Downspouts are one of those items that homeowners like to ignore. And who can blame us? Downspouts are not very attractive. They can be loud when they are effective, and troublesome when they aren't (think leaf clogs).
Why not consider a rain chain? No clogs. No Dents. No water-rushing-through-a-pipe sounds. In fact, rain chains are like a built-in water feature: visually appealing, they offer a soothing sound when water cascades down.
Above: Brooklyn-based architect Kim Hoyt hung rain chains in a townhouse garden in Boerum Hill.
How do rain chains work? It's easy. They attach to the gutter outlet with a connector spout that directs the water down the chain into a water receptacle or drainage bed where the bottom end of the chain is secured. This highly effective rainwater device has been used for centuries in Japan. Not ready to replace every downspout on your home? Consider updgrading at least those at your home's entry and other well-used outdoor areas where the downspouts are visually conspicuous.
Here's our roundup of favorites:
Link Style Rain Chains
(Note: Link style, rather than cup-style rain chains, are recommended for climates with heavy snow.)
Above: I am partial to the simple and utilitarian Stainless Steel Link Rain Chain. Made of very high marine-grade 316L stainless, the links are welded for maximum load capacity. Available in four thicknesses ranging from 1/8th inch to 5/16th inch, the stainless chain is from $98 to $139 (depending on thickness) for a 9.5-foot length at Gutter Supply.
Above: The Zen Loop Link Rain Chain is handmade of 3-inch copper rings; $119 for an 8.5-foot length at Gutter Supply.
Above: Made of copper, an 8.5-foot length of Diamond Rain Chain is $108.95 from Japanese Style.
Above: A Copper Link Rain Chain is appreciated for the patina it develops over time. The Extra Links Copper Rain Chain features an extra link inset into the chain for improved water flow; $20.95 per linear foot at Rain Chains.
Above: The aluminum Double Oval Loop Rain Chain in a metal gray finish is $49.95 for an 8.5-foot length chain at Rain Chains Direct.
Above: Monarch's Copper Teardrop Rain Chain; $75.99 for an 8.5-foot length chain through Amazon.
Cup Style Rain Chains
Above: The Channel Link Black Rain Chain (L) is made of high quality aluminum finished in flat black powder coating. The Channel Link Rain Chain (R) is also available in 100 percent copper. Each is $49.95 for an 8.5-foot length chain at Rain Chains Direct.
Above: The Square Link Black Rain Chain (L) is made of high quality aluminum finished in a flat black powder coating. The Square Link Rain Chain (R) is also available in 100 percent copper. Each is $49.95 for an 8.5-foot length at Rain Chains Direct.
Above: The Také Rain Chain is a modern play on the bamboo shape. A refined and expensive option, it's $657 for a 9-foot length with 24 steel segments at Goods from Japan.
Above: A one-of-a-kind Vintage Industrial Galvanized Rain Chain is 31 inches long with 2-inch-square cups; $55 from Green Cycle Design LA via Etsy.
Are you working on an interior remodel as well? See our archive of Remodelista: 10 Easy Pieces.
We've solved the problem of clogged downspouts; now it is time to consider Gutter Guards.