US20080179580A1 - Pocket rail construction - Google Patents

Pocket rail construction Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080179580A1
US20080179580A1 US11699593 US69959307A US2008179580A1 US 20080179580 A1 US20080179580 A1 US 20080179580A1 US 11699593 US11699593 US 11699593 US 69959307 A US69959307 A US 69959307A US 2008179580 A1 US2008179580 A1 US 2008179580A1
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US
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
rail
channel
slats
clip
sleeve
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11699593
Inventor
William McGinness
Randal Heath
Maurice G. Coen
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Homeland Vinyl Products Inc
Original Assignee
Homeland Vinyl Products Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H17/00Fencing, e.g. fences, enclosures, corrals
    • E04H17/14Fences constructed of rigid elements, e.g. with posts, with additional wire fillings
    • E04H17/16Fences constructed of rigid elements, e.g. with posts, with additional wire fillings using prefabricated panel-like elements, e.g. wired frames

Abstract

A rail structure for use as part of a fence construction. The rail has a rigid support member enclosed by a sleeve, the sleeve having a groove or channel extending along its longitudinal length and a hollow chamber for receiving the support member therein. The channel is dimensioned to receive a plurality of slats disposed in spaced relation to one another such that when received in the channels of opposed rails a fence section is formed. Various modifications to the basic rail structure permit construction of a privacy or containment fence section that may include a plurality of vertical segments, including for example lattice work.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates generally to the field of fences and guard rails. More particularly, the invention relates to containment and decorative fences having a vinyl covering. With even greater particularity, the present invention relates to a method of assembling and components for providing a vinyl covering over a substrate support structure for a fence or guard rail.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    In the art of fences numerous materials and methods have been employed to construct and design fences for various purposes such as containment of livestock, pets, people and the like or for the exclusion of the same. In other instances, fences may be employed to add a decorative or aesthetic flourish to structures and landscapes.
  • [0003]
    A commonly used fence configuration is a picket or slat design, wherein the fence generally comprises horizontal support members attached between vertical fence posts, and a plurality of vertically aligned pickets or slats, attached to the horizontal support members and spaced apart to varying amounts depending upon the privacy or extent of containment desired. This common fence configuration lends itself to construction with numerous materials, depending upon the desired application. For example, a picket fence may simply be constructed with materials such as treated lumber utilizing 4″×4″ boards for the vertical posts, 2″×4″ boards for the horizontal support members, or rails, and ½″×4″ planks selected for the vertical slats, or facing material.
  • [0004]
    Added decorative features may be included, such as by topping the fence with an additional facing material, such as a lattice work, generally comprising a plurality of narrow strips of lumber arranged in a crossed or woven pattern with the narrow strips of lumber sized on the order of 1.5″×⅜″. The strips are normally stapled or joined at their intersections to create a lattice panel and are generally available in 4″×8′ panels and other convenient sizes. Typically, a groove may be cut into the support members that will form a frame for the lattice. The ends of the lattice panel are fitted into the groove around the periphery of the panel, which provides a more rigid construction as well as providing a more finished appearance to the fence section.
  • [0005]
    A slatted fence panel may be constructed in a similar manner, whereby the ends of the slats, or facing material are inserted into grooves cut into the support members. As with the picket fence, the slats may be spaced apart by varying amounts depending upon the degree of privacy or containment desired. Similarly, the slats may be placed in abutment with one another to provide complete privacy or containment.
  • [0006]
    More recently, vinyl, plastics and similar such materials have been found to be advantageous for fencing applications. These materials provide convenience due to their ease of fabrication, light weight, relative cost, and their ability to maintain an attractive appearance, particularly for exterior fencing, where weather may deteriorate the finish of wood or paints applied thereto. However, a significant disadvantage of these materials is that many building codes do not approve of their use in certain applications requiring structural or protective support.
  • [0007]
    Similarly, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also established standards for fence constructions. For example, in hurricane prone areas HUD standards require a fence to withstand 120 mph wind gusts, whereas in other areas such fences should withstand 90 mph wind gusts. Accordingly, the application of vinyl materials remains somewhat limited due to these restrictions.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    The present invention solves many of the aforementioned problems with existing fence materials and construction methods. The invention is described as a pocket rail construction, with the rail having an elongate rigid support member, and an outer pocketed or channeled sleeve. The support member may be formed of a metallic, composite, or other approved construction material, and is preferably made of aluminum. The support member may be channel shaped or alternatively tubular shaped, preferably having a generally square or rectangular cross section.
