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Is A Drip Edge Necessary On A Roof?

Posted on February 17, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 8 Min.

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Is A Drip Edge Necessary On A Roof?

A drip edge is a simple but essential part of a roof that directs rainwater away from the edges and into the gutters. But you may be asking yourself, do you really need it? If yes, how do you install it correctly? 

At A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing, we’re here to provide answers to your roofing questions. For years, we’ve been educating homeowners about their homes and roofing options so they can make safe and cost-effective decisions. In this blog post, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about drip edges and their use.

We’ve answered the following important questions in this post:

  • What’s a drip edge, and what does it do?
  • Is it required by building codes?
  • Which drip edge is right for your home?
  • How do you ensure proper drip edge installation?

So, let’s get started and discover whether you need drip edges to protect your roof.

What Is A Drip Edge?

Drip Edge
Drip Edge

A drip edge is a type of roof flashing. This is a long flashing strip installed along the edges of your roof. It extends beyond the roofline and partially covers the fascia board. This design helps channel rainwater directly into the gutters without letting it slip behind the starter shingles or fascia board.

Drip edges come in different colors, shapes, and sizes to fit unique home design needs. But in the end, all versions of drip edges serve the same purpose, to create a safe pathway for rainwater to reach the gutters without damaging your roofing material and fascia board. The flashing used for drip edges is typically made of metals such as aluminum, steel, or copper, and is installed between the underlayment and the starter shingles. 

But what function does this flashing really have other than directing rainwater into the gutters? Let’s learn about all the different functions and benefits of drip edges to find out whether your home requires them.

What Does A Drip Edge Do?

A drip edge is like a shield that protects your roof’s vulnerable edges from water infiltration during heavy rainfall or snowstorms. It’s a critical component of your roof’s protective system. If you have a home with a pitched roof, there are several benefits that installing this flashing brings, so let’s learn the details to understand whether you need it or not.

Prevent Water Damage To Your Home

The primary function of a drip edge is to prevent water from seeping into the roof’s underlying structures. It directs rainwater away from the edges and into the gutters, reducing the risk of water damage to your home’s fascia board, soffit, roof deck, and foundation. This also reduces the risk of water damage to attic insulation and any nearby ducts, pipes, or wires.

Keep Pests Out Of The Attic

Sometimes, tiny insects and pests get inside the house through small gaps or holes in the roof, mainly around the edges. This happens due to wind damage and natural wear and tear, but with a proper drip edge flashing, you can keep these bugs and rodents out of the roof.

Enhance The Look Of A Roofline

A properly designed and installed drip edge also works as a beautiful design element for your roof. It provides a  proper finish to the edges of a roof, and you can choose a color and style that fits well with the existing features and architecture of your home. You can also choose customized drip edges to suit your modern abode or a Victorian-style house.

Reduce The Frequency Of Roof Repairs

A drip edge even helps prolong a roof’s lifespan and reduce the need for expensive and frequent roof repairs. This flashing also maintains the structural integrity of your roof by preventing water from rotting or corroding the wooden elements below, such as the roof deck and fascia boards.

However, it is not mandatory to install a drip edge on each and every type of roof. So, let’s find out if drip edges are required by building codes, and whether they’re necessary for your home.

Is A Drip Edge Required By Code?

According to the International Code Council, drip edges are required for asphalt shingle roofs, but local building codes are unique for each state and area across the United States. So, check the local building codes in your state or town to ensure that you’ve installed the correct drip edge. Some codes also mention other ways to prevent and control water damage to a home.

If your area follows the International Residential Code, or your local code requires drip edges, it is best to have them installed. In the case of severe damage or mishap, improper roofing practices and defying authorities may also cause a legal issue for the homeowner.

However, if drip edges are not required by code in your area, you may still want to have them for maximum protection. This will help you with your roof insurance claims and product warranties. 

Are Drip Edges Necessary For Your Home?

Most pitched roofs require drip edges for optimum protection. Otherwise, water can easily slip through the shingles and fascia, and leak behind the gutters. This will ruin your home’s siding and affect the foundation over time. Consider these factors:

Slope Of The Roof: 

A drip edge is necessary to prevent moisture from seeping into roofs with a slope or pitch over 2/12. This is essential for areas that get moderate to high levels of rainfall, even if they don’t receive snow. 

Climate And Weather Conditions: 

Do you live in an area that experiences heavy rain, snow, or wind? Then, a drip edge is vital regardless if the roof is flat or pitched. It’s like a trusty sidekick, always by your roof during unexpected events.

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits and necessity of drip edges, it’s time to learn about the different types that are available for homes. This way, it will be easier for you to decide which one suits your home.

Types Of Drip Edges: Which One Do You Need?

