What Is a Roof Drip Edge, and How Does It Work?

What Is a Roof Drip Edge

Your roof is the first line of defense against water entering your home. If any part of your roof fails, roof leaks can lead to water damage in your walls, floors, and even in your foundations, which can be incredibly costly to fix.

In addition to structures like gutters, your roof has many other components that help control water flow away from the building, reducing the chance of water damage and rot. If you’re already worried about water damage, give Authentic Restoration a call at (205) 982-5252 to schedule a consultation.

What Exactly Is a Roof Drip Edge?

A roof drip edge is a piece of metal roofing material that directs water away from your roof. It hangs slightly over the sides of the roof and has a small ledge facing away from the fascia, the long, narrow board that runs below the roof.

Like most roof flashing, the drip edge is made from non-corrosive, non-staining metal, so it requires almost no maintenance to keep functioning. The main reason to install a roof drip edge is to add an extra layer of protection, especially during hard rainstorms when the gutters can’t keep up with the volume of water.

The lack of a roof drip edge often results in water getting behind the gutters and causing the fascia board to rot. This water damage can lead to even more significant problems, as your gutters are an essential part of protecting your home. If the board the gutters are attached to starts to rot, they will start to sag, making them less effective at moving water away from the building.

Drip edges are so important that they form part of the building code laid out by the International Code Council. Roofing contractors that fail to install the correct roof flashing, including a roof drip edge, violate this building code.

Reasons To Install a Roof Drip Edge

The drip edge is a vital component of your roofing, but it also provides several other benefits in addition to protecting your fascia board. Here are just some of the benefits of having a correctly-installed metal roofing drip edge:

  • Protects the edge of the roof decking: In many cases, driving rains can get into protected areas such as the roof decking, but having a drip edge prevents water from entering and possibly causing damage.
  • Seals any potential roof gaps: No construction is perfect, and there are often tiny gaps between the decking and fascia that can let water, or even small animals, into the attic. The metal drip edge covers that gap, making your roof less prone to water damage or infestations.
  • Prevents movement of the fascia and deck boards: Keeping these two parts stable ensures that they remain flush with each other, which helps keep the roof structure more stable overall.
  • Helps guide water into the gutters: Gutters are your primary tool in keeping water away from your home and foundation, and the small flange in the drip edge will feed water into the gutters during heavy rains.
  • Protects the bottom of the roof from ice dams: While Alabama doesn’t get a lot of snow, roof drip edges are an essential method to protect northern roofs from accumulating ice that would otherwise wreak havoc on the roof’s structure.

All of these benefits dramatically extend the longevity of the roof due to their many protective benefits.

Are There Times When You Don’t Need a Roof Drip Edge?

The roof drip edge performs an essential function, but there are instances when you may not need a dedicated structure to protect your fascia and decking.

If you’ve installed an aluminum fascia, chances are it has a small flange that acts as the drip edge. Other building products, like rake molding, perform the same function as a drip edge, so if your roof has either installed, you don’t need an extra roof drip edge.

Your roof is a vital component of your home, and any issues with it can cause a lot of harm to your home. Authentic Restoration in Birmingham has helped hundreds of residents protect their homes and extend the lifespan of their roofs, and we can do the same for you. Give us a call at (205) 982-5252 to schedule a consultation today!