I’m sort of embarrassed to admit this but a couple months ago a friend of mine asked for some advice on choosing a pretty “rain chain.” I thought to myself, “what is a rain chain?”
Once she explained what it was I knew immediately what she was talking about. I had seen these things mainly around the 30A and Destin area but I didn’t know they provided more than just a pretty decor!
So the question is;
What is a rain chain and how do rain chains work?
A rain chain is essentially a decorative alternative for a gutter downspout. Instead of the water flowing down the downspout, it will flow from the chains on the “rain chain.” The rain naturally flows from the path of least resistance which allows it to travel down the metal chains to the ground.
Do rain chains really work?
I was skeptical myself at first, but after watching a few videos I was convinced! I had to try one of these functional pieces of outdoor decor. After all, our rustic beach cottage always has areas of constant water and wood rot.
Different Types of Rain Chains
There are two main types of rain chains: cup chain style and link chain style.
Cup chain style rain chain
The cup chain style of rain chain consists mostly of tapered “cups” found every few links. Most rain chains you will see are this type. The idea is that the rain water will gather in the cups and then trickle down the chain until it reaches the ground.
Link chain style rain chain
The link chain style rain chain is definitely less bulky. It only consists of the chains and no decorative cups. The link chain style is a simpler and less obtrusive style lending itself to those who want a more sleek modern look.
Types of Rain Chain materials
Rain chains can be made of any material but you will find them mostly made from: copper, stainless steel or aluminum.
Copper rain chain
The cool thing about a copper rain chain is that it won’t rust over time like the other materials. Instead, it will turn a pretty shade of green.
One thing you need to watch out for with a copper rain chain is something called electrolysis. This happens when a rain chain clip or anchor is copper and you install it on an aluminum gutter. This happens when two metals interact and start to deteriorate over time.
One way to prevent this is to place a barrier between the two metals.
Stainless steel rain chains
A lot of rain chains are made from stainless steel. Make sure to note what grade of stainless steel you are buying before you purchase. The higher the grade, the more rust resistant they are.
Aluminum rain chains
Since most gutters are aluminum, you will find the most popular metal for rain chains are aluminum too. They are mostly rust resistant.
Now that I’ve explained a little about rain chains, it’s time to talk about a problem I ran into when thinking of installing one on my house.
Let me show you the dilemma:
You can see the metal lip that was installed for water to fall off from the roof. This works ok, but you can also see the bottom of the porch where the wood is starting to rot from constant water drips.
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We’ve thought about installing a downspout, but how ugly would that be?
I decided to buy a rain chain. This created a problem but I knew I could also figure a way to install it without a gutter.
Make sure to check out my list of 10 highly rated rain chains from Amazon here!
Here is the rain chain I purchased from Amazon.
It came with this triangle attachment piece that was supposed to be installed in a gutter. I had other plans.
Installing a Rain Chain without a gutter
I had to create something that would divert water from the top of the piece of metal over to the first cup on the rain chain. Let me show you my solution.
I used 1″ products but you could get away with using something larger too. I wouldn’t go smaller than 1″ though.
The key with the plumbing material was 1) It’s waterproof 2) I could create something to funnel water and 3) I could spray paint it to match the rain chain.
After I assembled it I cleaned it with white vinegar and started to spray paint it with a textured black matte spray paint.
I applied two coats of spray paint and then installed it.
Before I installed it, I ran a little water over the metal piece to see exactly where the water would fall. I then placed the plumbing piece under it until it was right over where the water would trickle down.
You can see I used wood screws to attach it to the ceiling beams. I waited to fully tighten the screws until I knew exactly where the water would fall.
I then placed the triangle piece over the plumbing material and ran some more water until I got the rain chain perfectly placed. I then tightened the triangle piece of the plumbing material so it was secure.
Make sure to watch the video to see it in action.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope I’ve given you a simple solution that is easy to replicate!