  • [0009]
    The outer sleeve is preferably made of a vinyl, plastic, composite or similar such materials. The outer sleeve has a first side defined by a groove, or pocket, extending along the longitudinal length of the sleeve and a chamber defined adjacent to the pocket which also extends along the longitudinal length of the sleeve.
  • [0010]
    The chamber is dimensioned such that the length of the support member may be slidingly received in the chamber without great difficulty, and should preferably have a slight interference fit when the support member is fully inserted. The pocket or channel should have a width sufficient to receive the ends of a facing material, such as a plurality primary slats, to define a fence section. Preferably the ends of the primary slats or facing have a slight interference fit in the pocket. The pocket should also have a depth sufficient to receive and retain the ends of the primary slats or facing material.
  • [0011]
    The channel may also be adapted to receive a section of lattice work, panels, or secondary slats having a thickness considerably narrower than that of the primary slats. The adaptation comprises a pair of slots defined along opposed inner walls of the pocket and a retaining spring or clip that is inserted into the pocket. The retaining spring is generally U or V shaped, having a base and a pair of legs extending from opposed ends of the base. The legs are shaped such that the spacing between an opposed surface of the legs is narrower than the ends of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats. Upon insertion of the ends of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats between the clip's legs, opposed ends of the clip are urged outwardly into the slots to captively retain the clip in the pocket. The panel is pinched between the inner walls of the clip's legs to retain it within the pocket.
  • [0012]
    For ease of assembly, the retaining spring will preferably be a unitary elongate member, although a plurality of clips may be inserted into the pocket at discrete points if care is exercised to ensure that they are positioned at the points where the ends of the lattice work panel extend into the pocket, rather than at the voids created between adjacent slats of the lattice.
  • [0013]
    In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the spring clip may also include a dust shield to prevent the accumulation of dust, dirt and debris within the pocket of the fence rail. In this instance, the spring clip is dimensioned such that the ends of the spring clip will extend past edges of the pocket and will overlie the surfaces of the rail adjacent the pocket. A retaining flange is defined at an intermediate point along the legs of the spring clip. Upon insertion of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats, the retaining flange is urged outwardly and engage with the slots.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1 is partial perspective view of a fence section having a pocket rail construction.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 depicts a partial perspective view of a pocket rail construction with a dust shield.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3 depicts an end perspective view of a pocket rail construction with an adapter clip.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4 depicts an arcuate adapter clip.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 5 depicts a V-shaped adapter clip with dust shield.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 6 depicts an end view of an in-line splice pocket rail construction.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 7 depicts an end view of a pocket rail construction with a single hollow chamber.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 8 depicts an end view of a pocket rail construction with dual hollow chambers.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9 depicts an end view of a pocket rail construction with triple hollow chambers.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 10 depicts a gate constructed with pocket rails.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0024]
    Referring to the drawings for a more complete description of the invention, FIG. 1 depicts a fence section 1 constructed with an pocket rail 10 constructed according to an embodiment of the present invention. As may be seen rail 10 comprises an elongated rigid substrate support member 20, which provides support and structure for rail 10, and an outer sleeve 30 having at least one groove or channel 31 defined along a longitudinal side of sleeve 30 and at least one chamber 32 defined to receive and enclose support member 20 therein.
  • [0025]
    The support member 20 is comprised of a metallic, composite, or other approved construction material according to applicable building codes, and is preferably made of aluminum. It may be formed as an I-beam, channel, or tubular construction so as to provide the required structural strength and dimensioned to be received within in chamber 32.
  • [0026]
    The outer sleeve 30 is preferably made of a vinyl, plastic, composite or similar such materials, which may be readily extruded. As may best be seen in reference to FIGS. 5 and 6-9, outer sleeve 30 has a first side portion that defines a groove, or channel 31, extending along the longitudinal length of the sleeve 30. Sleeve 30 also has a chamber 32 defined adjacent to the groove 31 and extending the longitudinal length of the sleeve 30.
  • [0027]
    Groove 31 is defined by a pair of parallel projections, or fingers 33, which are preferably hollow extrusions. Each projection 33 has an inner wall 34 an outer wall 35 and may also include a tapered tip 36. Outer wall 35 and tapered tip 36 may be substantially flat, or may otherwise be provided with a decorative surface ornamentation selected for the desired finished appearance of the rail 10.
