What is a Drip Edge on a Roof?

In a roofing system, a drip edge is an essential material that’s applied to a roof’s edge.  Essentially, a drip edge is a metal flashing, tilted to direct water away from the roof to prevent damage, allowing the water to appropriately filter out of the roofing system.

Homeowners know that where water lingers, damage occurs.  It means expensive repairs and a host of other issues that come with it, like mold, mildew, structural problems—just to name a few.  A roofing system is no exception, thus emphasizing the importance of the drip edge.  Without it, a perfectly good roof could face an untimely end by tears, water damage, and fissures.

A drip edge fits on top of the roof’s exterior cover, sandwiched between the sheathing and the fascia board.  This placement forms a drainage gap between the fascia board and the drip edge, so when rain hits the roof, the water flow is dramatically improved and the roof is saved from any potential water damage.

Types of Drip Edges

There are two main types of drip edges:

Hemmed Drip Edge: this open-hemmed drip edge prevents water from traveling upward, or wicking, past and behind the drip edge metal.  It’s applied with metal and standing seam roofing.

L Drip Edge: this type of drip edge is used on low-incline roofs.  They’re set on atop a roof deck and fascia board.

Why Some Roofs Don’t Have a Drip Edge

A drip edge can actually be installed before or after a roof is in place, so if you’ve moved into a home that doesn’t have a drip edge, it’s not too late to put one in to protect and prolong the roof.

The decision to skip the drip edge is one with the intent of simply cutting costs, but little does the homeowner realize that they’ll be paying the price later down the road.  Sometimes, this is a choice made by homeowners to save some extra money, but other times it’s one made by a roofing company to purposefully lower a bid to secure a job, hoping that the customer won’t notice the absence of a drip edge.

Regardless, a drip edge can extend the longevity of your roof, protecting the entire system and supporting structure against water damage so you won’t be faced with expensive repairs.  You should have your roof inspected annually, and if you’ve just moved into a new home, it’s a good time to ask a professional roofing company if your roof has a drip edge.  If it doesn’t, then consider getting one installed to protect its system and your home.

Installation of a Drip Edge

How is a drip edge installed?  If the shingles are already in place, a drip edge can still be installed.  Roofers tend to choose a warm day during the hotter seasons because it allows them to strip the shingles back to begin the installation process.  They’ll typically begin at the lower corner of your roof and make their way to the top, raising the shingles and sliding the top portion of the drip edge underneath the shingle layer.

The ends of the drip edge are secured into position with roofing nails, against the roof’s covering (but not pushed through the fascia).  As the roofing nails are pushed through, the roofers place the shingles back as they continue their progress.

It’s essential to have professional roofers install your drip edge because an unsuccessful overlay could result in a problem commonly known as back-flowing gutters.  This issue involves water being directed behind the drip edge instead of flowing directly into the gutter and later away from your home.  It can result in the dreaded water damage to not just your roofing system, but also your house’s structure.

In the case of back-flowing gutters, the overlap could be too short.  The solution can be to fix it by ensuring the drip edge is directly beneath the first row of shingles and its exterior edge is extending beyond past the gutter.  Another common problem is that the gutter is lower than the drip edge’s bottom edge.  Roofers can install flashing behind the drip edge as a solution, and over the gutter’s back edge to eliminate a gap and increase proper water flow.

The Importance of a Drip Edge

Drip edges are unfortunately eliminated in roofing projects to cut costs, win projects, and as a cheap way to save an extra buck.  In the long run, it’s more damaging to the roof and the home to skip the drip edge, and in reality, this feature is technically designed to be a part of any shingle roof manufacturer’s installation process, per recommendation of roofing associations.

Be sure to check with a trusted, certified, and professional roofing company about your current roof and whether or not it has a drip edge. Consider having your roofers install a drip edge in the summer months to better protect your roofing investment.

Roofing Company Reputation

At Feldco, we have a strong reputation for great quality asphalt shingles and colors that will complement your home. We are a cutting edge company that supplies homeowners with shingles that will protect your home from strong winds, snow, ice and rain. That’s why thousands of homeowners choose Feldco over competitors. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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