11, air is free to travel both horizontally and vertically within interstitial space 18. Apparatus 10 may be installed in building wall 15 in horizontal rows 23 at vertically-spaced apart locations from one another, to permit venting in the interior of wall 15. Such rows 23 may be located between stories of the building.

After installation, inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 is mostly obscured from view, apart from hood 20 which extends outwardly and downwardly from between rows of siding. Hood 20 diverts water received on spacer portion 21 toward exterior 102 of wall 15. The water may come from rain collecting on spacer portion 21 or from moisture or condensation in interstitial space 18 which has drained through apertures 27 of apertured portion 30. Hood 20 also provides a weather shield for apertures 37 of lower venting component 34 and for an inter-siding space below spacer portion 21 of hood 20. Hood 20 may be an aesthetically pleasing part of building wall 15 by providing the appearance of a trim between siding panels 12, 13.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show an upper ventilation apparatus 60 which may be installed above an uppermost siding panel 62 adjoining a soffit edge 75 (as seen in FIG. 7), balcony, window or other building structure which extends outwardly from wall 15. Upper ventilation apparatus 60 has a base 64 mountable to an interior face of uppermost siding panel 62. Base 64 may comprise a plurality of apertures through which suitable fasteners may extend to mount apparatus 60 to siding panel 62. In some embodiments, these apertures are not required as suitable fasteners may project directly through base 64. Uppermost siding panel 62 may abut against an exterior of base 64 as shown in FIG. 7. Extending upwardly from base 64 is an upper venting portion 65, which is penetrated by a plurality of apertures 67 allowing air to enter and exit interstitial space 18 (e.g. interstitial space 18 below ventilation apparatus 60 between uppermost siding panel 62 and sheathing layer 14).

Projecting outwardly and downwardly from upper venting portion 65 is a hood 70. Hood 70 may comprise a spacer portion 71, a protective portion 72 and a drip edge 74 which may have features substantially similar to the features of spacer portion 21, protective portion 22 and drip edge 24 described above.

Hood 70 carries away water received on spacer portion 71 or protective portion 72 outwardly and downwardly to exterior 102. Hood 70 also provides a weather shield to apertures 67 of upper venting portion 65 and to the space below spacer portion 71 of hood 70.

Upper venting apparatus 60 may have a flange 76 projecting outwardly from base 64 for engagement with an upper edge of siding panel 62.

A plurality of horizontally adjacent upper ventilation apparatus 60 may be connected together lengthwise using suitable couplers to form a ventilation trim installable above a row of uppermost siding panels extending along a horizontal length of building wall 15. Such couplers maybe similar to coupler 50 described above and/or coupler 150 described below. In operation, each such coupler may be used to connect a pair of horizontally adjacent upper ventilation apparatus 60. As with the connection between adjacent ventilation apparatus 10 and coupler 50, the coupling between adjacent upper ventilation apparatus 60 and such a coupler may involve deformation of one or more components of apparatus 600 and/or the, such that deformative restoration forces tend to increase the strength and/or friction of joints made between abutting surfaces.

FIGS. 8A, 8B and 9 show various views of a ventilation apparatus 110 according to another embodiment of the invention and a coupler 150 for connecting a horizontally adjacent pair of ventilation apparatus 110. Many features of ventilation apparatus 110 and coupler 150 are similar to those of ventilation apparatus 10 and coupler 50 described above. Such features of ventilation apparatus 110 and coupler 150 are shown with reference numerals similar to those of ventilation apparatus 10 and coupler 50, except that features of ventilation apparatus 110 and coupler 150 are preceded with the digit “1”.

In the illustrated embodiment, ventilation apparatus 110 comprises a base 116 (including apertures 117) and a hood 120 (including spacer portion 121, protective portion 122 and drip edge 124) which are substantially similar to, and function in a manner substantially similar to, corresponding features of ventilation apparatus 10. Apertured upper venting component 126 and apertured lower venting component 134 of ventilation apparatus 110 differ from venting components 26, 34 of ventilation apparatus 10.

In ventilation apparatus 110, apertured upper venting component 126 comprises an upper apertured portion 130 having apertures 127. As shown in FIG. 8B, apertures 127 have different shapes and configurations than apertures 27 of ventilation apparatus 10. Apertured upper venting component 126 also comprises an outer portion 131 which extends downwardly from an outer edge of upper apertured portion 130. In the illustrated embodiments, outer portion 131 extends downwardly to a lesser degree than outer portion 31 of ventilation apparatus 10. Upper venting component 126 does not have a lip similar to lip 32 of ventilation apparatus 10.