  • [0028]
    Chamber 32 is dimensioned such that the length of the support member 20 may be slidingly received in the chamber 32 without great difficulty. Preferably, a slight interference fit will allow the support member 20 to be fully inserted into chamber 32.
  • [0029]
    To form a fence section, a pair of rails 10 are disposed in a generally parallel arrangement with their respective pockets 31 facing each other, as shown in FIG. 1. A plurality of primary slats 11 are usually vertically disposed between the respective opposed pockets 31 and in spaced relation to one another, although they may be laterally disposed between vertically disposed rails as well. Slats 11 may be disposed in abutment with one another to provide complete privacy or containment or as may be seen in FIG. 2, slats 11 may be spaced apart for partial privacy or containment. To assist in maintaining the desired spacing between slats 11, a cover 25 may be utilized. Cover 25 is a substantially U-shaped elongate extrusion that may be pre formed with receiving holes 26 at predetermined points. Alternatively, cover 25 may be provided without receiving holes 26, such that the receiving holes 26 may be cut at an interval and spacing selected by the installer or property owner and readily made with a router or similar cutting tool or punch.
  • [0030]
    Channel 31 should have a width sufficient to receive the ends of the slats 11, preferably with a slight interference fit. Channel 31 should also have a depth sufficient to receive the ends of the slats 11 so that the slats 11 are retained in the channels 31 between opposed rails 10 to define a fence section 1. Moreover, because the slats 11 are subject to flexing and resultant shortening, such as when encountering a wind gust, the channel 31 depth should be sufficient to accommodate the anticipated flex while still permitting slats 11 to remain retained within the channels 31.
  • [0031]
    As may be seen in reference to FIGS. 2, 8, 9, sleeve 30 may further comprise a plurality of chambers 32. Preferably, the additional chambers such as 32′, 32″ as depicted, have the same inner dimensions as the first chamber 32, such that the rail 10 may be assembled with the support member 20 received in any of the selected chambers 32, 32′, 32″ to permit mounting to a support structure at a desired height relative to the selected chamber. Providing a plurality of chambers 32 to the sleeve 30, may also be advantageous for aesthetic reasons, such as when it may desirable to give the appearance of a wider, seemingly more robust rail, when only utilizing a single support member 20. Alternatively, additional support members 20′, 20″ may be inserted in the chambers 32, 32′, 32″ to add greater structural strength to the rail 10. Thus, the pocket rail assembly 10 of the present invention lends itself to multiple design possibilities for creating a fence of various structural strengths and aesthetic designs.
  • [0032]
    An additional feature of the pocket rail assembly 10 entails adaptation of the channel 31 to receive a section of lattice work 12, panels 12, or alternative slats 12 having a thickness considerably less than that of the primary slats 11. To accomplish this a pair of slots 37 are defined along opposed inner walls 34 of the projections 33. As depicted slots 37 have a pair sharply defined edges, however, all that is necessary is that slot 37 have a suitably defined inwardly facing edge 38, for engagement with a retaining spring or clip 40.
  • [0033]
    As may be seen in reference to FIGS. 3-5, retaining spring or clip 40 is generally U or V shaped, having a base or apex 41 and a pair of legs 42 extending from opposed ends of the base 41. Legs 42 are shaped such that the spacing between opposed inner surfaces 43 of the legs 42 is dimensioned to receive the ends of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats 12. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the spacing between opposed inner surfaces 43 of the legs 42 is narrower than the thickness of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats 12. Upon insertion of the ends of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats 12 between the clip's legs 42, the ends, or retaining flanges 44 of the clip 40 are urged outwardly into the slots 37 such that clip 40 is captured and retained within channel 31 by the engagement of retaining flanges 44 with inwardly facing edge 38. The ends of the lattice, panel or secondary slats 12 are pinched between an inner surface 43 of the clip's legs to retain it within channel 31.
  • [0034]
    More preferably, the retaining flanges 44 of clip 40 are spaced apart by a distance D that is slightly greater than the width W of channel 31, so that ends 44 engage edge 38 without a lattice, panel or secondary slat 12 being inserted in the clip 40. This configuration permits clip 40 to be snap-fit into channel 31 and captively retained therein by the engagement of retaining flanges 44 with edge 38. This aspect is particularly useful during assembly of a fence section, especially for a downwardly or laterally facing channel 31, where clip 40 would have a tendency to fall out of pocket 31.
