Title:
CORRUGATED SHIELD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the shield is suitable for use in roofing applications. In some embodiments, the invention provides a roofing gutter guard shield including a malleable, corrugated material, the corrugated material including a plurality of openings through which liquid can pass and which openings substantially inhibit passage of roofing debris, the shield having opposed first and second sides with the first side for placement adjacent a roof and the second side for placement adjacent to a gutter, wherein corrugations in the corrugated material extend laterally across the shield between the first and second sides.



Inventors:
Nikolopoulos, John (Eltham, AU)
Application Number:
12/388578
Publication Date:
12/10/2009
Filing Date:
02/19/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/068
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PAINTER, BRANON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAULEY ERICKSON & KOTTIS (HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the shield is suitable for use in roofing applications.

2. The shield of claim 1, wherein corrugations in the corrugated material are arranged to allow the material to be moulded to closely fit a surface which contacts the material and thereby prevent rain water from entering between the shield and the surface.

3. The shield of claim 2, wherein the material is a fire-rated material.

4. The shield of claim 3, wherein the fire-rated material is a metal or alloy.

5. The shield of claim 4, wherein the metal is aluminium.

6. A shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the material includes a plurality of openings through which liquid may pass and which openings substantially inhibit the passage of leaves, twigs and the like.

7. The shield of claim 6, wherein corrugations in the corrugated material are arranged to allow the material to be moulded to closely fit a surface which contacts the material and thereby prevent leaves, twigs and the like from entering between the shield and the surface.

8. The shield of claim 7, wherein the shield is an elongate member suitable for use as a gutter guard.

9. The shield of claim 8, wherein the shield has a first side for attachment to a roof and a second side for attachment to a rain gutter and wherein the corrugations in the corrugated material are arranged laterally across the shield between the first and second sides.

10. The shield of claim 8, wherein the material is a fire-rated material.

11. The shield of claim 10, wherein the fire-rated material is a metal or alloy.

12. The shield of claim 11, wherein the metal is aluminium.

13. The shield of claim 8, wherein the openings are substantially round and have a diameter of 4 to 20 mm.

14. A gutter guard system including: i) a shield according to claim 9; and ii) a first attachment means to affix the first side to an outer surface of a roof, whereby affixing of the gutter guard to the roof inhibits water, leaves, twigs and the like from penetrating under the gutter guard; and iii) a second attachment means to affix the second side to a rain gutter.

15. The gutter guard system of claim 14, wherein the first and second attachment means are selected independently from the group consisting of: double sided tape, adhesive, clips, staples, screws, nails and roofing screws.

16. A roofing gutter guard shield comprising: a malleable, corrugated material, the corrugated material including a plurality of openings through which liquid can pass and which openings substantially inhibit passage of roofing debris, the shield having opposed first and second sides with the first side for placement adjacent a roof and the second side for placement adjacent to a gutter, wherein corrugations in the corrugated material extend laterally across the shield between the first and second sides.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to shields to exclude debris from water, and in particular, relates to a shield which is sufficiently malleable to allow it to be moulded to follow the profile of a surface to which the shield is attached. In certain embodiments, the shield is a gutter guard. In other embodiments, the shield may be a flashing or a ridge-cap.

2. Discussion of Related Art

The exclusion of rain water from buildings has been effected by rooves on buildings and the use of roofing materials to direct the water away from the roof, generally towards a rain gutter connected to a down pipe which then directs the water away from the building. Rooves are generally not a single surface and there are joints in the roofing materials. Any joints in the roofing material may allow the entry of water and so flashing and ridge-capping have been used to cover joints and direct water away from possible points of entry to the roof. Unfortunately, water is not the only thing that falls on a roof and the collection of leaves, twigs and the like (debris) in rain gutters has a number of adverse results. Firstly, the debris may clog gutters and/or downpipes such that water can overflow and possibly damage the building. Secondly, the debris may collect in the gutter and cause corrosion of the gutter. Thirdly, the debris may be combustible and cause a fire hazard, especially in fire-prone areas. Fourthly, the debris may contaminate rain water destined for collection in, for example, domestic rainwater tanks. Accordingly, preventing the entry of leaves, twigs and other debris into gutters is very important.

