Updated Jan 12, 2023
Updated Jan 12, 2023
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Maybe you’re replacing your roof, or perhaps you’re starting from scratch with a new home build, and as you move through the process, you come across the question of whether to install drip edges. For many homeowners, drip edges don’t even come to mind when they think of a new roof, and most don’t know what they are. However, before you write off drip edges as an unnecessary expense, you might want to think twice.
Drip edges can be an excellent way to prevent common roof issues (rot, mold, and mildew), so if you’re building a home or replacing a roof, now is a great time to add them to your project. This article reviews drip edges to help you decide if they’re a worthwhile addition, so continue reading to learn more.
Find a contractor near you to begin the process of adding a drip edge to your roof.
A drip edge is a type of metal flashing attached to the edges of the roof and overhang. It aids in keeping water away from the fascia and preventing damage to the roofing underlayment. When you don’t install drip edge flashing, water can seep behind the gutters on your home, rotting your roof’s decking components and fascia board.
In many areas of the United States, drip edge roof flashing is mandatory, as local building codes often outline requirements surrounding this flashing. There are a few scenarios where drip edge roof flashing might not be necessary, but it’s best to double-check with the local building code.
Drip edges are a wise idea for nearly any home, but before you add them to your roofing project, you should consider a few things. The chart below outlines the pros and cons of drip edges, but continue reading beyond the chart for an in-depth look at each point.
Adding drip edge roof flashing to your home, whether it’s required or not, can be beneficial for several reasons. The main selling point of drip edges is their ability to protect metal roofing and traditional asphalt shingle roofs against rain and ice. While your gutter system does a great job of moving water away from your home, some water may run back along the roof, into your soffits, and toward your home. When this happens, the water can seep into your roof, damaging the fascia and other components.
Moisture in these areas can cause issues, especially when they continue for extended periods. Water damage, including mold, rot, and mildew, can create significant problems in your roof that are expensive to repair, so investing in drip edges is a good idea.
In addition, adding this flashing to your home can help keep pests and rodents out of your attic. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals seek warm, dry places, so the interior of your attic is the perfect place. Unfortunately, they can cause many issues, so they’re usually unwelcome guests. Adding flashing and silicone to the perimeter of your roof can make it extra tricky for these animals to work their way in, so it’s a good idea.
While drip edge roof flashing is an excellent addition to nearly any home, there are a few potential drawbacks. For example, if you’re building a new home or replacing your roof, you’ll have to pay more to have your roofing contractor install this flashing. Of course, it might not be very much, but it could be problematic if you weren’t budgeting for it.
In addition, improper installation can lead to a host of issues. In some cases, improper installation may render the flashing useless, allowing the same problems to occur. So, it’s essential to avoid cutting corners on this project, as failing to install them properly can lead to issues.
While installing drip edge roof flashing isn’t the most expensive roofing-related project, it can add a substantial amount to your final bill. The chart below outlines costs based on a few factors, including material, labor, and average installed price ranges.
|Aluminum Drip Edge Flashing||$3 to $10 per 10 linear feet|
|Galvanized Steel Drip Edge Flashing||$3 to $10 per 10 linear feet|
|Copper Drip Edge Flashing||$35 to $75 per 10 linear feet|
|Average Installed Cost||$1 to $2 per linear foot|
|Labor Average Cost Range||$45 to $75 per hour|
Each home is different, so the cost of your roofing project will vary from someone else’s. Due to the variation in each project, it’s tricky to pinpoint the exact cost of installing drip edge roof flashing. Here are a few factors that might drive or lower the price of your project:
The size of your home (or the roof) is one of the main factors that impact the cost of your project. Larger homes require extra materials and more labor time to complete the task, so they tend to cost more than their smaller comrades.
Some homes have trickier roof installations than others. For example, they might have numerous peaks and valleys or a steep slope, complicating the installation process. These factors will affect how pricey it is to install your new drip edge roof flashing. The trickier the project, the more it’ll cost.
For the most part, labor for this type of job is relatively constant, running anywhere from $45 to $75 per hour. However, some companies have higher overhead costs, and some areas have a high cost of living, so labor rates can vary. In many cases, labor costs are higher in cities with high living costs, but this varies from one location to the next. Additionally, the warranty may vary between roofers too.
There are several types of drip edge roof flashing to choose from, and the style you choose will impact how costly your project is. Certain materials are pricier than others, so if you select a more expensive material, you can expect to pay more for your project.
