Gutters and Downspouts: A Primer - Rain Chains Direct

Gutters and Downspouts: A Primer

An effective gutter system is necessary to manage the potentially damaging effects of rainwater around the home.  Faulty or improperly working gutter systems can lead to damage of siding, soil erosion, and even foundation damage.

Although gutters come in many varieties, most are typically seen in 4", 5", and 6" K-styles as well as half-round styles.  Depending on the slope of the roof wider gutters may be necessary to catch water that is coming off a more pitched roof at a greater velocity. 

Vertical leaders (whether conventional downspouts or rain chains) are used to capture and distribute the collected rainwater in the gutters to areas set apart from the structures foundation.  In areas where the landing zone of the water runoff is too close to the foundation a splash block can be used to direct the water further away from the foundation.  Areas where gutters and leaders connect should be maintained to keep debris such as leaves free from clogging up the system.  There are certain products such as gutter guards that can help to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging the gutter system.

Leader diameters are typically 2" x 3" however larger sizes are sometimes used for larger roofs and more efficient drainage.  Virtually any size leader can feed a rain chain with a standard gutter reducer attachment.  Gutter systems are typically available in galvanized steel, aluminum and copper.  Copper gutters have the commonly desired effect of gaining a patina finish over time.  Rain chains made of copper will also gain this patina over time.

While guttering systems are typically needed to effectively manage water runoff from the roof, many times the vertical, typically rectangular, metal downspouts can be aesthetically off-putting.  Often they are installed in such a way as to hide the apparatus as much as possible.  This is one of the added advantages of rain chains is that not only do they function as an effective downspout, but they also have the added benefit of looking great and accenting the architecture of a structure.

gutters and downspouts

  Conventional gutter system


gutter with rain chain

  Gutter system with rain chain