How to Fix a Roof Drip Edge

About the Author

John Harding has been involved in home improvements and services, specially roofing and its related sub niches for more than 15 years. He has reviewed numerous products first hand and had provided useful insights into the pros and cons of each product. Many customers have found his findings extremely helpful when making a buying decision. Hope you will find John's and his teams work helpful as well.

 John Harding

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How to Repair Your Roof Drip Edge 

Let's say a storm came through, and all of a sudden your flashing has gotten damaged and you have to get it fixed before water rot gets in. The drip edge on your roof may even be dangling off! What are you going to do?

A drip edge flashing, or a gutter apron, is a piece of metal that runs alongside the roof of your home to protect your fascia and soffits from water damage. The metal lip runs underneath the first layer of shingles and directs water away from the building, ensuring the water runs off instead of creeping back and causing a leak. Drip edges also go hand-in-hand with a gutter system and are necessary to make sure the gutter works. (If you have a gutter system, but still have rot or mold growing around it or in your roof, you may want to take a look at your flashing.)

There are many reasons you may need to replace the flashing on your roof. Perhaps a storm has come through and you need to perform repairs before water damage can set in. Maybe your gutter system has fallen to a heavy winter. Even buying or inheriting an old building built prior to updated building codes means you will have to make extensive modifications.

Keep in mind that if you have suffered damage due to a large storm you may wish to evaluate your roofing in general. In these cases, damage to the flashing is often accompanied by severe damage to the first row of shingles as well. You may wish to make a proper project out of it and fix the whole thing in one go.

In any case, this guide exists to help you understand what you need to do in order to replace the flashing on your home and keep your property safe from further damage

roof drip edge flashing

What type of drip edge do you need?

There are three main types of drip edges to consider, not including materials.

  • C - This is the standard-fare roof lining. It's little more than a long piece of metal bent 90 degrees and does its job fairly well—it doesn't have to be complicated! It's cheap and sufficient to protect most buildings but isn't great paired with a gutter system.
  • D - Type D lining is shaped like a "T", where the lip juts outwards an inch or so from your home and comes back to be flush with your building's fascia. This type is preferred by many due to the fact it keeps water further away from the building.
  • F - Type F, or more commonly known as the gutter apron, is a type that lends itself well to repairs and replacement of existing lining. It has an extended leading edge and a greater angle, leading water directly into a gutter system, and ensuring all water is carried away. This is the type of drip edge that's recommended for doing repairs, and the type that you will most likely use for a gutter.

 Most Common Drip Edges

1. Aluminum 

Aluminum is cheap and reliable, and is available in a variety of colors to match any home or business. Aluminum is also fairly non-corrosive, the oxide layer that forms protects the metal from further decay, so it doesn't need to be treated most of the time.

2. Galvanized Steel 

This is fairly common. Naturally, any metal that is intended to be in contact with water will need to be specially treated. Any retailer or seller worth their salt will ensure that it is, so if you decide to go for steel, you won't have to do a great deal of shopping around.

3. Copper

 Copper is a very sturdy metal and a good option that exists if you want your roof to look special and unique.

A warning

Other materials, such as fiberglass or plastic, aren't commonly seen. They aren't in any way suitable for roofing applications and rarely stand up to full storms. Finding out that your roof flashing was done with these sub-par materials is another very good reason to replace it.

How to install a drip edge that lasts? 

The actual installation of the drip edge is simple. You just need a few materials and some time.

For tools, you will need the following: a hammer and roofing nails, a good ladder or scaffolding, a measuring tape, protective gloves, and some sort of cutting tool, like heavy-duty scissors or some snips.

For materials, you need: an Ice and water shield/roofing felt, some roofing nails or staples, and last but not least, the actual flashing itself!

Get yourself set up with a sturdy perch to get it done and do the work! Install the flashing along the eaves, making sure it is angled correctly to get the job done. If you have a gutter system, make sure the drip edge runs into the gutter so it actually works.

Make sure you use roofing nails when you install it—these are made for this type of job after all! Secure the nails high enough so that the shingles can actually cover them and protect them from water. When you are hammering, ensure you have at least one nail for every foot you attach.

