Drip edges are metal sheets, usually shaped like an “L,” installed at the edge of the roof. Also called drip edge flashing or D-metal, they serve a vital function by directing water away from the fascia and into the gutter. Without a drip edge, water may end up beneath the shingles and may cause damage to various parts of the home. Though your home may not have originally had a drip edge installed, drip edges are now required by most building codes across North America to protect homes from damage.
Drip edges have two key purposes:
Drip edges are made of various plastics and metals, which are both acceptable under most building codes so long as the metals are corrosion-resistant or galvanized.
While plastic, vinyl and fiberglass drip edges may also be available in your area, these materials are best suited for use in nonroofing applications, such as above doors and windows.
There are three basic profiles of drip edge flashing, but each goes by more than one name, which can be confusing.
Type C: This is the classic “L”-shaped drip edge, sometimes called “L style.”
Type D: This profile of drip edge is shaped like a “T,” with a lower flange at the bottom.
Roof drip edges are generally sold in 10.5-foot lengths, but they are occasionally sold in 8-foot lengths or smaller. The length of the overhang itself commonly ranges from 2 to 5 inches. You may find other styles and sizes of drip edges in the store, including “J-channel” drip edges, but these are intended for windows, doors and other applications. You may also find vented drip edges, but the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) does not recommend using them on roofs.
It’s important to understand that drip edge installation is different for eaves and rakes. After your roof deck has been prepared, and before you install underlayment, you need to install drip edges at the eaves. You install drip edges on the rakes after you install the underlayment. Plus, this step-by-step guide to drip edge installation will also explain how to cut drip edges for corners and peaks.
Step Two: Install drip edges on the eaves first.
Step Three: Use roofing nails to secure the drip edge. Ideally, you’d nail about every 12 inches, and in no circumstances should you have 16 inches or more between nails.
Step Six: Install the drip edge as normal.
Image provided by CASMA
Step Seven: Once you’ve covered the eaves with a drip edge, it’s time to install your underlayment.
Step Nine: Install the rake’s drip edge on top of the flap
Step Eleven: Fold the drip edge to fit over the ridge.
You should always check with your local building code to see if there are any extra rules you are required to follow during drip edge installation.
What if you need to replace the drip edge on an existing roof or install a drip edge on an existing roof for the first time? It can be done; here’s how:
Just as with installing drip edges on new roofs, you should check with your local building codes to see if there are special rules you have to follow about drip edge replacement.
In years past, many building codes did not require drip edges; but the roofing community realized that these relatively inexpensive products make a big difference in the performance of the roof. By installing drip edges properly, you’ll be giving your customers a better roofing system.
If you’ve discovered your roof is missing a drip edge, or has a damaged drip edge, you can get in touch with a roofing contractor through our Contractor Locator to get professional advice.
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