Rain Chains! What is a rain chain and will they work for me? Scott at Dovetail Raingutter often meets with homeowners who are interested in rain chains.

Rain chains are often seen as an alternative to traditional gutter  downspouts. But the question remains, can they really replace gutter  downspouts? Are they just as functional at conveying rainwater runoff?

The conventional downspout is typically 2 X 3 inches and matches the rain gutter in color and material. The downspout contains and discharges rain water to the ground, preventing splashes on the house or sidewalks. A typical installation terminates at or slightly above the ground with an elbow. With the addition of an extension or splash block at the bottom elbow, rain water can be directed farther away from the foundation of the home.

Unlike a downspout, the chain is an open system, so as the water leaves the gutter  and runs onto the chain,  excess water will  overflow over the side of the chain. Once the water hits the ground, over time it will create a low spot in the ground and may pool and eventually make its way into the basement or crawl space! Installation of an interesting feature below the chain such as a rock or whiskey barrell can prevent the pooling effect.

Location of the chain must be taken into consideration. Will the inevitable splashing be wind blown onto your siding damaging the paint? Will the splashing land on a sidewalk and create an icy hazard? Best locations for your rainchain are on wide overhangs away from steps or sidewalks, consider the prevailing direction of the wind (will the rain be blown onto the house or sidewalks?)   Rain chains with cup-type chains are less likely to splash and will contain the rain water much better than chain or hoop designs.

Rain Chain Styles
  • Styles of rain chains are even more varied than materials. Round, oval or  square links of chain are joined in a single or double chain for a basic rain  chain that accents modern and contemporary styles, as well as rustic, country  and oriental styles. Rain chains of flared cups, fluted shaped funnels or simple  flower  complement traditional, classical, oriental and cottage styles. Embossed cups  with designs of flowers, butterflies, leaves and flowers are good choices for  cottage and Victorian styles. Cups with a basketweave design match country and  rustic styles, while bamboo-shaped cups go well in an Asian-style  garden.

  • People in Japan designed rain chains to direct rain water from roofs into  containers for later use. They used large ceramic or stoneware bowls, pots or  jugs. Stone basins and metal bowls are used as catch basins. Buckets or barrels  hold large amounts of rainwater, which can be used to water plants and nearby garden areas.  An area of decorative stones or pavers directs water  away from structures and walkways. A rain garden located under or near a rain  chain benefits from the additional water.

Rain Chains create “curb appeal” states Scott Wuebber of DOVETAIL RAINGUTTER many homeowners enjoy the look of a rainchain despite the drawbacks of replacing your downspouts with a chain.


Rain chains can be installed in place of existing downspouts with a V-shaped hanger that is usually provided when you purchase a copper or aluminum chain. The hanger’s point extends below the downspout hole, creating a stream of water that flows over or through the chain. For those that choose a 3/8″ chain an eye hook of suitable strength must first be screwed into a rafter tail or 2″solid section of the facia. Fabrication and installation of a funnel that is suspended from the chain a couple of inches below the gutter will help the water flow down the chain. If you are not comfortable on a ladder you should contact a profesional rain gutter contractor to install your new chain


Don’t plan on getting rid of all your downspouts, though. You need a few downspouts for effective stormwater management.

Depending on the height of your foundation a home with 8 foot interior ceilings will require rain chains 8 1/2 – 10 feet long

To prevent movement, rain chains should be anchored, usually to a decorative copper bowl for a Japanese aesthetic, or to a rain barrel for an eco-friendly, water-conserving option.

A rain chain will not support the weight of a child who  decides to climb or swing on your new chain! If you live in snow country an accumulation of ice may damage your decorative chains.

FOR MORE INFO ON RAINCHAINS CLICK THIS LINK http://dovetailraingutter.com/rainchains.html

About Raingutterguy

Specializing in design, supply,installation and repairs to rain gutter systems. Seamless raingutter, half round gutter and water collection systems.
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