This guide covers costs, options, and pros and cons of seamless gutters. We also explain the importance of having a properly-functioning rainwater drainage system for protecting your home from costly damage.
Rain chains demonstrate a beautiful blend of decorative form and useful function. Instead of water traveling from your roof through a closed downspout, rain chains allow you to enjoy rainwater’s pleasing sound and aesthetics, like a babbling brook cascading downward.
In Japan, where rain chains had their origin, they are a common element of traditional building design. Gutters are viewed as too utilitarian to use when the function can be handled by something that also enhances the beauty of the structure. — That view is spreading, and the popularity of rain chains is growing in North America and around the world.
This buying guide provides a comprehensive overview of rain chain styles, materials, options, installation methods, costs, and DIY options.
An adapter or bracket is attached to the gutter in place of a downspout
The rain chain hangs from it
The chain is anchored by a basin, stake, or weight
These three essential components might be sold separately, but many top manufacturers produce kits with everything included.
There is a wide range of rain chain prices, but they can be loosely grouped into these four categories that have some overlap:
$25-$55 | Cheap rain chains, fine chains, small design elements spaced widely, most often painted or coated steel or aluminum.
$55-$120 | Good-quality rain chains, larger and more design elements, most often copper, but some are brass, aluminum or stainless steel.
$120-$250 | High-quality rain chains, large, complex design elements, most often copper or stainless steel, a bottom bowl might be included.
$250-$700 | Best-quality rain chains, quite ornate, copper, zinc, and stainless-steel designs, often with a basin and stake included. The very finest rain chains are imported from Japan and cost in the upper end of this range.
How Much Do Accessories Cost?
The accessory options are weights, basins, and stakes:
Rain chain stakes: $15-$25
Rain chain weights: $25-$75
Rain chain basins: $50-$200 depending on the size, material and whether they’ve been handcrafted
Most Popular Styles
Chain links are interspersed with artistically designed cups or other features such as birds, leaves or flowers at intervals of a few inches to as much as a foot apart.
Most rain chain cups have holes in the bottom to allow water to pass through. Other chains are produced with shallow cups, and the rainwater fills the cup and spills over into the cup below.
Single links or another type of connector are used to hold each cup to the one above it, so that the rain chain is really a series of cups with little or no chainwork.
The rain chain is a series of decoratively fashioned links or loops, often of varying size and artfully interwoven, with no cups at all.
Because of the artistic nature of rain chain design, these three basic styles are produced in nearly limitless variations and combinations.
Traditionally, rain chains were crafted from metal, and most still are.
Most Popular Materials:
Copper: This is the traditional material choice of rain chain artisans. The copper must be polished regularly if you wish it to maintain its gleam. Most copper rain chains are allowed to develop an appealing patina finish that changes as the copper ages.
Steel: This is another traditional metal. Make sure any steel rain chain you consider is coated or painted to prevent rust, though corrosion is probably inevitable.
Stainless steel: This corrosion-resistant metal is often used by itself or in a rain chain design with copper.
Aluminum: More affordable than stainless, aluminum is durable and will develop a light patina too.
Brass: This material is a staple of plumbing fixtures because it resists corrosion. It’s an attractive choice for rain chains too.
Before frigid winter temperatures arrive in your neighborhood, take the time to prepare your home for the unexpected. Even if you live in a moderate climate zone, where low temperatures are rare, winterizing your home can improve its durability, energy efficiency, and help prevent common and costly winter emergencies such as burst pipes and flooding inside your home or basement.
Home Weatherization in a Nutshell:
Winterizing your house is all about sealing and eliminating unwanted air drafts, ensuring adequate insulation and ventilation to prevent energy losses and ice dams related issues, checking roof and gutters, insulating exposed pipes, sealing air-ducts, checking water heaters and furnaces, and boosting your home’s energy efficiency.
Below are the main items to address to make sure your home is properly protected, cozy, and warm, even when the weather outside is frigid and frightful:
Damaged or Improper Chimney Flashing, Skylight, Roof Vent and Pipe Flashing
Dips and Swales in Roof Surface
Roof Ventilation Issues
Evidence of Roof Leaks – Water Stains Around Walls and Ceilings – Wet Insulation in the Attic
Roof Inspection Cost: A professional roofing contractor may charge between $150 to $250 for an inspection, depending on several factors. Most of the time, the cost of a roof inspection can be counted towards the price of a roof repair or getting a new roof.
Note: you should be getting a written report outlining roof performance issues for a stand-alone inspection.
Caveat on Roof Inspections: If you end-up having to ask a professional roofer to climb on your roof after the cold, icy weather has set in, expect the cost of the inspection to go up.
Post-Inspection Maintenance and Repairs:
A roof inspection will determine the need for a roof cleaning, especially if moss build up is normal in your region. If the inspection report shows that some maintenance or repairs are necessary, the costs will vary depending on the extent of repairs:
Minor Repairs: $250 to $450 for minor repairs, which is where a roof cleaning job fits in.
Moderate repairs can cost in the range of $1,000 and typically include fixing or replacing any loose or missing shingles and tiles and sealing and re-flashing chimneys and skylights on the roof.
Major repairs are generally large sections of the roof needing extra attention and may cost as much as $3,000 or higher. Beyond this, and it’s time to consider re-roofing or replacement.
Complete re-roof or replacement may be required if a large portion of the roof has old or damaged shingles. A new roof provides opportunity to increase the lasting value of your home. A new roof can also be an insurance against unwanted roof leaks, house water damage, and a very costly roof failure, especially in the middle of winter.
Cost Recouped: A typical roof replacement has an average cost-to-value return (cost recouped at the time of sale) of about 70%. A metal roof has an average cost-to-value return of about 85.9% in the mid-range pricing range.