Why You Need To Install A Drip Edge Made From Flashing When Adding New Gutters

Posted on: 7 June 2017

If your current gutters are old, broken, or corroded, now is the time to add new gutters to your home. If you are inexperienced when it comes to gutter installation, but you want to install the channels yourself, then you may decide to skip the installation of the drip edge. This edge is typically made from a layer of flashing that runs right along the very edge of the roof. This edge is important. Keep reading to learn why and also what may happen if you decide not to add the flashing.

It Prevents Ice Dams

If you live in a cold weather area, then you may see a lot of snow building on your roof during the winter months. In some cases, you also may see a layer of ice building just at the roof edge. This is called an ice dam and it prevents water from moving into the gutters when the snow melts. The water can then work its way underneath your shingles and create one or several roof leaks. 

An ice dam will typically develop when heat from the home seeps through the roof and causes the snow to melt. The water will then travel down the roof and freeze as it is exposed to colder temperatures. 

If you secure a drip edge made from flashing on the edge of the roof that meets the gutters, then you can prevent ice dams from developing. The flashing helps to move water more quickly into the gutters and it also creates a barrier over the roof edge where heat cannot escape from the home. This keeps snow from melting and then almost immediately freezing again when temperatures reach well below freezing. 

If you have seen ice dams forming in the past, then keep in mind that a wider drip edge may be needed to properly prevent ice from forming. You may even need to add heat tape to the flashing. However, it is much safer to place heat tape over a layer of flashing than over your bare shingles, so this is another benefit of adding the drip edge.

It Keeps Your Roof In Good Condition

Sometimes homeowners will not create a distinctive drip edge. They will instead make sure the roofing shingles taper or bend into the gutters. While this may direct water, this can lead to water damage. Since the shingles sit in the gutters, they become congested with water during a heavy rain storm or when snow melts from the roof.

The shingles wick up the water and they can transfer this water to your roof deck. This can cause rot across the deck over time or it can create general deterioration issues. Also, shingles that remain wet will wrinkle and swell. These shingles can tear much more easily and pull away from the roof. Over time, the shingles will need to be replaced.

If you do not want to think about a roof replacement in your future, then make sure that your flashing completely covers the shingles on the edge of the roof.