The Importance of Drip Edge

Drip edge metal protects the fascia from water running onto it, as well as protecting the underlying roof components. It’s a metal flashing that is shaped to the edge of roofs and goes over the eaves and up the gables.
IRC Book Cover
Drip edge comes in different colors, in our opinion, for shingles black is usually the most attractive. It gives the roof a dimensional type look. Listed below are some alternate color options, galvanized, brown and white respectively.
Gutter Glove Is Drip Edge

We will discuss the following aspects of drip edge:

  1. Commercial and residential drip edge and its purpose
  2. Drip edge and as it relates to local codes and insurance coverage.
  3. The necessity of drip edge verses using other products in its place

Commercial Vs. Residential Drip Edge and their purposes:

Commercial vs Residential

Drip edge is used in both commercial and residential locations. The main difference between the two is that commercial drip edge is larger. Commercial drip edge is larger because the adhesive tape used on the roof is larger on commercial jobs, and because the drop down from the roof to the gutters tends to be longer on commercial jobs. Other than these things drip edge in both commercial and residential serve the same purposes and are otherwise the same.

Commercial Cover Tape

IllustrationDon’t take an unnecessary gamble with your home, make sure you install drip edge. The risk of no drip edge is that water will hit the roof fascia or the decking/OSB boards and cause rot in those areas. (Notice the illustration to the right). This is critical when you consider that the decking is the foundation of your roof. Please see our roof decking page for more info on this subject. Looking beyond just rot, drip edge can help seal the gap area that often exists between fascia and deck board that animals can go in, and prevent these two areas from moving away from each other. Drip edge works by jutting out from the roof edge, ensuring water properly directs onto the gutters instead of the roof. Note that per manufacturer’s guidelines, the shingles overhang the drip edge, no more than ¾” on residential roofs. Last but not least, if you have read our article on ice and water shield, you already know that some areas of the US can experience “ice damming” from lack of proper underlayment. Installing a drip edge can help to prevent ice from refreezing onto soffits and eaves.

Drip edge and as it relates to local codes:

IRC Book Cover

Drip Edge is now code in any municipality that has adopted the IRC – International Residential Code. Although keep in mind that not all county codes require Drip Edge. In areas that they are not required insurance companies will often argue that since code does not require it that it is not a necessary addition to the roof. That is when you must supplement to get the drip edge done.

One way an insurance company will still be required to pay for your drip edge installation (even if you didn’t previously have it installed) is if you have a code upgrade provision in your policy. This provision states that your insurance company would be responsible for paying for necessary code upgrade costs for you. What some homeowners don’t realize is without this provision in their policy local codes can be updated to require things like drip edge, but insurance companies can put the cost back on you. Requiring you to pay for this sort of code required work out of pocket. This is because a policy without this provision only requires an insurance company to repair a roof to its “as is” state. Meaning the condition it was in prior to needing the work done.

The necessity of drip edge verses using other products in its place:

So if drip edge is so critical to have, and sometimes a cost the homeowner must incurre themselves, is there anything you can use as a substitute drip edge?

Occasionally other roofing or gutter materials can act as a drip edge. This can include fascia metal with roofing metal edge at the gables, and drip edge at the eaves. Essentially what you are doing is bending existing metal into a drip edge shape with the goal of redirecting water flow the same way. While certainly better than nothing its efficiency level varies greatly depending on how well the metal is bent.

Aluminum Fascia

See below for GAF Technical Bulletin Guidelines on using Drip Edge:

GAF Technical Advisory Bulletin

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