DIY Rain Chain Installation

Outdoor, Projects
DIY rain chain installation

A DIY rain chain installation served double duty as both a point of interest at our front entry and a water handling solution.

During our recent roof and gutter replacement, we re-routed several downspouts to address drainage issues in our yard. One narrow roof overhang now ends right by our front door without a natural place for a full downspout. We decided to install a black rain chain to coordinate with our black front door handleset. Our DIY rain chain installation was quick and easy, but like most of our projects, not without some trial and error.

Rain chain with water

As we had a serious rain storm only days after our DIY rain chain installation, we quickly tested the rain chain’s performance. The water streaming down the rain chain looked beautiful and sounded lovely. Probably more important, it perfectly handled the volume of rain and prevented the dirt from splashing up onto the house.

If you’re looking for more ways to spruce up your yard, try a spray paint mailbox makeover or transforming a tree stump into a flower bed!

Select Style for DIY Rain Chain Installation

Rain chains come in a variety of styles and finishes, from simple link chains to elaborate buckets. To determine the necessary chain length, measure from the gutter to where the rain chain will end – either at the ground or to the top of a basin. Rain chains are available in various lengths, with 8 1/2’ as a widely available length. Some styles and finishes are also available in a 3’ extension piece.

DIY Rain Chain Installation Supplies:

DIY rain chain installation materials

Install Rain Chain Into Gutter

Installation was not complicated, but required patience.

Gutter adapter piece for DIY rain chain installation

We purchased a black gutter adapter to transition from the gutter and secure the chain. Despite my best efforts at comparing measurements, the chain I purchased was larger than the adapter and didn’t fit inside.

Downspout from gutter

We decided to insert the chain into the short downspout piece already attached to our gutter.

The rain chain came with a cross bar at the top to hold the chain into the gutter. Needing to shorten the cross bar to fit into the gutter, we bent up one side using two sets of pliers.

Black rain chain installed into gutter

With lots of wriggling, twisting, pivoting, and a little finesse, we fit the cross bar up and into the gutter. Once inside, we secured the rain chain by making sure the cross bar spanned the downspout opening.

Join Two Rain Chain Lengths If Needed

Join two rain chains for longer length

I decided on a double loop style in black and needed 10 1/2’. An extension for the black double loop wasn’t easily available, so I purchased two 8 1/2’ lengths (less expensive than a single 12’ length). To avoid wrestling with the weight of two chains while installing into the gutter, we attached a single chain to the gutter, then joined the second chain.

Cut link with combination pliers

While some rain chains have links that can be opened (making joining easy), the double loop links are welded together. We cut the top loop on the second chain with combination pliers (pliers with gripping jaws and cutters); heavy-duty diagonal cutting pliers also work. Depending on the chain material, a hacksaw may be required.

Attached two chains together for DIY rain chain installation

Then, open the loop and thread it onto the bottom of the first chain.

Two black rain chains joined together
Use zip tie to hold joined rain chain loop together after epoxy

We glued the cut loop with waterproof black epoxy, using a zip tie to hold the cut ends together while the epoxy dried.

Secure Rain Chain With Anchor

Rain chain attached to anchor

An anchor prevents the rain chain from moving around and prevents damage to the house and chain.

Secure anchor into ground by hammering onto wood to protect finish

To protect the black finish, we placed a piece of wood on top of the anchor and hammered on the wood, driving the anchor into the ground. We then cut the excess rain chain with pliers.

Our anchor came with a silver chain attached with a silver ring. Since we had plenty of rain chain, we removed the silver chain, leaving just the silver ring.

Attach rain chain to anchor

We opened the ring on the anchor with pliers, fed the rain chain through, then squeezed the ring closed.

Stay tuned for part two of our DIY rain chain installation – creating a basin to gather and direct the water into our drainage system.

DIY rain chain installation

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