Drip edges are incredibly useful, but many people need help figuring out how to install them or how they work. What is a drip edge? It is a type of metal flashing that protects the roof and building structure, directs water away from the roof and base, and enhances the roof’s aesthetic appeal.
Since our founding in 1987, The Roof Doctors has been offering comprehensive roofing services to its customers, including the installation of drip edges. By the end of this article, you will have gained an essential understanding of your roof’s components, including the drip edges.
What are the types of drip edges?
There are several types of drip edges that can be used in roofing, each with its own unique features and benefits. The type of drip edge that is best suited for a particular roofing project will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of roof, the style of the building, the budget, and the specific needs and requirements of the project.
They can be made of various materials, such as aluminum, galvanized steel, or PVC. Still, aluminum is the most common material used due to its durability, corrosion resistance, and low cost. Some of the most common types of drip edges include:
Standard Drip Edge:
This is the most common type of drip edge and is typically made of aluminum or galvanized steel. Standard drip edges are typically L-shaped, with a flange extending out from the roof’s edge and a leg extending down the roof. They are usually installed along the eaves and the rakes of the roof and are designed to direct water away from the roof and the building.
Wide Flange Drip Edge:
This type of drip edge is similar to a standard drip edge but has a wider flange that extends out from the roof’s edge. The wider flange helps to provide additional protection against water infiltration and helps to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the roof.
Fascia Drip Edge:
This drip edge is designed to be installed along the fascia (the vertical board located at the roof’s edge) rather than along the eaves or the rakes. Fascia drip edges are typically used in situations where the eaves or the rakes are not easily accessible or when there is a need to direct water away from the fascia.
Stamped Drip Edge:
This type of drip edge is made of aluminum or galvanized steel and is designed to resemble wood or other natural materials. Stamped drip edges are typically used in residential and commercial buildings where a more natural or rustic look is desired.
Plastic Drip Edge:
This type of drip edge is made of PVC or other plastic materials and is a more affordable alternative to metal drip edges. Plastic drip edges are durable and resistant to corrosion, but they are not as strong as metal drip edges and may not be suitable for all roofing applications.
Custom Drip Edge:
This type of drip edge is designed and fabricated to meet a particular roofing project’s specific needs and requirements. Custom drip edges can be made of various materials and can be customized to match the style and color of the roof and the building.
It is important to work with a reputable and experienced roofing contractor to ensure that the right type of drip edge is selected and installed correctly. How can you ensure your drip edge is installed correctly?
Where are drip edges installed?
Drip edges are usually installed as part of the roofing process and are typically included in the roofing project cost. However, it is also possible to install drip edges as a separate project, especially if the roof is being replaced or repaired. In either case, it is important to hire a reputable and experienced roofing contractor to ensure that the drip edges are installed correctly and to the highest standards.
Drip edges should be placed along the roof’s eaves (the horizontal edge of the roof where it meets the wall) and the rakes (the vertical edges of the roof). They should be installed at the right height and in a way that allows them to overlap with the flashing.
Drip edges should be installed such that the bottom edge of the drip edge is flush with the roofing material. If the drip edge is installed too high or too low, it may not effectively direct water away from the roof and the building.
Drip edges should be fitted at the proper height and overlap the flashing (a protective layer of material that covers the joints between the roof and other building components). The drip edge is usually put over the flashing to provide a watertight barrier that prevents water from entering the roof or building.
It should overhang the flashing to prevent the roof from water infiltration. The drip margins’ size and placement depend on the roof’s size and slope and any special needs.
In addition to being installed along the eaves and the rakes, drip edges can also be installed along the fascia (the vertical board located at the roof’s edge). Fascia drip edges are typically used in situations where the eaves or the rakes are not easily accessible or when there is a need to direct water away from the fascia.
How are drip edges installed?
Now that you know what drip edges are and where they should be installed, how are they installed?
- To install a drip edge, the roofing contractor will typically start by measuring and cutting the drip edge to the appropriate length. The drip edge is then secured to the roof using nails or screws, with the bottom edge flushed with the roofing material.
- The contractor will then install flashing (a protective layer of material that covers the joints between the roof and other building components) along the edge of the roof, and the drip edge will be installed over the flashing. This helps to create a watertight seal that prevents water from seeping behind the drip edge and into the roof or the building.
Another important consideration when placing drip edges is the size and slope of the roof. It may be necessary to install drip edges along the rakes on steep roofs to direct water away from the roof and the building.