  • [0035]
    For ease of assembly, retaining spring 40 will preferably be a unitary elongate member, although a plurality of clips 40 may be inserted into the channel 31 at discrete points if care is exercised to ensure that they are positioned at the points where the ends of lattice work panel 12 extend into the channel 31, rather than at the voids created between adjacent slats of the lattice. For a solid panel 12, a plurality of discrete clips 40 may be advantageous to conserve clip material though the panel 12 may experience some flapping or flexure within channel 31 since it is only retained within pocket 31 at discrete points.
  • [0036]
    In an alternative embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 5, the spring clip 40 may also include a dust shield 46 to prevent the accumulation of dust, dirt and debris within the channel 31 of the fence rail 10. In this instance, the ends of the dust shield 46 have a spacing S that is greater than the width W of channel 31. Legs 42 should be dimensioned such that a lower surface 47 of dust shield 46 and will overlie the outer surface 39 of the rail 10 adjacent to the channel 31. In this embodiment, retaining flange 44 is defined at an intermediate point along the legs 42 of the spring clip 40. As with the previous embodiment, the ends of retaining flange 44 are preferably dimensioned to have a width greater than that of pocket 31 so that spring clip 40 may be captively retained in channel 31. Upon insertion of the lattice, panel, or secondary slats 12, retaining flange 44 is urged further outwardly and engage with the slots 37.
  • [0037]
    In each embodiment of clip 40 it base 41 is preferably dimensioned to correspond to the width of channel 31 to facilitate centering of clip 40 within channel 31, which will facilitate centering of lattice, panel or secondary slats 12 within channel 31.
  • [0038]
    As may be seen in reference to the lower portion of FIG. 1, a pair of rails 10 may be used to form a fence section 1, with rails 10 in opposed relation and plurality of primary slats 11 spaced apart and extending between a first rail 14 and a second rail 15. Slats 11 being usually vertically disposed and rails 14 & 15 usually being horizontally disposed. Fence or guardrail section 1 may be attached to opposed walls of a structure, such as in a balcony, or between posts, such as in a fence, or in an combination thereof as is well known to those of skill in the art.
  • [0039]
    As may be seen in reference to the center portion of FIGS. 1 and 10, and as depicted in FIG. 6, sleeve 30 may be provided with an additional channel 31′ adding greater versatility to the pocket rail system. In the embodiment depicted, sleeve 30 is provided with a second channel 31′ to form an in-line splice. This configuration permits the addition of an upper decorative portion to the fence section, such as that shown in the upper half of FIG. 1, with the upper portion being constructed of a lattice, panel or secondary slats 12. Alternatively, this configuration of sleeve 30 can be utilized to build a stronger fence section utilizing shorter primary slats 11. It is also advantageous for applications requiring a taller fence section such that a second course of primary slats 11 may be positioned above a first course of primary slats 11.
  • [0040]
    The versatility of the pocket rail of the present is further demonstrated in reference to FIG. 10. In this case, rails 10 are utilized to completely frame the slats 11 and panel 12 to construct a gate 50. As may be seen, each of the corners 51 may be miter cut and the rails 10 joined by application of a suitable adhesive. More preferably, we have found that the materials may be suitably joined by a sonic weld along corner 51 and will have sufficient strength to withstand the rigors encountered during its employment as a gate 50. When utilizing the in-line splice to create a two part gate, as an alternative to miter cutting, the fingers 33 may be removed or partially removed from the vertical rails 10′ at points adjacent to the horizontal rails 10 to provide a complete pocketed frame around the primary and/or secondary fence sections 1. Sonic welds may also be utilized to join the intermediate horizontal rail section 10 to the vertical rails 10′. Hinges 52 are affixed to one of the vertical rails 10′, and a handle 53 with associated latching hardware installed on the opposite vertical rail 10′. In like manner, a completely framed fence section 1 may be obtained by adding vertical rails to the horizontal rails 10 of the fence section 1 depicted in FIG. 1.
  • [0041]
    it should be understood that although examples of preferred embodiments of the: invention have been disclosed herein in some detail, modifications and variations might be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, all forms of the invention are claimed that come within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (24)

  1. 1. A rail comprising an elongate rigid support member and an outer sleeve;
    said outer sleeve comprising a chamber defined to receive and enclose the elongate rigid support member and a channel defined along a longitudinal length of the sleeve adjacent said chamber.
