In considering a beautiful modification to a guttering system, the home or business owner might wish to install rain chains in place of downspouts. A variety of designs are available, and can add enchantment to an otherwise standard gutter system. Rain chain downspouts are decorative and unique, forming beautiful miniature waterfalls at the corners of your roof.
Originating in Japan, and used for centuries there and other areas, Japanese rain chains also known as kusari-doi, have enjoyed widespread popularity in many places. Modern day designs are made from copper, brass, aluminum, glass, plastic, and other materials. Their function is to direct water down from a roof, normally where the water from the gutter would flow into the downspout. Although the water is not contained, in the way a downspout would perform, the rain chain is designed to direct the downward flow of rain, in miniature cascades.
Rain Chain Options
Measuring approximately 8 1/2 feet high (with extenders available), the rain chain is usually a series of fluted cup-like containers, attached one below the other, which catch the water, fill, and overflow into the container below it. These little containers begin from the very top, where the downspout would attach, almost to the ground. The containers can be adjusted in height by removing one or more of the cups from the rain chain. At the bottom, the water can empty onto the ground, or into a decorative container filled with colored stones, glass stones, or even into a rain barrel.
The delightful visual and sound effects produced from a rain chain installation is similar to a miniature waterfall, which performs beautifully when it rains. The sound of the water cascading down the chain produces a melodious and joyful sound which will be heard as long as the rain continues. This is not true of a traditional guttering system.
Rain Chain Costs
Aluminum rain chains and copper rain chains are comparable in price, approximately $70. The buyer may expect to pay more for brass or for custom-designs. Rain chain prices may increase a bit if a special installation kit or gutter attachment piece is needed. Design on each chain will vary, offering a wide selection to the buyer. Some rain chains do not have the fluted cups, but may instead be composed of teardrop or other attractively shaped links, as in a chain. Each may produce a bit of a different sound.
Why Install Rain Chains?
Rain chain downspouts, if made from copper, will develop a lovely patina over time, lending an ancient and exotic appearance to the overall effect, and this may be why copper rain chains are the most popular. However, they all have the same function, often out-performing downspouts. They can prevent flooded areas which are often a problem with a standard guttering system, and the force of the water is often lessened.
Problems with foundation moisture, soil erosion or plant damage can be eliminated, especially if using a rain barrel or decorative container to catch the water. Underground culverts or hoses can further divert water from the area, if using a catch container.
Rain chains are unique and beautiful, enhancing areas that otherwise go unnoticed. Installation is easy, and the price is very reasonable. For all this, and more, adding Japanese rain chains to the corners of a shop or home is definitely an attractive alternative to standard downspouting.