DIY: The Art Of The Rain Chain
Rain, Rain, Come Again
You may be surprised to learn that on average it only rains about 140 days each year in Austin. And with May being most rainy month of the year there's no better time to explore installing perhaps your greatest home addition, compliments of a rain chain!
A Rain What? Rain chains originated hundreds of years ago in Japan as decorative ways to channel rain runoff from rooftops to the ground. Let's see a quick video of it in action:
When we moved into our new stone home it featured metal gutters running down the front of our house and we knew what we needed to do - replace the metal gutter with something more aesthetically pleasing to look at plus something that is fun to watch even on cold, dreary days. A rain chain literally transforms your rainy day into a fun day every rainy day of the year!
Note: This DIY tutorial presumes your home has existing gutters and downspout(s).
Rain chains are available from a variety of local and online stores. We've had remarkable success from our friends at RainChains.com (whom we did not ask for sponsorship for this post). From their site you can custom order your chain by the linear foot in a variety of designs made from copper, brass, aluminum and steel to get the tailored fit and look that's perfect for your home and your preference. On their site you can also decide which chain you prefer most (style vs. water flow efficiency) thanks to the RainChains.com "Waterflow Index" that grades each chain's splash efficiency routing water from roof to yard.
Totally optional but we think well worth the ~$15 is a gutter "reducer" which helps channel (or focus) the rain water from your gutter downward. It can help the chain create a more efficient water drop down to the ground.
You can fashion the bottom of your rain chain with everything from au naturale (nothing underneath) to ceramic pots or bowls - these will help collect and channel the water. We chose a hammered copper basin to complement our copper chain on our side yard and in our front yard we chose to create a dry pebble creek bed to channel the water away from the house.
What You'll Need:
1 | Screwdriver or Pliers (if removing an old downspout) 1 | Ladder 1 | Gutter Guard/Protector (optional, shown below)
1 | Rainchain (per the DIY tip above) 1+ | Camera/Video Device to capture your transformation
1 | Human Helper (optional, but helpful) 1 | Basin Of Your Choosing (optional)
What To Do:
1. Score Your Materials Measure the distance of your chain and order it (or buy it off the shelf). Once you have all the remaining materials you're beyond halfway there! Our installation took just 30-45 minutes all in. Time well spent!
2. Remove The Old Secure your ladder against your house and remove the existing gutter downspout. A few screws and brackets removed from the masonry/brick/stucco, a tug, and voila - that was easy! If there's an extra metal extender for the downspout (shown above) you can saw it off flush to the gutter or leave it on (your preference). We decided to retain our old gutters in case we sell our home and the new owner wants them.
3. Install The New If you purchased the reducer (see DIY tip above) you can prepare the inside of the gutter downspout by running a thick bead of the sealant around the downspout opening; you can then insert and lightly press the reducer down to adhere it to the gutter. Here's a good point where you can take a break for a few minutes to grab a beverage of your choosing and or an energy snack! You are almost done!
4. Hang The Chain Open the reducer's "D clip" and insert the chain and attach the whole shebang to the reducer. Your chain installation is essentially done. If you chose to add a basin, add it now - you can make a level surface using pebbles or concrete sand for a long-lasting foundation.
Congratulations! You are now an official member of the Central Texas Rain Chain Fellowship! Now where's that rain? :) Have any questions about this DIY project? Contact me at my information below. Enjoy another video from our Instagram post below!
Joe Paul Reider
Home Style Austin Founder
Keller Williams Realty