Title:
Gate Post Stiffener
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gate post stiffener being formed in the shape of a C. The C-shaped stiffener may extend the entire length of the gate post. The open side allows for easy insertion of rails. The C-shape provides two consecutive sides for the attachment of two-sided hardware, providing a strong connection between the post, the C-shaped gate post stiffener, and hardware, which is critical to the integrity of the post.



Inventors:
Timothy, Erik E. (Apollo Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/365628
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
02/04/2009
Assignee:
NATIONWIDE INDUSTRIES, INC. (Tampa, FL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/220.1, 248/205.1
International Classes:
E04H17/20; A47B96/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050035341Fence post, fence assembly, and method of fabricating the sameFebruary, 2005Montgomery
20080116436FLEXIBLE COMPOSITE STRUCTUREMay, 2008Chun-hsia
20060192190MODULAR VINYL FENCE SYSTEMAugust, 2006Brucker
20090070931Portable bed guard for infantsMarch, 2009Dicristofaro
20100044662SELF-RAKING FENCE PANEL AND RAIL, KIT OF PARTS, AND METHOD OF ASSEMBLY AND INSTALLATIONFebruary, 2010Walmsley
20040016915Architectural and protective roof for fencesJanuary, 2004Wood
20080006807Anchored safety barrierJanuary, 2008Coffey
20080290333RETRACTABLE POST SYSTEMNovember, 2008Parenti et al.
20020167000Protective covering for board fencingNovember, 2002Mckay et al.
20030218162Fence spoolNovember, 2003Tackett et al.
20070063178GUARDRAIL FLANGE PROTECTORMarch, 2007Alberson et al.



Primary Examiner:
MACARTHUR, VICTOR L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reinforcing component for a plastic hollow gate post having hardware thereon and connected to rails comprising: a longitudinally extending body having a cross-section in the shape of a C having one open side and three closed sides in adjacent alignment, whereby the body is sized to fit tightly within the gate post, whereby the open side of the C-shaped body allows for rails to be inserted therein, and whereby the three closed sides provide attachment for hardware to two adjacent sides.

2. The reinforcing component of claim 1 wherein the C-shaped body is fabricated of galvanized metal.

3. The reinforcing component of claim 1 wherein the galvanized metal comprises steel.

4. The reinforcing component of claim 1 wherein the C-shaped body is fabricated by bending and rolling a piece of metal.

5. A hollow gate post for connection to rails comprising: hollow, elongated vertical post body of square or rectangular cross-section fabricated in one piece of plastic material; reinforcement component disposed in the elongated post body along the entire length, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a longitudinally extending body having a cross-section in the shape of a C having one open side and three closed sides in adjacent alignment, whereby the reinforcement member body is sized to fit tightly within the hollow gate post, whereby the open side of the C-shaped body allows for rails to be inserted therein, and whereby the three closed sides provide attachment for hardware to two adjacent sides; and hardware attached to the exterior of the hollow post and through to the reinforcement component.

6. The hollow gate post of claim 5 wherein the hardware comprises a bracket comprising two projecting sections formed at approximately 90 degrees to one another to attach to consecutive sides of the hollow post and the reinforcement component.

7. The hollow gate post of claim 6 whereby the bracket is attached to a corner of the hollow post on two consecutive sides of the post and to a corner of the reinforcement component on two consecutive sides.

8. A fence comprising: a gate; and a stationary fence section, whereby the stationary fence section comprises one or more hollow posts, and whereby at least one of the hollow posts is positioned proximate the gate; whereby the hollow post positioned proximate the gate comprises a hollow, elongated vertical post body of square or rectangular cross-section fabricated in one piece of plastic material, a reinforcement component disposed in the hollow, elongated post body along the entire length, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a longitudinally extending body having a cross-section in the shape of a C having one open side and three closed sides in adjacent alignment, whereby the reinforcement member body is sized to fit tightly within the hollow gate post, whereby the open side of the C-shaped body allows for rails to be inserted therein, and whereby the three closed sides provide attachment for hardware to two adjacent sides; and hardware attached to the exterior of the hollow post and extending through the reinforcement component for attachment to the hollow post and the reinforcement component.

9. The fence of claim 8 wherein the hardware comprises a bracket comprising two projecting sections formed at approximately 90 degrees to one another to attach to consecutive sides of the hollow post and the reinforcement component.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to fences, and more particularly to reinforcement of posts in fences.

Fences are available in a number of designs and materials and are used to provide privacy, restrict entry to a piece of land and/or to provide decorative landscape accents. Wood has long been used as an acceptable material for fences. It is strong, relatively easy to install and aesthetically pleasing. However, wood fences tend to be expensive, prone to decay in moist conditions and require periodic maintenance.

In order to overcome the problems with wood fencing, a number of substitute materials have been proposed, particularly plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), other types of composite materials, and pultruded fiberglass posts. These materials may be used to fabricate hollow posts, as opposed to a solid wood post. PVC is advantageous in that it is easy to manufacture into various shapes using extrusion, molding or other processes. It is cost-effective and durable.

