What is a Roof Drip Edge? A Guide to Types of Drip Edges & Why You Need It

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated September 30, 2021
A roofer installing a metal drip edge along the side of a roof
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A faulty drip edge may be the culprit of your home's water damage

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A drip edge is an important part of your roof’s flashing system

Unsure of what a flashing system is? Simply put, it’s a strategically placed set of metal tiles on your roof that directs water away from the most vulnerable spots of your house. 

Having an effective roof flashing system in place will protect your entire home from potentially dangerous and expensive situations, including water damage, mold, rotting, and even insect infestation. 

So, we know a drip edge is part of a roof’s flashing system, but what part exactly does a drip edge play in protecting your roof? 

Keep reading as we take you through all the need-to-know basics of roof drip edge flashing.

What is a Drip Edge?

A drip edge is a type of angled roof flashing typically made with a metal like aluminum, copper, or steel. If installed properly, the drip edge is on the edges of a roof around the entire house. 

There are three main types of drip edges—L, C, and T—all differentiated by their relative shapes. We’ll cover the different types further below.

Why is a Drip Edge Important?

The most important purpose of a drip edge is to protect your roof and house from water damage by directing water away from your roof and fascia. A drip edge is now required in most states for a roof to meet code. 

Some of the biggest benefits of having a properly installed drip edge include:

  • Preventing damage to the fascia and soffit

  • Closing gaps to keep water and pests out

  • Guarding against ice dams

  • Funnels water away from a home's foundation

  • Prevents water damage on ceilings and in basements

  • Keeps water from seeping under roof shingles

Types Of Roof Drip Edges

While all drip edges have the same end goal, they do come in different shapes depending on the type and style of the roof. 

C-Style Drip Edge

A c-style drip edge is a “C” shaped metal used on the edges of roofs without fascia boards, moving water away from the roof. 

L-Style Drip Edge

An l-style drip edge is an “L” shaped metal bent at a 90-degree angle. One side of the metal is placed underneath the roof while the other side protects the fascia. This style drip edge is recommended for houses with a low incline roof.

T-Style Drip Edge

A t-style drip edge is a popular choice for many homeowners, especially for those that live in cold, snowy regions. Compared to the other two styles, t-style drip edges are arguably the most effective at moving water flow off the roof and into the gutter. 

F-Style Drip Edge

Also known as a “gutter apron,” an f-style drip edge is recommended when adding a drip edge to an existing roof. That’s due to the long top edge making it easier to install over shingles. It’s also a great option for new roofs. 

Can You Add Drip Edges to an Existing Roof?

Yes, you can add drip edges to an existing roof. 

In this scenario, an f-style drip edge will work best. Installing a roof drip edge will cost more on an existing roof instead of installing it while a roof is being built. This is because roof drip installation on an existing roof can be a difficult process that requires shingle removal and specific roofing knowledge to get the job done correctly. 

Unless you have extensive experience with roofing, we do not suggest taking up this task on your own. Attempting to DIY a project like this could end up costing you big time in the long run if it is not done properly the first time. 

Instead, consider hiring a local certified roofing professional to install or repair a drip edge.

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