There have been numerous attempts to provide guard screens for rain gutters which not only prevent the entry of leaves, twigs and other debris into gutters but also allow water to enter the gutter. Typically, these guards consist of an elongated grill piece held in place over a gutter by clips which connect the grill to the gutter. While tending to keep some debris out of the gutter, the clipped-on grills can become clogged, warp and/or become disconnected or otherwise non-functional.

Some improvements have been developed in which longitudinal fasteners have been added to the guard in order to improve its attachment to the gutter. Such fasteners conventionally include a front ridge which interconnects with the front lip of a gutter and a back ridge for fastening to the back flange of a gutter or to the fascia board of an eave.

However, the various attachment methods and guard constructions can result in other problems, such as water remaining against parts of the building and thereby causing water damage, especially to the wooden parts of the building.

Accordingly, prior guards and their modifications have failed to eliminate the problems commonly associated with known guard screens for gutters.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the shield is suitable for use in roofing applications. In some forms of the invention corrugations in the corrugated material are arranged laterally across the material and allow the material to be moulded to closely fit a surface which contacts the material. Such forms of the invention may find application as flashing or ridge-capping. In certain forms of the invention the flashing or ridge-capping is constructed from a fire-rated material, wherein the fire-rated material may be a metal or alloy; in particular it may be aluminium.

The present invention also provides a shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the material includes a plurality of openings through which liquid may substantially. pass and which openings substantially inhibit the passage of leaves, twigs and the like. In some forms of the invention corrugations in the corrugated material are arranged laterally across the material and allow the material to be moulded to closely fit a surface which contacts the material and thereby substantially prevent leaves, twigs and the like from entering between the shield and the surface.

In some forms of the invention the shield is an elongate member suitable for use as a gutter guard. In certain forms of the invention the gutter guard can be constructed from a fire-rated material, wherein the fire-rated material may be a metal or a blend of materials or metals; in particular it may be aluminium. In some forms of the present invention, the openings in the gutter guard through which liquid may pass may be substantially round and have a diameter of 4 to 20 mm. In other forms of the present invention the openings may be substantially oblong or elliptical. In yet further forms of the present invention, the openings may be a mix of different configurations and/or diameters, lengths or other dimensions.

The present invention further provides a gutter guard system including a gutter guard according to the present invention and a first attachment means to affix the first side to an outer surface of a roof, whereby affixing of the gutter guard to the roof substantially inhibits water, leaves, twigs and the like from penetrating under the gutter guard; and a second attachment means to affix the second side to a rain gutter or a further portion of roof, depending on the specific application. In various forms of the invention, the first and second attachment means are independently selected from the group consisting of: double sided tape, adhesive, clips, staples, screws, nails and roofing screws.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a cross-section through a roof and gutter showing the positioning of an exemplary gutter guard embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows, in panel A, a plan view of a portion of an exemplary gutter guard embodiment of the present invention, illustrating an example of how the openings may be arranged. Panel B shows a typical cross-section through the gutter guard embodiment illustrated in panel A.

FIG. 3 shows a view of a bull-nose veranda and illustrates where ridge-capping and flashing embodiments of the present invention may be used.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a shield which is suitable for use in various liquid-excluding applications including, but not limited to, roofing applications, wherein the shield is constructed from a malleable, corrugated material. The corrugations and malleability of the material allow the shield to be moulded to follow a profile of roofing material against which the shield is to be used. Such a shield may find application in a large number of situations, including, but not limited to, flashing and ridge-capping.

In particular, the malleability of the corrugated material allows a user to mould the material to the shape of a surface, without the material being damaged during the course of moulding. The corrugations provide sufficient material so that virtually any surface contour may be followed without the need to stretch the material, which action would otherwise weaken the material. Previous methods of moulding shields in roofing applications has required significant force being applied to the material, thereby weakening it and potentially reducing its thickness. The present invention provides a solution to this problem and the material maintains its integrity during installation.

