Rain Chains for Gutters
Homeowners looking for an aesthetically pleasing alternative to downspouts are increasingly turning to rain chains. They are typically crafted from decorative metal cups or rings fashioned from copper or aluminum. Rainwater flows from the gutter to the rain chain, and it gradually cascades to the ground.
In Japan, where rain chains are known as Kusari-doi, they are frequently observed at Japanese shrines and temples in the southern and western parts of the country. Residents also deploy them at the corners of homes that honor centuries-old traditions. Global awareness of Japanese rain chains expanded during the 1998 Winter Olympic in Nagano and additional attention will likely accrue during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
It is Japanese tradition to place a rain barrel, stone basin, or rock slab directly beneath the Kusari-doi. When a basin is used, lightly falling raindrops generate ripples on the surface of the water, thereby adding another dimension to the pleasing visual aesthetic.
Need for a Dry Foundation
Although traditional downspouts are often unsightly, their use makes it possible to add extensions to carry rainwater laterally away from the foundation. Since a rain chain is a vertically hanging sculpture, it is important to find a way to route water safely away from a home’s foundation.
Proper water routing is important, and failure is not an option. Water pooling along a foundation may lead to wet basement walls as it gradually seeps downward. Unwanted moisture increases humidity, and it may also lead to the development of mold or mildew. Standing water may exploit tiny fissures in a foundation, causing them to expand into larger cracks.
Also, inadequately routed water may leave areas of the lawn soggy. Misdirected water may even draw the ire of a neighbor as it makes its way onto an adjoining property.
Water Routing Ideas
The adverse consequences of wet basements are readily avoided with a little planning, prep, and creativity.
Stone-Filled Pots and Bowls
Stones of adequate size deal with the force of falling water, water that would otherwise erode or wash away fertile loam or other garden soil. For example, a rain chain fashioned from smaller terracotta pots might direct water to a terracotta pot filled with small stones.
Handcrafted copper bowls are another option. The corrosion-resistant metal will form a pleasing, matte-surface patina over time. Copper rain chains are also popular in part because the metal is fully recyclable.
Some homeowners create a four-, five-, or six-sided form fashioned from a durable wood such as redwood or cedar and then fill it with stones. During wet periods, pleasing, mossy patterns may develop among the pebbles.
Rain barrel options multiply as rainwater harvesting becomes increasingly popular. For example, a rain chain combined with an oak barrel melds aesthetics with water conservation.
Expand the aesthetic pleasure by routing water into a Japanese water garden, replete with mini-waterfalls. This is ideal if the slope away from the foundation is adequate. Enterprising homeowners may want to funnel the collected rainwater to strips with holes that gently irrigate nearby gardens. Water gardens with koi swimming about further expand the Japanese theme.
The sound of water trickling through a rain chain may invoke memories of childhood treks along tiny brooks or ambitious high-country hikes where quickening flows of snowmelt delighted the senses. Enjoy peace of mind as well by successfully routing rainwater away from your home’s foundation.
If you are in San Antonio and interested in improving your gutters for rain chains, call American Hill Country Gutters today for more info.