A lot of the time when we’re doing roof repairs or a reroof, we see that the contractor who installed the roof decided not to install drip edge. If you’re going to cut corners as a roofing contractor, little things like drip edge are going to be ignored. But you need drip edge! We’ve seen roofs rotting to oblivion because of fly-by-night roofers who just wanted to save a couple bucks.
Drip edge is a moulded metal strip that gets nailed to the edges of your roof. We overlap the pieces to make it water tight, which is its main purpose: waterproofing.
Drip edge just isn’t any old metal. It’s industrial grade, galvanized steel or aluminium that won’t rust and will stay strong over the years.You can find the specific requirements for drip edge installation on the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association’s website.
Why do you need Drip Edge?
Shady contractors who don’t install drip edge before they put down shingles probably justify it by telling themselves they can just extend the shingles far over the edges so that water will flow right into the gutters.
What ends up happening is the shingles curl over the edge of the roof and water drips down behind the gutters and fascia. When that happens, you’re going to get rot.
Here’s an example of curling shingles due to a lack of drip edge:
Waterproofing and improved water-shedding are the main reasons for drip edge, but there are a few other solid reasons why you need drip edge:
- When extreme winds blow rain at your roof, lifting up shingles, the drip edge underneath prevents water from soaking into the roof deck.
- A metal barrier will prevent animals (like squirrels) and insects (like wasps) from getting into your attic.
- It prevents the roof deck and fascia boards from moving, making the roof itself more structurally sound.
- It comes in colours that will complement your siding and roof colours: brown, charcoal, black, white, and steel grey.
- That shiny metal strip along the edges of your roof gives it a more finished look.
How Can I Tell if My Roof Doesn’t Have Drip Edge?
If you don’t have drip edge installed, you may see some of the following things:
- Curling shingles
- Water staining on your siding
- Soft or squishy roof along the edges
- Lift up the shingles on the edge to see if it’s there (be careful while you lift them up)
- Water dripping down behind the gutters when it rains, causing erosion to your landscaping
These symptoms may not mean the problem is a lack of drip edge, but they’re signs that it’s likely.
How is Drip Edge Installed?
When we’re doing a reroof, installing drip edge is one of the first things to go down on top of the bare roof deck.
Along the eaves, roof edge is nailed directly to the deck. Along the rakes (all the roof’s other outer edges), it’s installed over the underlayment.
After drip edge is down, we put on felt, ice and water shield, and then the shingles.
Can Drip Edge Be Installed Under Existing Shingles?
In one case, we had a roof where the shingles along the edges of the roof were all curling. A decent amount of water was dripping between the backs of the eaves and the fascia. The shingles were so worn and brittle that when you lifted them up, they cracked and broke.
In that case, we had to replace the shingles and install drip edge. But if the shingles aren’t cracking and breaking, it’s possible to install drip edge under existing shingles.
Crest Roofing Always Installs Drip Edge on Shingle Roofs
Drip edge is something so simple that does so much to protect your roof. We know it, so we use it! Simple as that. If you’re roofer is telling you he doesn’t know why you’d need drip edge, who knows what else he doesn’t know! Move on.
For residential roofs to commercial roofing, we’re the experts. Call us at (780) 466-1601 for all your roofing needs: Reroofing, roof repairs, eavestroughs, attic insulation, and more (see our services page).