What is Drip Edge, and Do I Need It?

When you look at your roof, you see the finished product. You probably don’t realize that your roofing system has multiple layers of different materials that come together to create the roof that protects you, your family, and your home’s contents. Most homeowners are not aware of all these layers and how they protect their homes.

A drip edge on your roof is essential to a quality roofing system. Learn what a drip edge is and why it’s such an important component of your roof.

What Is Drip Edge?

What is Drip Edge, and Do I Need It?

The drip edge is a type of metal flashing that roofing contractors install along the edge of a roofing system. The primary purpose of this drip edge is to keep water away from your roof’s fascia, which prevents water from getting under your roof’s finish.

Even though your roof has a membrane under it that reduces the likelihood of water damage, you need to have a drip edge to reduce the amount of water that reaches the membrane. Underlayment, whether felt or synthetic, is not designed to deal with a lot of water.

You’ll also have to replace your old drip edge when replacing your roof. This is important because some roofing contractors will leave it out of your estimate. Leaving out the drip edge allows them to provide a lower estimate to beat their competitors’ prices. If you receive an estimate that doesn’t include drip edge installation, you should insist on it.

One of the benefits of a drip edge is that it extends your roof’s lifespan. When water can’t get under the edge of your roof, your sheathing, underlayment, and roofing finish benefit from this added layer of protection.

Do I Have to Have a Drip Edge?

Depending on where you live, building codes may require you to install a drip edge on your roof. Local codes and ordinances often require homeowners to have a drip edge on their roofs to reduce the risk of homes becoming damaged by rain, ice, and snow.

These codes also sometimes dictate the drip edge installation process. For instance, local codes may require a drip edge overlap of no less than two inches. Even if you don’t live in an area with a drip edge requirement, you should still probably install one regardless.

Your contractor will know if your local government requires installing a drip edge. As a homeowner, you should take the time to inform yourself about local ordinances before installing or repairing your roof. That way you’ll know what your roofing contractor is talking about when they review their estimate with you.

Signs of Damaged Drip Edge

Because of its position in your roofing system, drip edge isn’t easily damaged. The drip edge goes between your roof’s underlayment and the finish. When properly installed, the drip edge barely sticks out over the edge of your roof. This helps reduce the likelihood of your drip edge suffering damage.

High winds can damage your drip edge. In some cases, high winds can even peel back asphalt shingles. Those same high winds can potentially bend the drip edge on your home.

Heavy hailstones may also damage your drip edge. Depending on the type of roof on your home, hail stones can cause cracks to form. The drip edge is very thin, so big hailstones can bend, dent or crack it.

If you notice water spots on your ceilings, especially those around the edge of your home, you probably have damaged the drip edge. Look around the spots where your external walls meet your ceilings for brown spots after heavy rainfall.

How much does drip edge replacement cost?

The drip edge is one of the most affordable parts of your roof. Based on national averages, drip edge costs approximately $2.00 per linear foot, including labor, drip edge installation on an average-sized home costs around $1,000.

Does drip edge come with a warranty?

Yes. Most drip edge manufacturers include a warranty that covers the replacement cost for up to 20 years.

A properly installed drip edge protects your home’s interior while adding years to your roof’s life expectancy. Being informed about every part of your home’s roofing system not only ensures that you know how to look for signs of damage but also helps you plan for the cost of having your roof repaired or replaced.