Is There A Difference Between Drip Edge And Gutter Apron? Yes!

Is There A Difference Between Drip Edge And Gutter Apron? Yes!

When it’s time to install a new roof on your home, gutter apron and drip edge are both terms you’ll come across. As a homeowner, you may not know exactly what these terms mean or their role in your roofing system. Most people assume these two things are the same – but they are not.

Drip edges and gutter aprons protect your roof from leaks by channeling water into the gutter. However, they are different in their dimensions, shapes, and placements.

What is a Drip Edge?

A drip edge is a T-shaped metal sheet installed at the roof’s edge to form a waterproof seal. Also called D-metal or drip edge flashing, its purpose is to direct water away from the fascia and soffit cavity and into the gutter. If the drip edge is missing or poorly installed, water may work its way under the shingles, causing leaks and water damage to various parts of the home. 

Drip edges can be made of various metals, including aluminum, copper, and galvanized steel. While a drip edge may not have been originally installed on your home, drip edges are now required by the International Residential Code (IRC) to protect homes from damage.

What is Gutter Apron? 

A gutter apron is a long L-shaped piece of metal that fits over the fascia board. It is installed under the first course of shingles and hangs over the roof decking. The bottom part of the apron is folded at about 120 degrees and hangs down an inch or so below the back of the gutter. 

A gutter apron prevents water from splashing or dripping behind the gutter and also directs water into the gutter system. It protects fascia boards, soffit cavities, and roof decking against moisture exposure and prevents moisture intrusion into your home’s interior.

Gutter aprons are available in larger dimensions than drip edges for enhanced water protection. You might see gutter aprons on all roof replacements, and they are one of the building code requirements.

The Difference Between a Drip Edge and a Gutter Apron

Drip edge and gutter apron serve the role of directing water from the roof into the gutter. However, they’re contrasting in size and are installed in different ways. Let’s look at the main differences between these essential components to make it easier for you to distinguish one from the other.

the difference between drip edge and gutter apron

The Installation Process

A gutter apron is installed above the roof sheathing and under the attic’s shingles to direct water flow into the gutter. And because gutter aprons come in larger dimensions than drip edges, they hang slightly over the roof decking.

A drip edge, on the other hand, is fixed to the trim and extends behind the gutter. It should be installed from the bottom of the rake upward, with each piece slightly overlapping the next.

A gutter apron is recommended when the distance between the gutter edge and the shingles is insufficient. 

Cost Difference

Drip edges typically cost more than gutter aprons. However, the price gap between these two isn’t that large. 

That said, you don’t want to go with the cheaper option to reduce your roof replacement cost, as this could be the wrong choice for your home. For instance, a drip edge will be the better option if your roof is high-pitched. A gutter option will be better if you have a low-pitch roof. 


Both of these roofing components are considered highly durable and long-lasting. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, including wind, UV rays, humidity, rain, and snow, protecting your home from water leaks and pests.

But if the gutter apron isn’t properly installed and fails prematurely, reinstalling it can be a bit challenging. Conversely, the drip edge system can be reused, which is an advantage in the long run.

Shape and Material

The most obvious attributes that distinguish a drip edge from a gutter apron are shape and material. A gutter apron has more of an L-shaped whereas a drip edge is T-shaped. A gutter apron also comes in metal strips featuring steel and aluminum sheets. Drip edges are available in galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, and fiberglass materials. Both drip edge and gutter apron are available in many different colors, the most common being brown, black, white, and bronze.

Problems Can Arise if These Components are Missing or Installed Improperly

When working correctly, the drip edge/gutter apron helps the gutter control the direction that water from the roof travels, protecting the underlying components of the building. 

If these components are missing or installed wrong, your roof will be exposed to moisture and water damage. This may shorten the lifespan of your roof and require you to spend more money on frequent repairs or a new roof. 

Contact the Grand Rapids Roofing Experts at Moore and Sons Roofing

As you can see, drip edges and gutter aprons are important components of a new roof. Before choosing one over the other, it’s best to work with a professional roofing contractor to evaluate what works best for your home.

When you need a roofer you can trust in Grand Rapids, contact Moore and Sons Roofing. We have over 70 cumulative years of roofing experience in gutter aprons, drip edges, and everything roofing! We use the industry’s best materials and strive to show our craftsmanship in each of our jobs.

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