There’s a good chance that you don’t actually know what a drip edge is or how it relates to your roof, but it’s possible that you’ve at least heard the term before. If you’ve got a fairly new home, you probably have a drip edge installed on your roof already; in most places, it’s now required by building codes. For older homes, though, it’s entirely possible that your roof doesn’t have a drip edge.

Does your home need a drip edge if it doesn’t have one? Yes, absolutely. Drip edge flashing can solve a number of potential problems before they even occur and will quite likely increase the lifespan of your roof. With that said, it’s useful to understand what drip edge is and how it works so that you can get a better grasp of exactly how a little L-shaped piece of metal can make such a big difference for your home.

What Is Drip Edge?

Drip edge or drip edge flashing is a bent metal sheet that’s usually shaped like an “L” or a “T” that is installed along the edge of your roof. The drip edge lies underneath the end of the shingles and typically extends down a few inches from the rooftop. The drip edge is made from a non-corroding metal such as aluminum, though copper and galvanized steel are also sometimes used. In many cases, the drip edge is colored to match the siding or paint of a home, though it may also be used as an accent to the rest of the home.

Drip edge gets its name from the fact that it helps water flowing down a roof to “drip” into the gutters instead of clinging to the shingles on the edge of the roof and soaking into the underlying wood. It also helps to protect this wood from wind-driven rain that might otherwise be blown up underneath the shingles. On top of this, it provides some defense against insects and other pests that might try to burrow into the wood that the drip edge covers and protects against damage caused by the expansion of ice that might otherwise form in the wood.