If you are tired of ugly downspouts and would like a more attractive alternative, have you thought about using rain chain downspouts instead? They are easy to install and look much more attractive than plastic spouting. Rain chains have been used in Japan for many years where very large, decorative examples can be seen in temples, and smaller, simpler versions of rain chains can be found in homes.
Rain chains come in a wide variety of styles, from simple, linked chains to decorative copper rain chains made in shapes such as umbrellas, watering cans and tulips. Water is directed gently down the chain where it collects in a decorative container or is channeled away from the building. Water flows more gently down a rain chain than a downspout and does not splash onto surrounding walls or the ground below. Many people also like the soothing, tinkling sounds of the water flowing down the chain, and rain chains even clink like wind chimes when a breeze flows by them, offering a soothing sound.
Most of the rain chains for sale that you will see are made from copper, which is more attractive than iron or stainless steel. Copper is an extremely durable material that holds up well to the weather, and especially to water. To prevent the oxidation of the copper, they can be coated with shellac for protection which will keep the rain chain looking shiny and attractive. However, if you like the look of copper that turns to a soft greenish patina, you can also get uncoated copper rain chains that will naturally turn color over time.
Cup type rain chains are the most popular style, with tulip rain chains being my personal favorite. The tulip shaped cups collect the rain, which then flows down through a hole in its base to the next cup and eventually to the collection point on the ground. The collection vessel could be a lovely copper bowl to compliment the chain or a ceramic jug or barrel. A wooden box filled with shiny pebbles is also an attractive option. If however, you live in an area prone to lots of rain, you should make sure that the rain can be directed away from the side of the home when it reaches the ground, to avoid potential flooding problems.
Rain chain downspouts are becoming more popular in locations outside of Japan and make a very attractive alternative to plastic or metal piping. Their biggest advantage is the interesting look that they provide to your home in comparison to traditional guttering and downspouts. Initially, they will be slightly more expensive to buy, but quality rain chains, especially copper ones, will last for many, many years and give your home a unique and decorative look.