  2. 2. The rail of claim 1, wherein said channel is defined by opposed inner walls of a pair of fingers extending outwardly from said sleeve.
  3. 3. The rail of claim 2, wherein said channel further comprises a slot defined along a longitudinal length of said opposed inner walls.
  4. 4. The rail of claim 3, wherein said slot further comprises an edge surface defined along a longitudinal length of said slot, said edge surface facing inwardly relative said channel towards said sleeve.
  5. 5. The rail of claim 1, wherein said sleeve member comprises a plurality of chambers, wherein each chamber is defined to receive and enclose the elongate rigid support member.
  6. 6. The rail of claim 5, further comprising at least two elongate rigid support members, wherein each elongate support member is received in and enclosed by a chamber.
  7. 7. The rail of claim 1, wherein said sleeve comprises a plurality of channels defined along a longitudinal length of the sleeve.
  8. 8. The rail of claim 7, wherein each said channel is defined at an angle relative to another said channel.
  9. 9. A rail adapted to receive facing material of various thicknesses, the rail comprising an elongate rigid support member and an outer sleeve enclosing the elongate rigid support member; said outer sleeve comprising a channel defined along a longitudinal length of the sleeve, said channel having a width sufficient to receive a first facing material having a first thickness.
  10. 10. The rail of claim 9, further comprising a slot defined in opposed inner surfaces of said channel and a retaining clip, said retaining clip having a base, a pair of legs extending from said base, and a retaining flange extending outwardly from each of said legs, wherein said retaining clip is received in said channel and said retaining flanges engage with said slots.
  11. 11. The rail of claim 10, wherein each said slot further comprises an edge surface facing inwardly relative said channel and said retaining flanges engage with said edge surface.
  12. 12. The rail of claim 10, wherein an inner surface of each said leg are spaced apart by a width corresponding to a second facing material having a second thickness less than said first thickness.
  13. 13. The rail of claim 12, wherein said inner surface of each said leg is spaced apart by a width less than said second thickness.
  14. 14. The rail of claim 13, wherein said retaining flanges are urged into said slot when a second facing material is received between said legs of said retaining clip.
  15. 15. The rail of claim 10 wherein said retaining clip has a length substantially the same as a longitudinal length of said sleeve.
  16. 16. The rail of claim 10, wherein said retaining clip is comprised of a plurality of discrete retaining clips.
  17. 17. The rail of claim 10, wherein said clip base has a width substantially equal to the width of said channel.
  18. 18. The rail of claim 10, wherein said legs of said clip are arcuate.
  19. 19. The rail of claim 10, wherein sail legs of said clip are flat.
  20. 20. The rail of claim 10, said retaining clip further comprising a dust shield wherein the legs extend proximal to said channel opening and a dust flange extends outwardly from an end of said leg, and a lower surface of said dust flange will overlie a surface of the sleeve adjacent to said channel opening.
  21. 21. The rail of claim 20, wherein said retaining flange extends from said legs at a point intermediate said leg ends and said base.
  22. 22. The rail of claim 10, wherein said slots are defined along a longitudinal length of said sleeve.
  23. 23. A rail comprising an elongate rigid support member, an outer sleeve enclosing the elongate rigid support member, and at least one pair of projections extending from said sleeve, said projections having opposed inwardly facing walls to define a groove which extends along a longitudinal length of the sleeve, said groove characterized by a slot defined along the longitudinal length of said inwardly facing walls.
  24. 24. The rail of claim 23, wherein said slot comprises at least one edge surface facing inwardly relative said groove.
US11699593 2007-01-29 2007-01-29 Pocket rail construction Abandoned US20080179580A1 (en)

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US12330099 US20090078923A1 (en) 2007-01-29 2008-12-08 Pocket Rail Construction

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US20080142771A1 (en) * 2006-11-02 2008-06-19 Michael Amendola Customizable Extruded Bottom Fence Rail
US20090090897A1 (en) * 2007-10-09 2009-04-09 Robbins Iii Edward S Splice cover assembly
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US8966713B1 (en) 2013-12-06 2015-03-03 Barrette Outdoor Living, Inc. Adjustable self-closing fence hinge
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