Have you ever looked up at your roof and wondered how the flow of water is so well managed as it runs off? Some will tell you it’s because the roof has an effective “Drip Edge” on it, but what is the drip edge on a roof?

The drip edge is metal flashing placed at the edge of the roof used to direct water away from the fascia and keep it from going under the roof’s components. Without a drip edge in place, water can seep behind gutters causing wood rot to the roof deck and fascia board.

In making sure the flow of water is directed away from the fascia, the roof drip edge helps to ensure that a roof endures no serious or lasting water damage.

When looking at your roof, the drip edge is among the smallest-looking components, perhaps 10.5 feet in length but only about 2.5 inches wide. Small as it seems, that edge product is arguably the most crucial element in preventing water penetration to your roofing materials and protecting the rest of your home.

Material for Drip Edges

Drip edges are made from a range of materials, including aluminum, galvanized steel, and copper. Aluminum isn’t as durable as steel in pure strength terms, but it is more resistant to corrosion. It’s a common material that is an easy choice because it is sold in many colors.

The steel drip edges must be galvanized; otherwise, they will be susceptible to rust. The typical drip edge is made using a minimum 24-gauge steel. The advantage of steel is that it is more wind resistant.

Finally, copper is a solid choice that also offers an interesting aesthetic to the rooftop. Any copper used for a drip edge needs to be at least 0.69mm in thickness (or 20 ounces).

Other drip edges exist made from plastic and vinyl, but these are not suitable for roof application. If you need drip edges for your doors or windows, plastic/vinyl options are perfectly viable.

What Types of Drip Edges Are There?

There are three types of drip edges: hemmed (T-Style, D-metal), L-shaped (L-style), and F-style (gutter apron).

The hemmed drip edge features an opened backward-folding hemmed edge at the bottom. Using capillary action, it keeps water moving down from the fascia protecting homes from damage. If you have a standing seam and metal roofing, then it’s most likely you have T-style drip edges.

The classic “L”-shaped drip edge gets its name from the 90-degree angle in its structure and shorter flange. This type suits roofs with a shallower incline.

The F-style drip edge is quite similar to L-shaped drip edges construction but with a longer leading edge. The result is dripping happening at a greater distance from the roof and sometimes over the gutter.

Benefits of a Drip Edge

If your house doesn’t currently have drip edges, then you should consider investing in them as soon as possible.Water damaged roof deck
Drip edges do a lot more than redirect water. They give many vital protections to your home:

Your Home’s Edges are Safeguarded

Whether it’s the edges of your fascia board or those of your roof deck, drip edges perform the crucial function of stopping the formation of standing water near your home’s edges and foundation. You might think a bit of rain is harmless, but when it’s left sitting, it can do real (and expensive) damage to your home.

Avoid Costly Repairs and Extend Your Roof Life

Roof repair and replacement is an expensive business. The website HomeAdvisor states that the national average roof repair cost is $938, with some spending as much as $1,539. Even small roof repairs can cost up to $400, and a roof replacement will set you back between $5,100 and $10,000 on average.

How Are Drip Edges Installed?

To install a drip edge costs as little as $1-2 per linear foot, according to HomeAdvisor. The exact cost may vary depending on your house size and your geographical location. It’s a solid investment that helps extend roof life and put off the chances of repairs being needed in the first place. But how are drip edges installed?

  • To install a drip edge costs as little as $1-2 per linear foot, according to HomeAdvisor. The exact cost may vary depending on your house size and your geographical location. It’s a solid investment that helps extend roof life and put off the chances of repairs being needed in the first place. But what is the drip edge installation process?
    • Step 1: The first stage should be laying down a wooden “furring edge,” especially when an L-style drip edge is installed. It helps to keep the lower flange further from the house edge.
    • Step 2: The first places to get drip edges are usually the eaves of your house. The drip edges are placed down and lined up with the gutters to ensure water will run into them. The flange end points down and away from the roof.
    • Step 3: The drip edges are nailed in place high up on their surface so that the roofing shingles will cover the nails. The roofing nails should typically not have a gap larger than 16 inches between them.
    • Step 4: When the installer reaches a corner or an eave, they have to make a cut in the edges to make them fit properly. They can then be bent to form corners and thus fit any shape of the roof neatly. On the eaves, they will also leave a flap open that will be completed when they start installing the drip edges on the roof rakes.
    • Step 5: After the eaves are done, the installation moves to the underlayment and then onto the rakes. This order isn’t arbitrary. It ensures proper coverage as you complete the installation.
    • Step 6: Upon reaching the corners where eaves and rakes meet, it’s important to install the drip edge for the rake on top of the flap that you had left in step 4. Another cut with tin snips will be needed when you reach the roof ridge on any part of the drip edge that exceeds the roof.
    • Step 7: The final stage is folding the drip edge over the corner and marking the plumb (center) line. The topmost part of the drip edge is cut along this line and can be held in place with one additional roofing nail.

Do Drip Edges Cover Gaps?

If there are gaps between your fascia and your roof, then drip edges will cover those. This will help keep any excess moisture, including wind driven rain, out of your roof completely. Even better, it will help to prevent insects and other pests from taking root in your attic.

Extra Protection in Winter

If you experience harsh winters with a lot of snow and ice, then drip edges will be a big help. Ice tends to build up on the fascia without drip edges installed, and snow will also sit on the edge, weighing it down. With a drip edge, the ice can form there instead, where it’s sturdier, and the burden of the snow on the roof edge can also be greatly lightened.

Besides supporting the roof by lifting the burdens of snow and ice, drip edges will also make a roof sturdier by stopping any possible movement of the fascia. It effectively locks things in place and creates a more solid overall structure. You need that when the worst of nature’s elements are beating against it.

Gutters Work Better with Drip Edges

After installing drip edges, water gets to your gutters far more easily and with a nice steady flow. The gutters’ performance is often affected by a sudden deluge of water, but the drip edge will help manage it better. With water moving along continuously and steadily, the risk of a clogged gutter is greatly reduced.

Some think that if they have roof shingles hanging over the edge, that will be a good enough substitute for drip edges. This isn’t the case. Most shingle roofs suffer wear and tear quite easily and are less durable than metal drip edges. This is especially true in wind driven rain and extreme weather.

If you have any questions or need any help with your home’s exterior, contact your local roofing contractor, Dunsmore Exteriors today!