Downspouts and gutters, when clean and maintained, perform an amazing service for you at a relatively low cost. Rainwater cascades down the roof, hits the gutters, gets whisked to the nearest downspout, then courses to the ground. This saves your foundation and siding from ruin.
One problem: they tend to be fairly unattractive. Little thought is given to aesthetics when manufacturing these powder-coated steel tubes; function is the only thing in mind. Are there alternatives that look better and maybe even work better?
Downspout alternatives such as rain chains, inverted bells, and cups direct water in a more or less straight line to the ground or collection container. Some are literally chains. Others are a series of linked vertical cups, performing the same function as the chain-style ones.
- All alternatives replace downspouts entirely.
- They must be anchored at ground-level to prevent swaying.
- They lead to a collection point, whether a gravel-filled pit, barrel, or diversion device that channels water away from foundation.
- It often helps to have multiple chains that allow for better water direction.
- Done right, downspout alternatives rise beyond mere functionality and become an artistic touch that graces your home.
- Rain chains place style over function. Nothing can be more effective for directing water than the fully enclosed tube of a conventional downspout.
- At the ground-level end point, downspouts can lead directly into a diversion tube, effectively moving water as far away from the house as you wish. Alternatively, downspouts can run into concrete, plastic, or recycled rubber splash blocks, moving water more than three feet away. While rain chains can move water into tanks, it is difficult to accurately aim the water into diversion devices.
Source: The Spruce