When it comes time to attach a new section of drip edge, just leave an inch or so of spare flashing over the first piece to not leave any areas uncovered.

How to handle corners?

Whenever you have a corner on the eaves and rakes, you will have to make a cut. This is simple. Place a piece of flashing along the rake edge of your roof and make a marking where it runs over the edge of your roof. Get a straight edge when you can and make a straight line running over where your bend is going to be on both sides. Cut all the way to the end, making a secondary cut to make a triangle facing either side. Bend the corner along your line and you have a corner!

There is another method that is more involved depending on if the corner is along your gable (the sloped, triangular portion of your roof) or if you have a piece too short to wrap around. In this, you make two markings: one where your flashing meets the edge of the roof, and the other just an inch from that point.

Take your drip edge down and cut the entire section of flashing by the second cut, where it will hang off by an inch. Then, cut the topmost section by the first mark so that it sticks out on the bottom hanging edge only. Install the section as usual, then bend the bottom section around the corner.

Once you have installed the drip edge on the eaves, or the lowest part of the roof then you install your underlayment if you need any. After that, then you can go up along the gables. The key is to have your lowest layer of drip edge on the bottom, your underlayment above that, and the sloped drip edge on top. This allows water to drip off with minimal risk of accruing damage.

When you reach the ridge, just repeat the process of marking where the drip edge exceeds the roof, make a small triangular cut, and fold it over. Use your judgment to make sure that you achieve water flow—you may have to think about various lengths of your aprons in order to make sure you get it right.

A note: if you are using type D flashing, then you will need to make a triangular cut into the material, going all the way into the jutting lip as well, on the bottom and top. If you don't, the material will kink and warp.

A couple of handy tips

If you can, always try to install the drip edge under your existing water shield or underlayment. This isn't strictly necessary in climates that don't get any ice or lingering snow but it is a great idea to help prevent rot. It may also be required by your building code depending on where you live. If you feel this would either be beyond you or perhaps just too much of a pain to do on your own, then it's recommended you get in touch with a professional who can help you out. Remember that your area may have different building codes or special requirements, so read up on what you may need to know before you begin a project.

A note: It's always a good idea to get a partner, either a professional or a neighbor, to help you with holding the shingles up. Having a friend to steady your ladder or hand you your tools is a good idea as well. It may be tempting to handle it by yourself, but it will go easier with reliable help.

If you're more of a visual learner, here's an instructional video made by an experienced worker where you can see a demonstration of installing roof flashing. It also contains further insights and tips for cutting the drip edge that go beyond the scope of this short article.

Factors to consider when choosing a snow removal rake

1. Length

When choosing the right rake, it is vital to consider the height of your roof in relation to the length of its handle. Snow removal rakes are extendable, so you should look at the maximum extension length of the handle.

However, most rakes are not very useful when extended to their full length; hence you should choose one that you don't have to stretch to its full extent to reach your roof.

2. Design

​The design of the rake significantly affects its comfort ability and effectiveness. It is better to choose a rake with a design that offers a good grip and doesn't get stuck on your roof edge. Also, rakes can cause damage to your roof shingles; hence you should choose one that won't damage your roof.

Curve-bladed and wheeled rakes are the best at protecting your roof.

3. Weight

​The weight of the rake has great significance on the level of comfort it provides and proper handling. Heavy rakes are very uncomfortable to use and also make you fatigued. You should go for a lightweight rake, but be sure to check the materials it is made of as a material like wood breaks when subjected to a lot of weight.

4. Durability

​Nobody wants to see their money go down the drain; hence you should consider buying a rake that doesn't break or rust. Rakes with aluminum handles and polyethylene are the most durable as they are not susceptible to rust and breakage.

Wrapping it all

Repairing or installing a drip edge or flashing is simple but involved work. It isn't work that needs professional aid, just some tools, some know-how, a buddy or two, and a weekend to get it done. If you know why you need to replace it and examine your flashing, then by reading this article you will have a fairly solid understanding of what you need to do and how to go about it. Before long your roof will be complete, your fascia will be safe from mold and rot, and you will be one step closer to becoming the ultimate handyman.

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