Flashings are thin pieces of water-resistant material used to protect a structure from water infiltration. Flashing is typically installed where two surfaces are joined together like around a chimney, skylight, window, door or vent. Gutter flashing prevents water from getting in behind the gutters, increasing functionality and providing additional protection to your home’s exterior.
Gutter flashings serve three main purposes. The first function is to direct water directly into the gutters, preventing it from damaging the fascia and soffit. If water is not drained properly from the roof, it causes water damage and invites mold/mildew/algae growth.
The second purpose of a gutter apron or drip edge is to support the weight of the shingles. It helps prevent the shingles that hang an inch to two inches past the edge of the roof from curling, shifting or cracking.
The third function of gutter flashing is to cover the space between where the gutter meets roofline. It can prevent animals from prying up shingles and damaging the roof, soffit, and fascia and/or entering your home.
Today, many roofers automatically add gutter flashing when they’re installing the roofing system. However, older homes, constructed in the past twenty years or more did not have gutter flashings unless specifically required. A house typically needs flashings when the roofline does not extend far enough past the edge of the gutter. Gutter flashing is also used on roofs with a low slope, where water could flow back in behind the gutters.
Types of Gutter Flashing
The two main types of gutter flashings are a gutter apron and a drip edge. Gutter aprons typically go over the roof deck, under the shingles, and then over the back edge of the gutters.
A drip edge attaches over the roof deck, under the first row of shingles, and directly onto the fascia or rake boards, behind the back of the gutter. Drip edges are generally used where you have no gutters, the roof has a unique configuration, or the roof is shallow or low-pitched. They are designed to allow water to drip clear of the fascia, roof deck and/or rake boards.
Gutter aprons and drip edges are typically made of metal and plastic.
Flashings used for gutter aprons are bent at an angle, usually at a 35-degree angle. It can vary depending on the manufacturer and fabrication technique.
Gutter flashings can be custom fabricated to meet specific job requirements.