Like any other roofing material, drip edges are also available in various shapes, colors, and materials, each with unique benefits and functions. You should discuss the options available with your roofing contractor and choose one that fits well with your local weather and the pitch of your roof.

Drip Edge Shapes

The shape of the drip edge chosen will depend on how much protective coverage your roofline needs to channel water. The shape and length also decide how much of the fascia board is covered. Here are some common shapes that drip edge flashing is available in:

L shape: 

This is the most common type of drip edge, and is commonly used on sloped roofs. It has a vertical leg that extends down the roof’s edge and a horizontal portion that goes over the roof deck and into the gutter.

W shape: 

This type of drip edge is used on low-slope roofs. It has two legs that extend up and over the roof’s surface, forming a “W” shape. The top of the W is lipped to divert water from the fascia.

T shape: 

This type of drip edge is used on flat roofs. It has a vertical leg that goes up the roof’s parapet wall and a horizontal leg that extends over the edge.


Choosing a suitable material is essential since it affects the performance and longevity of a drip edge. Each material has a different level of durability, corrosion resistance, and weather resistance. Here are some common materials used to make drip edges:


This is the most popular choice due to its lightweight, easy installation, and durability. It is also resistant to rust and corrosion, making it an ideal option for areas with high humidity, salt content, and rainfall. Additionally, aluminum can be painted to match the color of your roof, enhancing its overall appearance.


A copper drip edge is a high-end option known for its incredible durability and luxurious appeal. It costs more than other materials but is the investment of a lifetime since it can last for decades. After several years, it develops a rich patina for better protection against corrosion, which has an even more distinguished look.


This is also a standard option, but it needs proper coating and painting to prevent rust and corrosion. If you choose steel, make sure to coat it with aluminum, zinc, or weatherproof paint.


Though this material is not as common, vinyl drip edges can be seen on homes that experience mild weather conditions, as they’re the most affordable option on the market. They do not rot or rust and can handle moisture well. However, this material is less durable than metal, especially in extreme weather conditions.

When choosing the right material for your drip edge, consider factors such as your budget, the climate in your area, and the overall style and appearance of your roof. If you’re unsure, an experienced roofing contractor can help you choose the right drip edge and install it correctly. 

If you’re looking to get new drip edges, here are some installation tips that have helped several homeowners:

Crucial Tips To Ensure Proper Drip Edge Installation

In this section, we’ll explain the best time to install a drip edge, how to choose the right material, and some essential installation tips to avoid roofing mistakes. This way, you’ll get the best out of this vital roofline flashing.

When Should It Be Installed?

The good part is, you don’t need to go through much trouble during the installation of a drip edge. If you have a brand new, or old home, you can install it anytime. If you’re installing a new roof or replacing an old one, drip edge installation should be part of the process. This flashing goes over the underlayment with the starter shingles installed above it. 

Getting repair work done is another excellent opportunity to ask for drip edge installation and upgrade the protection of your home.

Common Mistakes To Avoid  During Installation

During the installation of a drip edge, there are several common mistakes that you should avoid to ensure optimal protection for your roof. 

  • One common mistake is improper fastening, such as using nails that are too short or spaced too far apart. This can cause the drip edge to come loose or fail to provide adequate protection against water infiltration. 
  • Another mistake is an insufficient overlap of the drip edge with your roofing material, which can allow water to seep through the gaps between the drip edge and the roof. 
  • Additionally, incorrect angle or placement of the drip edge can result in water running behind the flashing and cause damage to the roof deck or fascia. 

To avoid these common mistakes, we recommend hiring a local roofing contractor who’s highly experienced in residential roofing. Ask for references from their previous clients and ensure they are bonded to cover any workmanship faults or damage during installation.

Overall, drip edges are essential parts of a well-designed roof that protects your home from water damage, enhances its curb appeal, and prolongs its lifespan. By choosing the right product and following proper installation techniques, you can protect your roof, attic, and foundation from water damage and pest infestation.

If you live in Tulsa, OK, or the surrounding areas, reach out to us for more information, or expert guidance on your roofing project.

Discuss Your Roofing Project With The Experts

Do you need a new roof, or just want to upgrade your current one? Are you looking for an expert to guide you through the project? A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing is here to help! We are dedicated to helping our community by offering free consultations and estimates. Our experts can provide valuable guidance and insight on drip edges, and any other roofing material or process you want to know about.

We’ll take the time to understand your specific needs and preferences and provide you with customized recommendations and solutions that fit your budget and timeline. We’ll also answer any questions you have about the roofing process from permits to warranties, and ensure that you’re well-informed every step of the way.

Call us at (918) 402-7167 to schedule a free consultation. Take the first step towards a safer, more reliable roof for your home.