In the manufacture of fences using materials such as PVC, fiberglass, and various other composites, hollow extruded or pultruded pieces are formed in the shape of posts that are essentially hollow, but with walls thick enough to provide the necessary strength and an open center core. In some cases, for greater strength, the core may be filled with concrete, wood or foam-based fillers. The use of wood allows for external hardware to be attached using ordinary screws and bolts. Strengthening the core with foam, wood or concrete creates the difficulty of mounting a rail into the post by blocking the rail to be inserted into an opening in the post. Moreover, since some posts are may be routed at the factory, this can create a problem when using concrete to support the post. The concrete tends to leak out of the opening in the post, when filling the post during assembly. The biggest disadvantage of using concrete is the labor and cost involved in the process.

As an alternative to foam, wood and concrete, aluminum reinforcement inserts have been used to strengthen vinyl fencing. Reference is made to FIGS. 1 and 2, which show a prior art gate post stiffener 10 disposed in a gate post 12. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the shape of the gate post stiffener 10 is in the form of an H having round corners. The H-shaped stiffener 10 having two open ends allows for easy mounting of rails therein. The disadvantage of the H-shaped stiffener 10 is the absence of two consecutive sides for attachment of hardware thereto. Typical gate hardware attaches to two consecutive sides (as shown in FIG. 7). In using the H-shaped stiffener, one side of the hardware attaches to both the H-shaped post stiffener and the vinyl post and the other side attaches to only the vinyl post creating weaknesses in the attachment of the hardware to the post. Moreover, the H-shaped stiffener is fabricated of aluminum, which is becoming increasingly expensive to use. The intricate shape of the H with the cross rib, renders it a difficult shape to manufacture using less costly materials, such as steel.

It is a primary object of the invention to provide a reinforcing component that provides support and strength to vinyl and plastic fence and gate posts. It is another object of the invention to provide a reinforcing component for fence and gate posts that allows for strong attachment between the post and the hardware. It is a further object of the invention to provide a reinforcing component that is easy and cost-effective to manufacture.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other objects and advantages are accomplished by a gate post stiffener being formed in the shape of a C. The C-shaped stiffener may extend the entire length of the gate post. The open side allows for easy insertion of rails. The C-shape provides two consecutive sides for the attachment of two-sided hardware, providing a strong connection between the post, the C-shaped gate post stiffener, and hardware, which is critical to the integrity of the post.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of gate post having a prior art gate post stiffener therein;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the prior art gate post stiffener of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a gate post with the gate post stiffener of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the gate post stiffener of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the gate post stiffener of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the gate post stiffener of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a gate post with a gate post stiffener of the present invention therein and having hardware attached to two exterior sides of the post.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As will be appreciated, the present invention provides a strengthening component for a plastic hollow gate post to make it strong enough to withstand the weight of a gate. The plastic post may be fabricated of any plastic material, including but not limited to, polyvinyl chloride, also known as vinyl in the fence industry.

Reference is made to FIG. 3, which shows a gate stiffener 14 of the present invention disposed in a gate post 16. FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 clearly show the shape of gate post stiffener 14 in the form of a C. Gate post 15 is preferably square or rectangular in cross-section and C-shaped gate post stiffener 14 may be sized to fit rectangular and square post shapes of varying sizes, such as 4-inch and 5-inch posts, typically used in the industry.

Preferably, gate post stiffener 14 extends the length of the gate post to provide strength and support along the entire gate post. As shown in FIG. 3, gate post stiffener 14 fits easily but tightly along the walls of gate post 16. The C-shaped gate post stiffener 14 provides support on two consecutive sides of the post for attachment of hardware thereto as shown in FIG. 7. Screws can be attached to both the post stiffener and the post on two sides, providing a solid attachment to the hardware. The open side of the C-shaped post stiffener allows for easy connection to rails.

The C-shaped post stiffener may be fabricated of any rigid, high-strength, material such as metal, plastic, ceramic or the like. It is important that the material being used to fabricate the C-shaped post stiffener maintains its rigidity and stiffness under stress and is capable of keeping the post from bending under the load of the gate. It is preferable the that the gate post stiffener be fabricated of a metal such as steel or aluminum. It is most preferable that the gate post stiffener be fabricated of galvanized steel, which is economically feasible. Additionally, the simple shape of the C-shaped gate post stiffener allows for easy fabrication with steel, by bending and roll forming, maintaining low manufacturing costs. More complex shapes cannot be easily manufactured with steel, requiring different types of materials or more complex manufacturing steps, increasing labor and manufacturing costs.

In use, post 16 is part of a fence that connects to a gate. FIG. 7 shows post 16 with hardware 18 attached thereto. Post 16 is stationary, but must be strong enough to withstand the repetitive stresses created by the opening and closing of a gate, which may be connected to gate post 16 via a latch mechanism 20 of hardware 18. Hardware 18 includes a bracket 19 that is attached to a corner of post 16 by screws inserted into two adjacent or consecutive sides 24 and 26. Bracket 19 has two projections disposed approximately at a 90 degree angle to fit flush against the corner of a post. The C-shaped gate post stiffener 14 is positioned in gate post 16 such that adjacent sides 28 and 30 of C-shaped post stiffener 14 (as illustrated in FIG. 4) correspond to adjacent sides 24 and 26 of gate post 16. Accordingly, the screws inserted through hardware 18, into post sides 22 and 24 through to sides 28 and 30 of gate post stiffener 14 attach hardware 18 securely to gate post 16. Strength and stability of gate post 15 are successfully achieved by gate post stiffener 14.

While the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, 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 embodiments.