It may be sufficient to install drip edges only along the eaves on flat or low-sloped roofs. Drip edges are also sized by roof size and slope: Bigger roofs may need broader or longer drip edges to adequately guide water away from the roof and building.
DIY installation of a Drip Edge
The installation of a drip edge is typically performed by a roofing contractor, but if you want to DIY install it, the process usually involves the following steps:
- Measure the length of the eaves and rakes of the roof to determine the length of drip edge needed.
- Cut the drip edge to the appropriate length using a pair of tin snips. Install the drip edge along the roof’s eaves, ensuring that it extends past the edge of the roof by at least half an inch or that it sits flush with the trim board, depending on the roof type.
- Nail the drip edge in place using roofing nails or other appropriate fasteners (in California, the drip edge pieces are overlapped 3-5 inches).
- Install flashing along the rakes of the roof to channel water away from the edge of the roof if necessary. Shingle roofs have drip edges installed on both the eave and rake edges, while some tile roofs may not have drip edges or flashing in the rake edges of the roof
- Install the roofing material over the drip edge, ensuring that it overlaps the drip edge by at least half an inch. Some materials, such as tile underlayment, are installed first, and the drip edge is installed over the underlayment.
Why install a drip edge?
Next, we’ll look at the reasoning behind their installation after learning what they are, how they’re installed, and where they’re placed. Drip edges are usually installed at the eaves and the rakes to direct water away from the roof and the building (flashing), which helps to protect the roofing material, the structure of the building, and the foundation. Installing a drip edge is a building code that must be followed for the roof to pass inspection.
When it rains, water flows down the roof and hits the drip edge, which causes the water to be directed away from the roof and the building. This is especially important because water that accumulates on the roof or at the edges of the roof can cause damage to the roofing material, the structure of the building, and the foundation. Water that accumulates on the roof can also lead to the growth of mold and other harmful bacteria, which can compromise the integrity of the roof and the building.
Another important function of a drip edge is to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the roof. Drip edges can be a subtle yet effective way to add visual interest to the roof and the building. They can be customized to match the style and color of the roof and the building, which can help to create a cohesive and attractive look.
What can installing one help me avoid?
A drip edge is critical in protecting a roof’s integrity and the building it covers. Without a drip edge, water can seep underneath the roofing material and cause a range of problems, including:
- Rotting of the roof deck: Water that penetrates the roof can cause the wood decking to rot, weakening the roof’s structure.
- Mold and mildew growth: Water that accumulates underneath the roof can lead to the growth of mildew and mold, which can lead to health problems and damage to the building.
- Damage to the interior of the building: Water that seeps through the roof can cause damage to the interior of the building, including walls, ceilings, and insulation.
How is a drip edge maintained?
Once the drip edge is installed, it is important to maintain it to continue functioning properly. This typically involves regularly inspecting the drip edge for any signs of damage or wear and tear and repairing or replacing it as needed.
Maintaining a drip edge is essential to keep it clean and free of debris. This can be done by sweeping or blowing off leaves and other debris that accumulate on the drip edge. In addition, it is a good idea to inspect the drip edge regularly for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, dents, or rust. If the drip edge is damaged, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent water from entering the roof and causing further damage.
It is also important to check the surrounding areas of the drip edge, such as the gutters and downspouts. These should be kept clean and in good repair to ensure that water is properly directed away from the roof and the drip edge can function as intended.
Can a faulty drip edge cause a roof leak?
Yes, a faulty or damaged drip edge can potentially cause a roof leak. The drip edge is a flashing component that is installed at the edges of a roof, typically along the eaves and gables.
It prevents leaks by diverting water from the roof to the ground. Water may leak into the roof structure if the drip edge is not working properly.
There are several ways in which a drip edge can become faulty or damaged. For example, it may be damaged by strong winds or hail or become damaged over time due to exposure to the elements. In addition, a drip edge may be improperly installed, causing it to be ineffective at directing water away from the roof.
If you suspect a malfunctioning or damaged drip edge is causing your roof leak, fix it immediately. A roofer can evaluate the drip edge, assess the source, and offer repairs or replacements.
Ignoring a faulty drip edge can lead to further damage to the roof and the interior of your home, so it is important to address the issue promptly. Learn the 5 most common roof leaks to prevent leaks in your roof in our detailed article.