Common Defects: Drip Edge

If you don’t already know, drip edge is a type of flashing installed on roofs. It is typically metal and narrow and has a lip at the bottom that points outward to direct rain water outward. While drip edge is located along multiple edges of a roof, it is the edges of the eaves (bottom portions) of roofs where we inspectors see the most issues with drip edge.

The most common issue with drip edge is that it sits too high above the gutter. Drip edge should overlap the inside portion of the gutter so that water running down the roof will run off the bottom lip of the drip edge and directly into the gutter. Often times, gutters sit an inch or more below the drip edge. While most water will still enter the gutter in this case, some may run behind the gutter onto the fascia (the board the gutter is secured to) and down toward the foundation. The issue in this case isn’t improper installation of the drip edge because it can only be installed along the edge of the roof. Rather, the gutter being installed too far below the drip edge is the issue. To correct the problem, the gutter must be moved up and the back of the gutter slipped under the drip edge.

Other times the gutter is installed high enough, but the drip edge sits behind the gutter rather than inside it. In this case, water will tend to run along the drip edge behind the gutter and some water will inevitably run behind the gutter and down toward the foundation. I do not come across this problem as often as the first, but it is still fairly common. A qualified and experienced contractor would never install drip edge behind a gutter because that defeats its purpose entirely.

These issues are obviously easier to spot when it’s raining. You can see exactly where the rain water is going and whether it is all running into the gutters. No one likes being out in the rain, but to an inspector rain can be a great indicator of defects. But even if it’s not raining, you can see if the drip edge is overlapping the back of the gutter as it should be. If it’s not, you may want to consider having a contractor come out to correct the installation of your gutters.

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Author: hillinspections

I am a Certified Master Inspector (CMI) and the owner and operator of Hill Property Inspections LLC, the top-rated inspection company in the greater Johnstown, PA area, based out of western Pennsylvania. I specialize in property inspections and environmental testing services and have a passion for helping my own clients and other families in learning to properly maintain their homes. I’m also the owner of Hill Pest Control, LLC and a pest management professional committed to helping our clients rid their homes and businesses of unwanted pests. I am an Army veteran, former State Farm Insurance Agent, and real estate investor with experience in all facets of real estate construction, transaction and insurance. I am also the founder and President of the Southwestern PA Chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and an affiliate member of the Cambria-Somerset Association of Realtors (CSAR).

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