The present invention also provides a shield constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the material also includes a plurality of openings through which liquid may substantially pass and which openings inhibit the passage unwanted solid matter. Such a shield may find application in a large number of situations, including, but not limited to, drains, sinks, gully traps, urinals and rain gutters. In each of these applications the shield is intended to allow the substantial passage of liquid through the shield but inhibit the passage of solid matter, such as leaves, twigs and other debris, including food scraps, cigarette butts and other rubbish into a rain or liquid-receiving means situated thereunder. Accordingly, as used herein, a rain or liquid-receiving means includes, but is not limited to, drains, sinks, gully traps, urinals and rain gutters.

In certain embodiments, the present invention provides a substantially round shield capable of use in inhibiting debris from entering drains, sinks and/or gully traps.

In further embodiments, the present invention provides an elongate shield capable of use as a gutter guard. In this embodiment, the gutter guard may be used to form a barrier over a rain gutter to inhibit the entry of leaves, twigs and other debris into the gutter. A non-limiting example of a gutter guard embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 1, the gutter guard 1 may be attached to a roof 2 along a first side 3 and to the gutter 4 along a second side 5. The gutter guard of the present invention is constructed from a malleable, corrugated material, wherein the material includes a plurality of openings through which liquid may substantially pass (passage designated by R) and which openings inhibit the passage of leaves, twigs and other debris (path designated by D).

In further embodiments of the present invention it is envisaged that the gutter guard may be used between two adjacent portions of a roof, between which is a gutter or channel. Accordingly, in such embodiments the gutter guard will contact roof on both sides, rather than roof on the first side and gutter on the second side.

The corrugations in the corrugated material may be arranged such that the valleys (and crests) of the corrugations extend substantially laterally across the material between the first and second sides and, combined with the malleability of the material, allow the material to be moulded to follow a profile of roofing material to facilitate attachment of the gutter guard to the roof. In certain embodiments of the present invention, the corrugations are substantially parallel with the pitch (angle) of the roof, when in use.

It is envisaged that the pitch (the distance between adjacent crests) of the corrugations of a shield according to the present invention will be smaller than that of regular corrugated roofing materials. Typically, corrugated roofing metals have a pitch in the order of 3 inches, or 76 mm. Accordingly, the pitch of the corrugated material of the present invention will be less than 76 mm. In certain embodiments of the present invention the pitch will be less than 25 mm. In further embodiments of the present invention the pitch will be in the order of 6 to 12 mm, for example about 8 mm.

The goal of any structure is to achieve safety for its occupants as defined and regulated by various building codes. For example, buildings must be constructed in such a way that they resist fire long enough for occupants to escape. In particular, the building must remain structurally sound. The degree to which a building product maintains its structural integrity or resists combustion or burning is referred to as its “fire-rating”. Often, wood products are treated with fire retardants to achieve various ratings. Because large timbers and beams char during a fire (which slows the burning process) they maintain their structural integrity long enough to achieve a satisfactory fire-rating. Steel components may also have their fire-rating improved by the application of fire retardant materials which act to protect the steel from heating up too quickly in a fire.

In fire prone areas, gutter guards are used to prevent the collection of combustible debris in gutters in order to reduce the likelihood of a fire starting in the gutter. Ideally, a gutter guard should be constructed of a non-combustible or fire-rated material. Accordingly, in certain forms of the present invention, the gutter guard may be constructed from a fire-rated material. The fire-rated material may be selected from, but not limited to, steel or aluminium. Considerations of combustibility and fire-rating of the material are also relevant for applications where the corrugated material does not have openings for allowing liquid to pass through. As noted above, such applications include use as flashing and as ridge-capping.

