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Archive for Rain Chains

Rain Chains and Downspouts

A rain chain goes beyond basic functionality. While it serves the same purpose as a downspout, rain chains create an esthetic appeal to your home’s exterior. Not only is a rain chain visually appealing, it also incorporates the sense of sound into the overall experience. If you have to move or replace any of your downpipes, consider substituting at least one downspout with a rain chain.

Don’t let their pretty looks fool you – just like downpipes, rain chains need to be strategically placed for optimum drainage, and properly installed for maximum functionality. Residential, commercial and industrial buildings over two or more storeys should have them installed to accommodate splashing issues commonly associated with rain chains. While a rain chain does handle less water than a standard downspout, integrating one or two rain chains into your gutter system will not affect its ability to protect your property from water damage.

When using a combination of rain chains and downspouts, the most popular place to install them is at the front of the house, typically near a door, window or landscaped area. Being able to see and/or hear the rain chain can heighten the beauty of a rainy day. Homeowners who opt for rain chains, often anchor it in a decorative manner, allowing it to drain into a rock garden, shallow pool or flower bed.

Rain chains are normally constructed from some kind of metal. A rain chain can be just that; links joined together to form a chain. By adding decorative elements like cups or a themed chain, esthetic appeal is increased. For even greater visual appeal, select a copper rain chain, which will change color as it ages, eventually turning light green or blue-green. Rain chains made of brass will generally turn a shade of brown ranging from medium to dark shades.

Where being an alternative to traditional downpipes is not practical, using a combination of rain chains and downspouts can still add an element of beauty to your gutter system. The strategic use of a rain chain will increase your curb appeal; sense of wellbeing; and enjoyment of our typical Vancouver fall weather.

Tips for Buying a Rain Chain

A rain chain, originally from Japan, is an elegant way to replace the downspout, turning something merely functional into an attractive focal point. Rain chains, like downspouts, channel rain water from the roof to the ground. If a rain chain sounds like an appealing alternative, here are some tips for buying rain chains that are right for your home.

Theme: A rain chain is typically a connected string of cups or links, which allows rainwater to flow down to the ground or into a decorative urn, bowl or pond. Select a rain chain with a particular theme or intricate design to add personality to the exterior of your home.

Part of Something Else: If you intend to incorporate the rain chain into a pond or garden, the rain chain should include features that will enhance the design. For example, choosing one composed of cups instead of links will increase the esthetics of a garden by heightening the sound of falling rain.

Material: The appeal of a rain chain is its unique look. Make sure that you choose a rain chain that creates the desired effect. Rain chains crafted from copper will have a “warmer” feel and can develop a patina over time. Aluminum or stainless steel rain chains can have a “cooler” or sleeker appearance.

Rain Chains 101

Originating from Japan, kusari doi or rain chains have been around for hundreds of years. Collecting and carrying rain water away from the roof, the rain chain directed it into a barrel, pool or pond where it could be used for household needs. Traditional rain chains were both functional and beautiful, often utilized as a decorative feature in the design of Japanese temples and gardens. Today, rain chains are becoming a popular alternative to the standard downspout, adding an attractive element to the modern home’s gutter system.

Designed to function like standard downspouts, rain chains are comprised of funnels, cups or geometric forms linked together. They are typically attached to the gutter by way of the hole used by the downpipe. Rain chains can be installed in one of two main ways: left hovering above the surface or secured by some method such as an ornamental bowl or barrel. Because the runoff is not enclosed as it is with a downspout, any unchanneled water will overflow on either side of the rain chain. To protect the foundation from flooding or landscaped areas from soil erosion, rain chains should properly drain into a bed of gravel, a rain barrel or some other type of water collection system.

The standard length of a rain chain is eight feet, but is also available in one-foot sections so that it can be customized to meet the needed measurement. They are available in a wide range of materials including copper and brass, but can be readily categorized into three basic types – cup rain chains, link rain chains and themed rain chains. What makes a rain chain so appealing is its ornamental aspect. Rain chains naturally enhance the sight and sound of falling rain, adding another dimension to your home’s curb appeal.

Rain Chains vs. Downspouts

Rain chains are an appealing alternative to the standard downspout. They not only serve a functional purpose by drawing water away from the roof and channeling it into the ground, rain chains give your home a unique appearance that’s as individual as you are.

The basic difference between a rain chain and a downspout is that one is an open system and the other is closed. While rain chains (open system) guide runoff water downwards like downspouts (closed system) do, water pours freely over the rain chain. It is good to be aware that excess water from a rain chain could become problematic if it splashes somewhere it shouldn’t like a neighbour’s property or onto an exterior wall of your house. You can purchase a specific style of rain chain that reduces or minimizes splashing. Because of possible splashing issues, many gutter professionals recommend that rain chains be used for homes one or one-and-a-half storeys high and downspouts on 2-or-more-storey buildings.

Downspouts are usually integrated into the overall exterior design of the house, essentially intended to be as hidden or unobtrusive as possible. Rain chains, on the other hand, are meant to be seen. Often the rain chain is a focal point, and a particular style is chosen specifically for its decorative value. While both downspouts and rain chains can be used with rain barrels, rain chains have the added advantage of being incorporated into an ornamental feature such as a pond or the catch basin of a fountain.

A downspout is functional but a rain chain is functional and visually pleasing. If you want to add another esthetic element to your home’s exterior, rain chains are a viable alternative to regular downspouts.

Using Rain Chains as a Decorative Element

Rain chains are often chosen as a viable alternative to the traditional downspout because, in addition to their functional purpose, they have the added advantage of being pleasing to the eye. Using rain chains as a decorative element adds value to your home by increasing curb appeal and giving your landscaping a unique focal point.

You can further increase the decorative value of a rain chain by creatively incorporating it into your landscape design. When you channel the runoff into an ornamental basin, pond or rain barrel, you enhance the whimsical element of the rain chain. Rain chains can also help you achieve a sustainable landscape design. When rain chains are paired with a rain barrel, the water collected and stored in the barrel can later be used to water the garden or areas of the lawn.

While downspouts are typically designed to blend with the overall appearance of a home, rain chains are specifically chosen to stand out and be noticed. The beauty of a rain chain is derived from the type of metal used in combination with its shape and style. Popular themed rain chains include flowers, butterflies and birds. Rain chains are commonly made of copper, brass, aluminum and steel.

If you are using a rain chain as part of a decorative pool or rock garden, select a cup or container-type of rain chain. Link chains guide the water downward, but do tend to splash more. Cup or container style rain chains collect the water first, before draining it into the cup below, funneling more water into a pool, basin or rock feature than a simple link chain.