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Mutilation of Drip Edge by Gutters

E. Burns

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Note: Located in Florida where drip edges are installed on all roofs. Only code reference is that the drip edge requires two inch overlap.

The gutter installations we see 95% of the time:

The gutter spikes penetrate the drip edge. Oftentimes in addition to the gutter spikes penetrating the drip edge, the drip edge is notched to accommodate the gutter spike.

I understand in other parts of the country this is not the way gutters are typical installed. Roofers do not install gutters here, most are installed by the same company that installs insulation or a gutter company.

We write: The rain gutter spikes penetrate through the eave drip. The metal eave flashing (eave drip) is supposed to lap over the gutter, not to be installed through the drip edge.

I tried to get proof from the SMACNA without success. Does any one have a referance I can go to in the roofing industry or gutter industry.

I would also like your opinions.


Ellen (Melbourne is located in East Central Florida)

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I don't think SMACNA (Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Nat'l. Assoc., or something) would have jurisdiction. Drip edge is "recommended" in most locales, but not necessarily required. If it is required in Florida, I would start there.

After that, this is one of those items that calls into question why anyone would use gutter spikes. Mainly, they're cheap, fast, & easy. They also sag & fall off.

I'm not sure how I would right this up(?). I might be inclined to simply note it in the report as a possible point of water entrance, poor quality installation, or similar notification of inadequacy. It might be hard to hang it as a code violation, unless there is some language that you can discover in the Florida code language. I'd ask Cramer over @ the ASHI board; he seems to have the Florida code requirements wired.

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If the vertical leg of the drip edge extends down the fascia and there's no overhang, and the the gutters are to be attached w/ spikes instead of hangers, I don't see any choice in the matter. You're in Florida and have all those funky tile roofs and for this to be a concern there must not be any overhang. That's where the problem is. If the gutter installer lowers the gutter to miss the drip then all the rain will overshoot the gutter. I've never seen a gutter spike go through drip because the roof sheathing extends at least an inch beyond the fascia around here.

It is a possible point of water entry, but it's highly unlikely. I'd just say something technical like "the gutter installation looks like crap"

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Our shealthing here is cut flush with the fascia.

All the installators here use gutter spikes.

All our home's have a drip edge.

It's done like this here more because it's easier,I believe,than cheaper, due to the roof design.

Maybe someone from Florida will chime in.

Thanks, Ellen

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Hi Ellen,

It is my understanding that roofers in Florida install drip edging on top of the underlayment at the eaves using mastic, in order to prevent wind from getting under the underlayment. Is that true? If so, I'm not certain that drip will do what it is supposed to do properly anyway, so the gutter spike holes through it probably aren't that big a deal.

A more important question - have you seen any homes damaged because of this? After all, the only drips visible will be at the rakes and those in the gutters can't be seen from the ground. Of course it would be better to use better hangers that are attached to the roof, so they don't have to cut or punch the drip, but if it isn't causing damage where is the issue when the only way you're going to get damage around spikes is if the gutters aren't pitched or draining properly and water rises to the level of the spikes? If that is happening there are more important things to consider.

Personally, I would love to see drip used more often around here. About 90% of roofers here don't even know what it is and 99% never install it. When they do, it is usually installed incorrectly.



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Thank you everyone for your replies.

Mike, you are right standard practice is to install the drip on top of the underlayment.

As far as damage occuring from the spike locations, sometimes when the gutters are removed there is some rot around the spike area.

We are currently rethinking the writing up of this issue, thanks for you replies.


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I see the situation you describe almost daily. The attached picture shows the worst-case damage scenario around here. Of course we don’t get the same kind of driving rain that you folks have, but it’s pretty wet up here all the same.

I find that about one house in 2,000 has damage this bad from this condition. The spike has to be angled downward and the ferrule has to be set in just such a manner as to direct the water into the spike hole. Generally, gutters sag within a few minutes of being installed, giving the spikes an upward cant. This alone stops the water from flowing into the fascia in most cases.

Bottom line, I’ve got bigger fish to fry on most houses.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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