In order to allow entry of liquid into the gutter, the gutter guard requires openings. Previously available gutter guards have generally used a mesh with small openings of generally square to rectangular shape wherein the openings have side lengths in the order of 2 to 4 mm. Small openings such as these, while inhibiting entry of leaves and the like, allow surface tension to form and thereby form a partial barrier which prevents some water from passing through the mesh, especially in applications where there is little slope of the roof. As noted above, collection of water is an important consideration for many people and maximizing flow of water through the gutter guard is therefore desirable. Accordingly, the present invention provides a gutter guard having openings which resist the formation of surface tension. In certain forms of the invention the openings are larger than a drop of water. Water drops may be substantially spherical and usually at least 50 microlitres in volume. Using the formula for calculating the volume of a sphere, it is possible to determine that a sphere having a volume of 50 microlitres (ie 50 mm3) has a diameter of approximately 5 mm. Accordingly, the openings should be at least about 5 mm in diameter. The upper size of the openings is largely determined by the size of the leaves, twigs and debris which are to be excluded from the gutter. Accordingly, in certain forms of the invention the openings may be substantially round and have a diameter of 4 to 20 mm. For example, the openings may have a diameter of about 6 mm. It should be noted that the openings will not prevent the entry of all debris, it is envisaged that small pieces of debris that pass through the shield will be sufficiently small that they not collect in the rain or liquid-receiving means under the shield, and will be flushed away with the water that passes through the shield.

In order to ensure that most water is able to pass through an opening, rather than pass over it, the opening should cover at least a part of the valley of the corrugations. Accordingly, in certain embodiments of the present invention, the openings may be centred on the valleys. In some embodiments of the present invention the openings may be arranged in a regular pattern over the gutter guard. For example, FIG. 2 shows an exemplary regular arrangement of openings 21 on a portion of a gutter guard 22 according to the present invention, where the valleys of the corrugations are indicated by lines 23. Alternatively, the openings may be arranged in an irregular pattern and/or be of varying sizes.

It is envisaged that the gutter guard of the present invention may be provided in lengths and widths suitable for use in roofing applications. For example, the gutter guard may be provided in lengths of at least 2 m, at least 5 m or at least 10 m. The gutter guard may also be provided in a variety of widths to suit various roof and gutter combinations. The width of the material may be selected to at least cover the gutter, drain or other rain or liquid-receiving means, when in use, for example, the gutter guard may be provided in widths of at least 100 mm, at least 150 mm, at least 200 mm, at least 300 mm, at least 400 mm, at least 500 mm, at least 600 mm, or at least 700 mm. It is further envisaged that the material may be trimmed by any suitable cutting means known in the art so that the material may be fitted to any particular roof and gutter combination.

The gutter guard may also be provided in a roll to simplify transport and handling of the gutter guard. In particular, the malleability of the material and the corrugations may act together to allow the gutter guard to be rolled. The rolls may be of any desired length or width. The length of gutter guard in a roll may be determined by the ease of handling the roll and/or the weight of the roll. For example, the gutter guard may be provided in a roll of at least 2 m, at least 5 m or at least 10 m. As noted above, the gutter guard may be provided in a variety of widths to suit various roof and gutter combinations. The width of the material may be selected to at least cover the gutter, drain or other rain or liquid-receiving means, when in use, for example, the gutter guard may be provided in widths of at least 100 mm, at least 150 mm, at least 200 mm, at least 300 mm, at least 400 mm, at least 500 mm, at least 600 mm, or at least 700 mm. It is further envisaged that the material may be trimmed by any suitable cutting means known in the art so that the material may be fitted to any particular roof and gutter combination.

The present invention also provides a gutter guard system which includes: i) a gutter guard as described above; and ii) a first attachment means to affix the first side of the gutter guard to an outer surface of a roof, whereby affixing of the gutter guard to the roof inhibits water, leaves, twigs and the like from penetrating under the gutter guard; and iii) a second attachment means to affix the second side of the gutter guard to a rain gutter or a further portion of roof, depending on the specific application. In certain embodiments, the first and second attachment means may be independently selected from the group consisting of: double sided tape, adhesive, clips, staples, screws, nails and roofing screws. In embodiments employing attachment means such as screws, nails and the like, it is envisaged that the gutter guard may be provided with suitable holes to permit fixing to the roof and/or gutter via such attachment means and thereby prevent damage to the gutter guard during installation.

