What is a Gutter Drip Edge? Signs it may be Installed Wrong.

Gutter problems are a headache. Leaks, water damage, repairs – It gets expensive fast.

And it could be the gutter drip edge that’s causing your gutter problems.

We’ll go over what a gutter drip edge is and if it’s the root cause of your gutter leaking problems.

What is a Gutter Drip Edge?

gutter with drip edge

The gutter drip edge is a metal piece that’s attached between your roof and your gutters. It’s purpose is to direct water away from your roof and into the gutters. It’s like a shield that prevents water from dripping behind your gutters and causing damage to your home.

The drip edge is often placed under the shingles and over the back edge of the gutter. It bridges the gap between your roof and gutters, allowing for proper water flow into your gutters instead of behind them.

Without a drip edge, it’s common for water to drip behind your gutters. This can lead to expensive water damage. It’s always recommended to have a drip edge that’s installed correctly.

Note: When working on elevated surfaces make sure to use safety precautions per OSHA guidelines.

Do you Need a Drip Edge?

A drip edge is an essential part of your gutters. Without it, your home is much more susceptible to water damage and can lead to serious damages.

The primary benefits of a drip edge include:

  • Prevents Water Damage: The drip edge helps guide water into the gutters instead of seeping into your fascia and roof. This prevented serious water damage.
  • Protects Fascia: The fascia is a wooden board that the gutters attach to on your roof. Without a drip edge, there is no protection for the fascia from water damage. It’s common for the fascia to start to rot without a drip edge.
  • Maintains Siding: A drip edge will keep water from dripping behind your gutters and onto the siding and exterior walls of your home. This will keep “tiger stripes” or dirty streaks from forming.

Is your Drip Edge Installed Wrong?

If you’re having issues with water leakage, it’s possible your drip edge needs fixing. Here are a few symptoms of this problem.

1. Water Leaking Behind Gutter

With functioning gutters, all the water should exit through the downspouts.

In certain cases, water may be leaking behind the gutter, which is a major problem. The drip edge may be the root cause of this problem.

Water leaking behind your gutters can lead to serious issues such as water damage to your foundation. Not a cheap fix.

Damaged siding or water making it inside your home are also possible.

2. Rotten Fascia Board

A rotten fascia board is a big red flag the gutter drip edge is not working .

This is another indicator that water is making its way behind the gutter.

A drip edge protects the fascia from water damage, so without it (or an incorrect installation) could lead to your fascia rotting.

If you notice signs of rotting in your fascia board, it’s a good idea to contact a contractor for repairs as soon as possible.

3. Water Leak in Ceiling

This is the worse case scenario, water has made its way inside your home.

It’s possible the drip edge is the issue here. You’ll need to inspect the drip edge to confirm.

A drip edge that’s poorly installed can lead to water seeping into your home and cause ceiling leaks.

Your ceiling or walls may begin to sag and turn yellow if water is making it into your home’s structure. If this is the case, you’ll want to inspect your gutters or your roof as soon as possible.

Do you Have a Drip Edge?

Wondering if you even have a drip edge? If you don’t, you’ll want to get one installed as soon as possible.

But here’s how you can check:

  • Grab a ladder: There’s no way to check without climbing up to inspect your gutters, so get a ladder ready. If your gutters are on the second story it may be wise to consult a gutter professional to help. Also grab a flashlight as you might need to inspect under the shingles.
  • Visual Inspection: Look where the edge of your roof where it meets the gutters. If you see a metal or plastic strip extending over the top edge of the gutter, that’s likely the drip edge.
  • Shine a Light: If the strip isn’t immediately visible, shine a flashlight under the shingles at the roof’s edge. The drip edge is often installed under the shingles to guide water into the gutters.
  • Gutter Examination: Check the top edge of the gutter itself. If there’s a metal or plastic piece extending over the gutter, it’s a good sign you have a drip edge or gutter apron.
  • Check All Sides: Repeat the inspection on all sides of your home where gutters are present.

If you notice signs of a missing or improperly installed drip edge, you’ll likely need to do some repairs.

Look for water stains behind the gutter or damage to the fascia boards.

Gutter Apron vs Drip Edge

A gutter apron is a type of drip edge that’s designed to help water flow into the gutters more effectively. It’s installed under the roofing material and over the top edge of the gutter.

If you’re wondering whether you have a drip edge or gutter apron, take a look at the edge of your roof where it meets the gutters. If you see a metal or plastic strip extending over the gutter’s top edge, you likely have a drip edge or gutter apron installed.

Gutter apron and drip edge are terms often used interchangeably, but they serve slightly different purposes. If you have a gutter apron, you already have a drip edge, so you’re covered.

Do You Need to Remove Gutters to Install a Drip Edge?

To install a new drip edge, the existing gutters will usually need to be removed. The shingles will around the drip edge will also be removed so the contractor can easily access the drip edge. Most drip edges are installed when the roof is replaced. In some cases, the gutter hanger brackets will be installed through the drip edge as well, in which case the gutters will need to be removed to access the drip edge.

Get in Touch with a Professional

If you’ve noticed any of the signs mentioned above, it’s a good idea to reach out to a professional gutter contractor.

An experienced contractor can inspect your gutters and determine if a drip edge issue exists. They can recommend the necessary repairs or replacements to ensure your home is well-protected from water damage.

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