How to Install Rain Chains for Gutters

When it comes to directing rainwater away from your home, your options are usually more utilitarian than decorative. In general, gutter systems are designed to get a job done and keep your home safe and they don’t offer much in the way of aesthetics. However, with a rain chain, you can divert water where you need it to go and add a touch of beauty and unique style to your home’s exterior. 

Knowing how to install rain chains for gutters can help you create a look that will increase the home’s curb appeal and keep it safe from water damage. 

Safety Notes 

Installing a rain chain is a relatively simple project that shouldn’t take more than an hour to do. However, you may have to get up on a ladder to hang the chain and install the modifications to your gutter. When using a ladder, it is essential that you have someone with you to hold it steady. Don’t ever get on a ladder by yourself and always be certain that it is on flat, stable ground. Doing these checks before going up will help keep you safe and ensure that you don’t accidentally damage anything on the house’s exterior. 

Tools and Materials 


  • Tin snips 
  • Small shovel
  • Tape measure 
  • Gloves


  • Rain chain kit
  • Gravel
  • Hanging bar

How to Install Rain Chains for Gutters

Step 1: Remove the Downspout

In most cases, your rain chain will replace a downspout that is already installed on your gutter system. This makes it very easy to install the chain and allows you to be sure that the area it is draining into is acceptable for larger amounts of water. Once you have picked the downspout that it will replace, remove it from the downspout adapter on the gutter. 

Usually, you can simply pull the downspout off the metal skirt that is holding it on. If you are on the ladder when doing this, be sure that your footing is secure. 

Step 2: Dig Your Drainage Hole

Once you have removed the downspout, dig a hole underneath the opening in the gutter assembly. This is where the rain chain will drain water, so it needs to be at least six inches deep. Once you have dug the hole, fill it with gravel. Gravel helps disperse the water evenly into the ground and prevents flooding, which can damage your foundation or ruin the surrounding landscaping. 

If you like, you can also put a pot with drainage holes on top of the gravel for an extra bit of decorative flair. 

Step 3: Cut the Downspout Opening 

The downspout opening will usually be either three or four inches in diameter. This will most likely be too big for your rain chain, but there is an easy fix. Using the tin snips, cut the metal skirt surrounding the downspout opening into five or six equal sections. 

Then, while wearing gloves, push the pieces together to form a cone. This will give the water a funnel to drain into, which will then direct it onto the rain chain. 

Step 4: Add the Hanging Bar

Your rain chain kit should come with a hanging bar that sits in the gutter and gives the chain an anchor point to hang on. If your kit didn’t come with a hanging bar, they are available at most home and garden stores. Make sure that your bar is wide enough to cover the whole downspout opening with a little bit of extra wiggle room. 

As the water falls down the rain chain, it will most likely sway slightly. Having a hanging bar that is wide enough to allow for this movement will ensure that the chain stays in place.

Step 5: Secure the Chain

Once your hanging bar is attached, you can hang your rain chain in the downspout opening. Depending on how long you want your chain to be, you may want to secure it to an anchor point in the middle of the hole you filled with gravel. This will keep it from moving around too much in the wind and potentially coming off the hanging bar. It will also prevent the water from draining into other areas of the yard.

When to Contact a Professional

While installing rain chains for gutters isn’t a complicated job, it is still important that it is done correctly. Any time you are making modifications to your home’s exterior, you want to be sure that it will look professional and enhance the curb appeal. By having a professional install your rain chains, you can be certain that the result will be beautifully done. You can also be sure that it will work as well as a traditional downspout and that your home will be protected from excess rainwater.

A gutter professional will have all the tools and safety equipment necessary to do the job without getting injured or damaging any part of your home. By getting the right professional help, you can enjoy the unique look and feel of rain chains for your home’s gutter system.