There are a few different types of roof drip edges to choose from, some pricier than others. Although each option serves the same general function (escorting water away from areas it shouldn’t be), each type is slightly different in shape and application.
|Roof Drip Edge Type||Summary|
|Type C||This type of edging has an L-shape design with a 90-degree bend at the lower flange.|
|Type D||This T-shaped flashing features a bent lower flange at the bottom.|
|Type F||This edging utilizes a longer leading edge, creating a slightly different profile.|
|Gutter Apron||These are used with gutters to help ensure water doesn’t squeeze through the gap between the sheathing and fascia board.|
|Rake Edge||These protect the frieze boards by escorting water away from your home, ensuring it doesn’t run down the siding.|
|Gravel Stop||This component runs along the perimeter of low-sloped roofs, aiding by protecting the side of the home.|
|Chimney Cap||These feature a sheet metal design that sends water to the roof instead of down the chimney.|
|Coping||This is used on parapet walls to prevent water from damaging the wall. There are two edges that work together to achieve this effect.|
Type C roof drip edges feature an L-shaped design with a 90-degree bend at the bottom. The sharp angle of the lower flange sends water efficiently away from the home’s siding and fascia.
This type of roof drip edge features a lower flange at the bottom of the flashing, mimicking the shape of a capital T – the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association advocates for the use of this particular type.
This roof drip edging has a longer leading edge, giving it a slightly different profile than other types. This is usually the easiest type to work with if you’re installing a new drip edge over existing shingles or atop rake edges.
Sometimes, gutter aprons are referred to as a type of drip edging. However, some roofing companies don’t view these as authentic drip edging.
Gutter aprons are typically the first metal piece contractors install on a roofing system. A gutter apron helps protect the gap between the fascia board and roof sheathing, which aids in whisking water away from the house by directing it into the gutter. In addition, it prevents insects and animals from entering the eaves and attic.
Rake edges are another component often considered drip edges. However, like gutter aprons, some professionals don’t view them as actual drip edges.
Like a gutter apron, rake edges whisk water away from your home. However, since gutters aren’t commonly fitted on rakes, these flashings prevent water from leaking down the masonry, trim boards, and siding.
This type of metal edge flashing is used to terminate a roof membrane at the edge of a low-slope roof. Gravel stops feature a flange that ensures loose gravel or ballast doesn’t wash off the roof. It works similarly to rake edge flashing, as it protects the side of the building from water damage due to runoff.
Also known as chase covers, this type of flashing is usually composed of sheet metal. Each cap features a taper that ensures positive drainage to the edge of the cap. As the name implies, this type of flashing goes on the chimney, as it helps send draining water onto the roof system instead of down the sides of the chimney, which can create issues.
This particular type of flashing is common with parapet walls and features two separate drip edges (one on the inside of the wall and one on the outside). Coping protects the top side of the wall from water intrusion and terminates the roof membrane.
This style features a minor taper that forces water to drain back onto the roof, where it ends up in roof drains or cutters.
Installing drip edge is relatively easy, but it can require extra steps if the roof is already in place. The easiest way to install drip edge is by adding it to a roof replacement project or new build. Since the drip edge is one of the first parts of the roof to go in, it’s easier to complete without the shingles or roofing material in the way.
The process is entirely doable (even if the roof is pre-existing), even as an advanced DIY project, so you can always complete the task yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. However, installing this edging on higher portions of the roof can be tricky, as you’ll need to be able to access those areas.
Hiring a professional might be better if you don’t have the materials and tools to complete the project. The process is usually relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other roofing-related projects. Most professionals charge around $2 per linear foot, including materials and labor. Or, if they charge by the hour, you can expect to pay anywhere from $45 to $75 per hour.
While you don’t necessarily need to have a drip edge on your roof (if your local building code doesn’t require it), it’s a good idea to consider adding it to your roof. It can help ward away unwanted roofing structure issues, like rot, mold, and mildew. So, while your local building code might not require you to have it, it’s certainly not a bad idea. Plus, the EPA recommends adding drip edges to all exposed roof edges.
Although you can add drip edges to an existing roof, completing the project as part of a new roof installation is easiest. When you add drip edges to an existing roof, the system might not be as watertight as it would be when installed as part of a new roof. That said, having a drip edge installed on an existing roof is better than no drip edge at all.
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