Many Americans have never heard of rain chains, but they are gaining in popularity. They originated in Japan and were used to enhance the beauty of an otherwise utilitarian structure: Gutters. Rain chains are growing in popularity, but people should remember to be careful where they are used. A rain gutter might work well on an overhang that is far from a foundation but may not be ideal for right up by a home. Some of the videos that social media users have shared will demonstrate that in heavy rains, they can just end up splashing water around – water you don’t want up against your foundation!
Called “kusari doi” in Japanese, rain chains feature a bracket or adapter that attaches to a gutter and is used instead of a downspout. The chain hangs down from that and is anchored into the ground at its lowest point with a weight, a stake or often a catch basin.
Rain chains vary in price from $15 for an inexpensive rain chain made of painted aluminum to $700 for ornate, copper rain chains imported from Japan.
Rain chains are usually made from metal as they were traditionally. Copper is the traditional choice of metal traditionally used by rain chain artisans. They settle into a gorgeous patina as the copper ages. Some were also made of steel, but when uncoated, they eventually rust. These days you can get them in stainless steel, brass and aluminum too.
Remember above when we discussed keeping rain chains away from the foundation? Imagine if this were right up against the side of a home. It would splash water up under fascia, siding and all over near the foundation. When considering displacing rain, you should always try to use gutters that will move the water at least eight feet away from a foundation. So, if you’re thinking of using a rain chain on a home you intend to flip, that that into consideration before placing it.
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