DIY Mini-Gutters to Collect Rain Water

Rain water is often touted to be very good for watering garden plants. In fact, many gardeners prefer to collect rain water with rain barrels and other rain harvesting systems.

For several months, this writer contemplated on how to collect rain water that drips and flows down the sides of a concrete structure during thunderstorms in the rainy season. When it rains, pools of water appear everywhere at the ground perimeter of the structure. It causes a couple of problems.

First, all that rainwater that could otherwise be collected for future watering of garden plants goes to waste. This is even when several buckets are lined below the structure. This is because much of the rainwater cascading down the structure's walls still splash away from the buckets or the buckets can't be positioned correctly.

Second, the water that collects below the structure creates a big mess and continually keeps the floor slippery.

Shown below is the concrete outdoor structure where much rainwater flows down from its sides when there is heavy rain. The structure is 1.5 meters high, 1.5 meters long and 1 meter wide.

Mini Rain Gutters to Collect Rainwater

Rain gutters are practical for funneling rainwater away from a roof's house down to pipes in catch basins or storm drains. But for the above structure, the normal house rain gutters would be an overkill and become obtrusive for their size.

A viable light-duty solution would be to fabricate mini rain gutters that can be easily attached to the sides of the structure. They should be light enough not to require drilling on the structure and small enough so they don't protrude out too much.

Aluminum Materials for Improvised Rain Gutters

Aluminum J-clips and U-clips may be used as mini rain gutters. These are standard materials are used in assembling the frames of aluminum doors and windows with screens. They usually come in 8-foot lengths and are inexpensive. Some of them have decorative ridges on one side. These materials may be found and purchased in aluminum and glass shops that specialize in fabricating and installing aluminum doors and windows.

This project makes use of J-clips as the main material for the mini rain gutters.

Assemble and Install the Homemade Mini Rain Gutters

  • Aluminum J-Clips
  • Sealant
  • Duct Tape
  • Plastic Bottle
  • Flexible Plastic Pipe/Hose
  • Hacksaw

  1. With a pencil draw out lines where the mini-gutters will be positioned. In this project, mini-gutters will be installed on two sides of the structure only.

  2. Determine the length of the J-Clips that will be cut so they will become the mini-gutters. Consider the length of the wall where you will be receiving the rainwater. Also consider the slope of the rain gutter to determine the final length. A steeper slope will be longer and will allow the rainwater to rush down along the rain gutter.

  3. Cut the correct length of the gutters and take into consideration the joints at one end of the rain gutters.

  4. Apply sealant on one side of the gutter as shown below. This side has the decorative ridges and provides a rough surface resulting on a stronger bond with the sealant.

  5. Position the first rain gutter on the drawn out line and press firmly so the sealant is adequately sandwiched between the gutter and the concrete. Add pieces of duct tapes to secure the gutter as the sealant dries and hardens.

  6. With your finger, apply more sealant at the top edge of the gutter to provide a cleaner seal. Ensure there are no gaps where rain water may deposit.

  7. Shown below is the joint of the first mini gutter. Note how it was cut using a hacksaw so that it will match the end joint of the second rain gutter that will flow into it. The pencil line on the left is where the second rain gutter will be positioned.

  8. Shown below is the end joint of the second rain gutter. It was cut with a hacksaw and provides a good fit to join with the first rain gutter.

  9. Apply sealant on the rough side of the second rain gutter and press it firmly on the drawn line.

    Carefully position the end joint so it matches cleanly with the end joint of the first rain gutter. Allow to dry and harden.

  10. Apply sealant on the top edges to provide a good seal and no gaps are present between the structure and the rain gutters. Also apply sealant on edges where the two end joints meet. Shown below is the corner of the rain gutters.

  11. Here's another view of the corner and the entire first gutter. See how it will allow water to flow down into the blue rain barrel positioned below.

  12. Here's a view of the corner and the entire second gutter. Notice the slopes of the the two rain gutters. The slope can vary between 10 to 20 degrees.

  13. A splash guard will need to be installed in this corner. Rain water coming down from the second gutter will rush down with so much force that it will hit the corner and come out.

    A splash guard in this corner will function as tunnel that will contain the splashing of the rain water and direct it down to the first rain gutter. The splash guard is made of a couple of the same J-clip material and installed on top of the gutters' corner.

  14. A plastic bottle whose bottom has been cut out is positioned at the end of the first mini-gutter. This bottle functions as a splash guard and funnel. The bottle is secured to the gutter with a piece of wire.

  15. Finally a piece of plastic flexible hose is attached to the bottle's mouth. The entire assembly then directs the flowing rainwater down the rain barrel.

    During the dry season, the bottle and hose assembly may be removed from the rain gutter.
The next article discusses the homemade rain barrel for rainwater that will water plants around the garden.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Unknown said...

Just scoping for ideas, but the main idea I ended up with is that it must not rain very much where you live!

Blackdove said...

Why did you say that, Imogene? We only have 2 seasons: dry and rainy seasons. We have monsoon rains brought about by typhoons in the rainy season. And the rain barrel fills up quickly.

Thanx for dropping by!