Drip edge. Why it is critical.

Drip edge is a metal flange that is installed under the first row of shingles. Shown below in black below, it serves a few different purposes.

prevent animals from getting into attic drip edge proper roof edge Toronto

It provides some support to the shingles so that they do not curl down over the years and cause cracking of the shingles and potential water to run down behind the eavestrough. It also creates overlapping of the wooden fascia that can be prone to rot due to water penetration. Another benefit is it can cover any small gaps between the roof deck and the fascia which will prevent animals from seeing an opening which they will then chew at until they are into your attic. Drip edge is also perfect for sealing the ice and water shield to. (Ice and water shield is a water proof membrane that roofing companies install before shingling and helps prevent water leakage in the event of an ice dam.)

Here is a simple metal drip edge: (Picture from Quinby Hardware)

Drip-edge roof edge eavestrough gutter Toronto


From an eavestroughing standpoint, drip edge is critical to provide you with a roof that will drain water off the roof and into the eavestrough properly. Some roofers that take the short cut of not using a drip edge will often leave the shingles extra-long so that they will sag down into the eavestrough. This will eventually weaken the shingles and hinder proper installation of any new eavestroughs you may be considering after the roof is done.

Fortunately, it’s simple and inexpensive to do when the roof is being replaced. Roofers can buy drip edge for less than a dollar a foot, is installed quickly and comes in various colours. Unfortunately, it is overlooked most of the time. I recently talked to a home owner who just had 3 roofing quotes and no one mentioned or offered drip edge. It was understandable that he was frustrated that he had to do his own investigating into drip edge to realize the potential benefits.

As seen in the picture below, there is no drip edge which causes the shingles to curl down allowing water to drip behind the eavestrough.

Water behind eavestrough Drip edge Toronto
This picture below of a home in Scarborough, shows the obvious gap between the roof deck and the top of the fascia. If an animal gets in there it will enter straight into the attic.
animals in attic Drip edge Gap between roof deck and fascia


The drip edge should extend about 3 to 4 inches up under the shingles and down 2 inches maximum over the fascia. Any more than 2 inches can interfere with eavestrough and leaf guard installation which may cause you to incur extra costs. One final tip is that the shingles should extend about 1 inch past the drip edge to ensure proper water flow directly into the eavestrough. It is much easier to have drip edge installed in conjunction with a new roof than trying to install it afterwards. It can be done afterwards, if the shingles have not become weak and brittle from curling down. If this is the case, the shingles may break off when trying to install the drip edge so it’s best just to install it when doing the roof.
This final picture shows a potential problem with the shingles not hanging about 1 inch past the drip edge. The surface tension of the water will cause the water to travel backwards to the fascia/ eavestrough. The eavestrough is not always tucked up under the drip edge as shown because the eavestrough slowly lowers down to get proper slope. This can cause leaking behind the eavestrough and may require additional flashing work to make sure the water goes where it is supposed to.  See our flashing blog post: http://torontoeavestroughing.blogspot.ca/2010/07/flashing-what-is-it.html
Replace eavestroughs drip edge Toronto water behind gutter
Here are some videos we have done up relating to drip edge:
Visit our website at www.eavestrough.ca for more information.

15 thoughts on “Drip edge. Why it is critical.

  1. I found this explanation extremely helpful in helping us decide whether the roofer or the eavestrougher should instal the drip edge and the timing of the installations. We are currently considering redoing our roof and eavestroughs and this answered our questions.

  2. I was very surprised that the roofer did not include drip edge in the quote for replacing the roof. My husband and I thought it was standard practice to include drip edge. I am paying the extra cost for the roofer to include drip edge.
    Thanks for the great information.

  3. Thank you Darren, I am considering having my roof and eves trough done before winter but I'm not sure if I should do both the ice & water shield and the Drip Edge or choose between the two and if I do then which one is more effective/better to do?

    Thank you kindly.

  4. Most roofing companies that really take pride in their work and want to do the best job will use both in combination. Ice and water is a must if you get alot of ice build up. The drip edge will ensure that the water always flows properly into the eavestroughs. When using both, the drip edge goes on first and then the ice and water is then stuck down to the top side of the drip edge. Both items can be very important for having a water tight roof. Hope this is helpful!

  5. I have the problem with the shingles not hanging about 1 inch past the drip edge and the water is traveling backwards to the fascia and dripping through the soffits and down the side of the house in several places. The eavestrough is tucked up under the drip edge, but this is still happening. It appears there is a slight dip in the last row of shingles before it meets the drip edge, as if the drip edge is pushing the ends of the shingles higher. There is not enough slope in the roof, so when the snow melts as it is now in the spring, the water slowly drips down and then back under the last row of shingles without flowing over the drip edge. What can I do? The roof is about 3 years old.

  6. Hi Dan, You have done a great job of explaining your situation. The dip in the shingles is most often caused by the fascia being higher than the edge of the roof deck. The odd time there is a gap betwen the fascia and the roof deck which the shingles settle in to over time. The ideal time to fix it was when the roof was being done as the top of the fascia could have been sawed off or the dip could have been filled or feathered back using metal. Its not an easy fix now that the shingles are in place. So many times we see this and we wonder how roofers do not catch this problem. The bottom row of shingles can be removed which but is alot of work. An option would be to try and slide metal under the first row of shingles but may not work that great. You can try to seal the seams in the starter course of shingles that is under the first row of shingles if looking for some sort of a fix. Best of luck with this.

  7. We're having our roof redone. 9/12 pitch and full ice shield. They are telling me because of the steep roof no drip edge is required. It would be an extra $800 to install. What do you think?

  8. Hi Lisa, Its still a good idea to have drip edge if you can afford it. Its amazes me how many roofing companies do not promote it more as not having a drip edge is the cause of many long term problems with how water drains off the roof into the eavestrough.

  9. Hello I have a 2yo home. the shingles were not extended past the drip edge. I have waterfalls around the entire perimeter of the roof lines due to water dripping between the fascia and eavesthroughs. The builder said he could cut strips of shingles and insert them between the soldier and starter course. Do you hav any suggestions?

  10. I would suggest a simple flashing of aluminum that extends up under the drip edge slightly and overlaps the back of the eavestrough. This would be a simple piece of metal about 2 inches wide approx. The other idea is if the drip edge has some give to it, it can be bent out by hand so it no longer rests directly against the fascia and will allow the water to drop off the drip edge and not touch the fascia. The water will then drop into the eavestrough without leaking from behind. Hope this helps!

  11. Wish the man who did our shingles had read this – we are in same place as Darren and it is so irritating as we are older and poor quality when could have been so easily avoided. Our shingles are almost flush with the drip edge and water flows off drip edge down fascia to ground and so much of it that it eventually gets to basement- discouraging when some length to shingles over drip edge would have resolved it. Roofer says our eaves are not flush enough to fascia —any excuse I quess.

  12. Hello
    we had new shingles installed and now eavestrough do not get the most water it curls around and down the fascia. There is ice shield. rain now is going into basement Can we install drip edge now?

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