A Guide to Drip Edge on a Roof

Roofs are vital components to your home, protecting you and your loved ones from rain, snow and wind. While you may be familiar with basic roof parts like gutters and shingles, other pieces play essential roles in your home’s structure. Drip edges are one of these parts. What is a drip edge, and are they absolutely necessary?

What Is Drip Edge on a Roof?

A drip edge is a type of metal flashing installed on the edge of a roof. You may hear drip edge referred to as drip edge flashing or D-metal, and it overhangs just above the fascia — the visible band under your roof’s edge. This metal piece has an integrated flange that helps to direct water away from the fascia and guide it to the gutters.

Shingles sit on top of the drip edge to create a clean, finished look. To check if your existing roof has a drip edge, lift up your shingles and look for a metal piece nailed underneath. Newer homes will likely have this feature, but older ones may not.

The Advantages of Drip Edge

Drip edges may be a small detail on your roof, but they’re responsible for vital functions. A roof’s drip edge:

  • Prevents water damage. Since a drip edge helps direct water to your gutters, it can limit water damage during rainy days. Without the metal flange guiding water to the gutters, rainwater can run down the fascia and cause rot. When water continues to fall from the fascia, it can pool at your foundation and cause cracking. Drip edges are a helpful accessory for gutters to ensure they can steer rainwater away from your home.
  • Strengthens your roof. As drip edges direct water away from the fascia, they also add more stability to your deck boards during high winds. They also reinforce your roof line during the snowy season when ice dams build up along your gutters. This extra weight can cause damage over time, but a drip edge enables your roof to support the added weight. 
  • Seals gaps. While drip edges primarily serve to direct water to your gutters, they also act as sealants along the fascia of your roof. Without a drip edge, worn shingles and decking may begin to lift at the edges, leaving room for small animals to enter your attic and potentially damage your home’s structure. 
  • Extends roof life span. With all of the above functions working together, you can increase your roof’s longevity and improve its overall effectiveness. Your roof is critical for keeping you and your belongings safe and dry inside. With the small addition of a drip edge, your roof has the extra security measures to withstand the elements.

Materials Used for Drip Edges

With drip edges offering so many vital functions to your roof, material choice is essential for a lasting design. The standard materials for drip edge are:

  • Galvanized steel: Drip edges face all types of weather, so steel designs must be galvanized to prevent rusting. Higher gauge steel is the most reliable type for drip edge applications because it can withstand high winds.
  • Aluminum: This material is one of the more common choices for drip edges. While it may not have the same level of durability as galvanized steel, it will not corrode. You can also find it in many colors to match your roof and home for a clean look.
  • Copper: This sturdy metal provides the durability drip edge needs, and it adds a unique aesthetic quality to your roof. You may choose a copper style to add an eye-catching element along your fascia while creating a reliable roof drainage system. 

Drip Edge Types

While all drip edges offer the same function, there are a few different profiles a roofing professional will choose from when completing an installation. There are three types:

  • D-metal: This drip edge profile has a T shape with an extended top edge and a lower flange. D-metal drip edges are often the most preferred style because they direct water farther away from the fascia. 
  • L-style: The L-style or type C drip edge is the classic profile design for this roofing feature. It has a 90-degree angle and a lower flange to guide water to gutters. 
  • Gutter apron: These drip edges are also known as F style because they have an even longer leading edge than D-metal types. This style is most commonly used when installing drip edges on top of existing shingles or rake edges on gable roofs.

How Much Does Drip Edge Cost?

Roofing professionals will typically charge by the foot for drip edge installations, so what you pay will depend on the size of your home and the material you choose. Galvanized steel and aluminum drip edges are comparable in costs, while copper styles will typically have a higher price. 

In addition to the per foot cost of the material, your roofing company will charge you for labor. If you’re having your roof replaced, these costs will easily integrate into the overall installation project.

Is Drip Edge Necessary on a Roof?

With all the advantages of a drip edge, it’s worth the investment, and it’s also a legal requirement. Chapter 9 of the International Residential Code (IRC) requires all shingle roofs to have drip edges at the eaves and rake edges. This code also gives specifications for installation to ensure a secure fit and reliable function.

This residential code is still relatively new, so if you own an older home, you may not have drip edges installed under your shingles. Any roof professional who assesses your home will likely recommend drip edges to protect the integrity of your roof and fascia. Installation professionals typically install drip edges when applying new shingles, but they can install a drip edge at any time. 

If you’re considering a roof replacement on your older home, you may want to install a drip edge along with your new shingles.

Choose Coldstream Exteriors for Your Roofing Needs

Coldstream Exteriors is your trusted roofing expert in the Greater Cincinnati, St. Louis and Tampa areas. As a fully insured construction company with over 25 years of experience, we can offer efficient services based on your needs. Whether you need your roof repaired or completely replaced, you can count on our team from start to finish. With competitive warranties and no money down until the project is complete, our customers can stay within budget and trust our work.

Our commitment to service has earned us many accolades, including an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Top Rated Pro status from HomeAdvisor. If your home needs a roof, siding or window replacement, request a free inspection today.