In operation, upper venting component 126 may function in a manner similar to upper venting component 26 to provide ventilation to interstitial space 18 above apparatus 110. More particularly, outer portion 131 may receive a lower portion 12A of upper siding panel 12 (e.g. in an abutting relationship) to provide a space for air flow between exterior 102 of wall 15 and interstitial space 18 through apertures 127 in upper apertured portion 130.

In ventilation apparatus 110, apertured lower venting component 134 comprises a generally vertically extending lower apertured portion 135 which is oriented differently than the outwardly extending lower apertured portion 35 of ventilation apparatus 10. Lower apertured portion 135 comprises a plurality of apertures 137 on its upper segment 135A but, in the illustrated embodiment, is not apertured on its lower segment 135B. In some embodiments, both upper and lower segments 135A, 135B may be provided with apertures 137. In the illustrated embodiment, apertured lower venting component 134 also comprises a ledge flange 139 which extends outwardly from lower apertured portion 135.

In operation, lower venting component 134 may function in a manner similar to lower venting component 34 to provide ventilation to interstitial space 18 below apparatus 110. More particularly, lower apertured portion 135 may receive an upper portion 13A of lower siding panel 13 (e.g. in an abutting relationship) to provide a space for air flow between exterior 102 of wall 15 and interstitial space 18 through apertures 137 in lower apertured portion 135. In some embodiments, upper portion 13A of lower siding panel 13 may be received in abutting relation on an exterior surface of lower segment 135B and may approach and/or abut against ledge flange 139. Ledge flange 139 may prevent lower siding panel 13 from extending so far upwardly as to restrict air flow through apertures 137.

In other respects, ventilation apparatus 110 may be similar to ventilation apparatus 10 described above.

In the illustrated embodiment, coupler 150 comprises: a L-shaped portion 154 (including outwardly extending component 181, downwardly and optionally outwardly extending component 180) and a U-shaped end portion 157, which are similar in many respects to, and function in a manner similar to, corresponding components of coupler 50, except that the components of coupler 150 have smaller transverse dimensions than the corresponding components of coupler 50. Coupler 150 also comprises a divider 155 which, in a manner similar to divider 55 of coupler 50, divides coupler 150 into symmetrical halves.

Coupler 150 differs from coupler 50 in that rather than having a J-shaped portion 52 like coupler 50, coupler 150 instead has a second L-shaped portion 152. Second L-shaped portion 152 comprises a generally vertically extending base component 179 and an outwardly extending component 178 which extends outwardly from a upper portion base component 179. Coupler 150 also comprises a generally vertically oriented connection member 156 which replaces connection member 56 of coupler 50.

In operation, coupler 150 is used in a similar manner to coupler 50 to connect horizontally adjacent ventilation apparatus 110. As with the connection between adjacent ventilation apparatus 10 and coupler 50, the coupling between adjacent ventilation apparatus 110 and coupler 150 may involve deformation of one or more components of apparatus 110 and/or coupler 150, such that deformative restoration forces tend to increase the strength and/or friction of joints made between abutting surfaces.

In the illustrated embodiment, L-shaped portion 54 slides onto hood 120, such that component 181 of L-shaped portion 154 abuts against an upper surface of spacer portion 21 and component 180 of L-shaped portion 154 abuts against protective portion 22. Second L-shaped portion 152 may slide into space 153 (FIG. 8B) between base 116 and upper venting component 126, such that component 178 of second L-shaped portion 152 abuts against an underside of apertured portion 130 and component 179 of second L-shaped portion 152 abuts against an exterior face of base 116. In embodiments where ventilation apparatus 110 includes drip edge 124, U-shaped end portion 157 of coupler 150 may receive drip edge 124 of adjacent ventilation apparatus 110.

As with the operation of coupler 50 described above, adjacent edges of ventilation apparatus 110 may approach and/or abut against divider 155. In the illustrated embodiment, connection member 156 extends transversely from either side of divider 155 for engaging with lower apertured portion 135. In some embodiments, an inward side of connection member 156 abuts against an outward side of upper segment 135A of lower apertured portion 135 and a lower edge of connection member 156 may abut against an upper surface of ledge flange 139. In other embodiments, an outward side of connection member 156 abuts against an inward side of lower apertured portion 135.

While a number of exemplary aspects and embodiments have been discussed above, those of skill in the art will recognize certain modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations thereof. It is therefore intended that the following appended claims and claims hereafter introduced are interpreted to include all such modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations as are within their true spirit and scope. For example:

    • Inter-panel ventilation apparatus 10 may be installed in a building wall 15 between siding panels 12, 13 which are not oriented generally horizontally (e.g. panels 12, 13 may be diagonally oriented, or vertically oriented).