How to Install Drip Edge – 7 Steps to an Upgraded Roof

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eaves lining of a roof with fascia and drip edge

There is an important strip of metal running along the eave of your roof. It’s called drip edge. Roofing experts call it the eave strip. The main function is to give support to the roof extending past the eave. It keeps rainwater from running down the fascia, leaving watermarks or curling behind the fascia.

When this happens, it will slowly cause damage by rotting the fascia. It’s simple to run this strip when installing a new roof. However, what do you do if your roof has already been upgraded? Here’s how to install drip edge on an existing, upgraded roof.

Tools & Equipment

The steps in how to install drip edge for an upgraded roof involve a few necessary tools. Of course, you are going to start with a safe stepladder. Make sure you can stand safely at a height that allows you to be one head above the roofline.

This will make the job a lot easier. You won’t have to dangerously extend yourself when performing these steps. Here are the tools you’ll need beyond a safe, sturdy stepladder.

  • Flat Pry Bar – They make pry bars that are wide enough so they don’t break shingles or put a kink in metal roofing. Make sure you use a flat pry bar, roughly 2-inches wide, and not a narrow crowbar.
  • Hammer – A standard hammer will work, but you will find a roofing hatchet will come in handy. You don’t need a heavy weighted hammer. If you don’t want to purchase a roofing hatchet, a standard carpenter’s hammer is perfect.
  • Tin Snips – You will use your tin snips to simplify the removal process of the old drip edge plus cutting the new pieces. Make sure you use tin snips with longer cutting edge.
  • Eave Stripping/Drip Edge – Following the steps for how to install drip edge should always suggest having the materials onsite before you start. You can match up the material and make sure you have the right drip edge.
  • Galvanized Roofing Nails – This is an important part of how to install drip edge. If you choose to use cheaper grade nails, you may find problems arise over time. The expense of purchasing top-quality galvanized roofing nails is minimal compared to the headache of repairs.

galvanized roofing nails fastened in elastic on wooden board

Remove the Old Drip Edge

After you have all your tools and equipment lined up, the next step in how to install drip edge is to take off the old one. If you have an existing asphalt shingle roof, it is suggested that you do not change or fix the drip edge when it’s cold.

Shingles are not as pliable when temperatures are less than 50 degrees. Unless it’s an emergency, wait for warmer weather. Lift up the edge of the shingles slightly, working in short five foot sections. You can use small wood blocks, about 1-inch thick, to prop up each row of shingles.

This will help you move a little faster, plus free your hands up to pry out the nails. Work your way progressively down the drip edge using your pry bar and hammer to remove the old nails. If you have any existing seams in your old eave strip, you can work towards those points.

Mark these places with a piece of chalk, so you do not repeat a break at the same spot. This will help guarantee your new drip edge is secure. Slip the drip edge out from under the existing shingles. Make sure you complete the entire length of the roofline. Do not stop in the middle of an eave.

Install the New Drip Edge

The final discussion of how to install drip edge involves the 7 steps directly focused on the drip edge installation phase. The previous mentions of the necessary tools, equipment, and method of removing the old drip edge will help make these steps go smoothly.

roof edge with dripping raining water

  1. Begin by installing the drip edge across the lower roof edge. Make sure you secure each strip under both the shingles and the felt paper.
  2. Start at one end of the drip edge and make certain it aligns with the lower end of the fascia strip. The underside of the drip edge will be hidden under the roof. This way, you can hide slight errors there.
  3. You will gently lift the shingles again. Keep the blocks you used to remove the old strip. Work in short 5 to 6-foot sections, nailing the new drip edge securely with your galvanized nails. Place a nail every 12-inches.
  4. You may find it easier to work with shorter pieces of drip edge. No matter how long each new strip is, overlap with the previous strip 2-inches. This will prevent buckling.
  5. When you get to the end of the eave, cut the drip edge 1-inch longer. You will bend this tab down flush with the fascia to help prevent water from curling back under the drip edge.
  6. Gable drip edge could be installed over the felt paper if the felt was tucked under. This is because water will run parallel down the gable and not be prone to curling up under the shingles. Follow the same process by securely nailing the gable strips every foot.
  7. Finish the project by making sure the shingle layer flattens back securely against the new drip edge. An extra measure to ensure a secure fit is to add a thin layer of roof adhesive along the drip edge. This will help prevent any curling of the shingles in the event of excessively high winds.

Summary

These suggested steps for how to install drip edge will help you replace old drip edging on a roof that has already been upgraded. For new roof installations, you can follow the same guidelines. However, you don’t have to worry about lifting the existing shingles.

Best advice is always to replace the old drip edge with new strips when upgrading a roof. However, if you feel you need new drip edging under an existing roof, follow these steps on how to install drip edge on an upgraded roof.

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