Positioning of the gutter guard relative to the gutter and neighbouring roof is important to provide substantial exclusion of debris while permitting entry of water into the gutter. Previous gutter guards have required insertion of one side of the gutter guard under the roofing material so that water and debris will flow down the slope of the roof and onto the top of the gutter guard. While this is a desirable situation for many gutter guards, it poses particular difficulties with fitting the guard to an existing roof. In particular, it is difficult to add such guards to corrugated iron rooves without disturbing the roofing material. In certain forms of the present invention, the gutter guard may be attached to an outer surface of the roof using an adhesive, for example, but not limited to, a double sided tape. The malleability of the gutter guard allows it to be bent to follow the profile of the roof and therefore attachment using a double sided tape may form a water-tight connection of a first side of the gutter guard to the roof. Along a second side of the gutter guard, a similar adhesive may be used to attach the gutter guard to the outer edge of the gutter or a further portion of roof, depending on the specific application. It is also envisaged that various fasteners may be used to attach the gutter guard to the outer edge of the gutter, for example, but not limited to, screws or clips.

In some embodiments of the present invention the gutter guard may be attached to the roof and/or the gutter using an adhesive or adhesive tape such as, but not limited to, a butyl tape. Use of a butyl-type adhesive tape allows application of the adhesive to many types of surface without the adhesive damaging the roof or gutter materials. Surfaces to which these butyl adhesives will bond include, but are not limited to: Galvalume, ZINCALUME, galvanized metal, aluminium, siliconized polyester and polyvinyl fluoride painted metals, glass, wood, concrete, fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) and similar substrates. These adhesives are also commonly used in roofing applications because of their strong bonding properties and resistance to the extreme conditions (temperature, UV, water) encountered on the rooves of buildings. In certain embodiments the tape may be a double sided tape which requires application to both the gutter guard and the roof and/or gutter. In other embodiments, the gutter guard may be provided with the tape affixed to either or both sides to facilitate application to the roof and/or gutter.

While the above describes the attachment of the gutter guard to an outer surface of a roof, which is suitable for fitting to an existing roof, the roof side of the gutter guard may also be attached in a more convention manner, underneath the roofing material. In such a situation the gutter guard may be attached to the roof using conventional means, such as, but not limited to, staples, screws, nails and roofing screws. Alternatively, the gutter guard may be inserted underneath the roofing material such that no, or limited, fixation is required on the roof side and the fixing of the gutter guard to the gutter may be sufficient to hold the gutter guard in place. In applications requiring such attachment, attachment to the gutter may be as described above.

It is envisaged that the gutter guard and gutter guard system of the present invention may be used to cover rain or liquid-receiving means other than fascia-mounted gutters. For example, gutters in the valleys of rooves, wherein the gutter guard contacts roofing material along both its first and second sides. Suitable fixing means have been described above for use in such applications.

Further applications of the corrugated material which lacks openings to allow liquid passage have been discussed above, namely as flashing and/or ridge-capping. The corrugations of the material allow the material to be bent to follow the contours of the building components which contact the flashing and/or ridge-capping and thereby allow the formation of water-tight joints. For example, ridge-capping for use on a bull-nose veranda is notoriously difficult to obtain and use. Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the present invention provides a simple and elegant solution to joining corners of a bull-nose veranda 31. The Figure shows a bull-nose veranda 31 contacting a wall 32 at several places. Ridge-capping 33 (R-C) and flashing 34 (Fl) are illustrated as being used where rain water could otherwise pass through the veranda roofing or between the veranda roof and the building. In many situations flashing and/or ridge-capping is required where the surfaces which contact the flashing and/or ridge-capping are not of a regular shape. The corrugations of the products of the present invention allow the products to adapt neatly to those irregular surfaces to form close sealing joints. As noted above various means of affixing the products to the neighbouring surfaces are available and these are equally applicable to the flashing and/or ridge-capping applications as the gutter guard applications.

Australian Provisional Application No, 2008900798, the priority document corresponding to this invention, and its teachings are incorporated, by reference, into this specification.