The Evolution of the Rain Chain


Every home needs the beautiful features and the functional features which are not always pleasant to look at. Features such as the traditional downspout which guides water from the roof to an area away from the foundation. Previously, these downspouts were simply metal tubes guiding the water, today, rain chains are constructed on many varying forms that guide that water away from the foundation in style. 

Types of Chains to Guide Rain 

Today, the homeowner can buy chains that are themed. If you’re into chanting or meditation, you might like the Zen Loops that form a chain yet still direct the rain water away from the foundation. There are many cup varieties that are just a succession of cups forming a chain that pass the water from the higher cup to the lower cups. One such cup variety that might appeal to a gardening enthusiast is the water cans that sends water through the bottoms of a chain of water cans. If you love nature, maybe the acorn cups in a succession would tickly your fancy. Many of the chains come in copper, aluminum, pre-weathered zinc and galvanized steel. 

History of Rain-Chains 

Japan in the construction of Sukiya architecture in circa 1558-1600. It was the first-time rain-chains were used. In Japan the rain-chain is called Kusari-toi and it was first made of the same fibers used to build the small tea houses. It was made from hemp-palm plant woven into a rope to guide the rain water to the ground. With invention of metal works, the rain-chain moved from being constructed of wood and bamboo to copper and they went from being twisted into ropes to being molded into cups for better water flow. 

Using Rain-Chains 

The rain-chain can be used on the façade of residential and commercial buildings with the successful outcome of directing rainwater away from the building’s foundation. You can simply hang the rain-chain without additional décor or you can string living epiphyte plants in the chain. Eventually you could create a living screen with several rain-chains hanging together. Rain-chains are an excellent alternate when downspouts are not structurally appropriate or unattractive aesthetically. If your home has long narrow eaves, a rain-chain may be the best solution for draining rain water off the roof. 

The Difference between a Rain-Chain and a Downspout 

Downspouts run from the gutter and then very close to the building downward until it reaches the elbow which leads the water away from the building’s foundation. The intended goal of placing it so close is the hide it from view. This is not necessary when a rain-chain is used. Rain-chains are beautiful eye-catching and functional devices that should be displayed. They naturally swing away from the building unlike a downspout, so they don’t always need a splash block. A splash block is only needed with a rain-chain when it sits close to the building. 

Rain-chains are the evolution of the downspout. Aesthetically pleasing, they add visual interest to any home. Chose the right rain-chain and accent your home beautifully with a lively variant of the downspout.