What’s a Gutter Apron? Do You Really Need it?

Posted on July 15, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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What’s a Gutter Apron? Do You Really Need it?

When it comes to home maintenance, every single accessory plays a significant role. On a roof, a gutter apron plays a major role in protecting a home from water damage. In this blog post, I will shed light on the importance of gutter aprons, how they work, installation details, and overall costs.

What Is A Gutter Apron?

A gutter apron is a piece of metal flashing installed beneath the starter shingles and extends toward the gutter. It’s usually made of a lengthy metal piece that is shaped like an L. The purpose of this metal flashing is to prevent water from dripping behind the gutter and causing damage to the fascia, soffit, or foundation of your home. 

Let’s understand its role and function in better detail.

What Does A Gutter Apron Do?

Gutter Apron

A gutter apron acts like a protective veil for your home’s siding, fascia, and soffit. It is shaped to guide the rainwater falling on your roof directly into the gutter without splashing around or leaking behind the gutters. This way, the gutter apron works to protect your roof from water-induced deterioration and prevent mold and algae growth along the siding and soffit.

If this sounds similar to what a drip edge does, you’d be right, though there are some distinct differences between the two.

What Is The Difference Between A Gutter Apron and A Drip Edge?

A gutter apron and a drip edge serve the same purpose but differ in installation and design. Drip edge refers to a broader category of roof edge flashing that comes in various shapes, such as F, L, T, and Z, and a gutter apron is a specific type of flashing that resembles an L-shape. Gutter aprons are wider than drip edges and extend more on all sides, both under the shingles and into the gutters.

To better understand the difference, read our blog post, Gutter Apron vs. Drip Edge, to determine what type of flashing is best for your home.

Next, let’s go over how gutter aprons channel rainwater away from your home and protect it.

How Does A Gutter Apron Work?

The shape and length of a gutter apron play an essential role in the process of protecting your home. The special design extends from the edge of the roofline and points downwards, into the gutter. When you choose a sturdy metal such as galvanized steel or aluminum for the apron, it can function properly for decades without needing frequent repairs and maintenance.

But how do you know if you need this metal flashing? Continue reading to find out.

How To Know If You Need Gutter Apron Flashing on Your Roof

There are several ways to check if your home’s roof is in need of a gutter apron. Here’s what you need to look for:

Inspect For Water Damage

Look for signs of water damage on the fascia board, soffit, or siding behind the gutters. Rot, peeling paint, or water stains in these areas may indicate water bypassing the gutter, suggesting the need for a gutter apron.

Assess The Roof’s Pitch And Amount Of Shingle Overhang

Steep roof pitches or significant shingle overhangs can cause water runoff to bypass the gutters. In such cases, installing a gutter apron can redirect water into the gutter system.

Evaluate The Surrounding Landscape

Take note of overhanging branches or nearby debris sources. If your roof is prone to collecting leaves, twigs, or other materials, a gutter apron can prevent clogs and ensure proper water flow.

Consider the Frequency and Intensity of Rainfall

Areas with heavy or frequent rainfall may experience substantial water runoff. Installing a gutter apron helps prevent overflow and ensures water is directed into the gutters.

It’s Called For During Re-Roofing or Roof Repairs

When re-roofing your home, it is generally recommended to install a gutter apron as part of the process. This helps create a proper seal between the roof and the gutter, minimizing the risk of water damage.

Look for Drip Edge

If your roof already has a T or F-shaped drip edge, it probably provides adequate protection against water intrusion behind the gutter. If the existing drip edge is efficient and not damaged, there’s no need to replace it and install a new gutter apron in its place.

Refer to Local Building Codes

Check your local building codes for specific requirements regarding the use of gutter aprons. Compliance with these codes ensures that your gutter system meets the necessary standards.

Consult a Reliable Local Roofer

Take advantage of a free professional consultation and cost estimate from a good roofing contractor in your area. The expert will ask a few questions and may offer a free roof inspection to determine whether a gutter apron is necessary based on the local climate and condition of your roof.

If you need to install gutter aprons on your roof, check out the following installation guide.

How To Install A Gutter Apron

Working on a roof generally requires you to have a license and necessary certifications, but if you are experienced and confident in such work, here are the steps to install a gutter apron:

  • Gather the necessary tools and materials: You will need a ladder, tape measure, gutter apron, roofing nails or screws, a hammer or drill, and safety equipment.
  • Safety first: Ensure you have a stable and secure ladder. Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and eye protection.
  • Measure and cut the gutter apron: Measure the length of the area where you will install the apron. Cut the gutter apron to the required length using tin snips or a similar cutting tool.
  • Lift the shingles: Starting from the corner of the roof, gently lift the bottom edge of the shingles above the gutter line. Take care not to damage the shingles.
  • Position the gutter apron: Slide the top edge of the gutter apron beneath the lifted shingles. Make sure it is aligned with the edge of the roof and extends over the gutter trough.
  • Secure the gutter apron: Using roofing nails or screws, fasten the gutter apron to the roof. Place the fasteners through the top edge of the apron and into the roof decking. Space the fasteners approximately 12-18 inches apart.
  • Check the alignment: Ensure that the gutter apron is straight and properly positioned along the entire length of the roof edge.
  • Repeat the process: Continue installing the gutter apron along the remaining sections of the roof, following the same steps.
  • Inspect and test: Once the gutter apron is installed, carefully inspect the entire area to ensure it is securely attached and in the correct position. Test the flow of water to ensure it directs into the gutter trough.
  • Clean up: Remove any debris or excess materials from the roof and gutter area.

Remember, if you’re not comfortable or experienced with roofing work, it’s best to hire a professional to install the gutter apron for you. They have the expertise and tools to ensure a proper installation, minimizing the risk of damage or leaks. Plus, it is not a costly investment and is usually included in the roof replacement project.

Gutter Apron Installation Costs

Installing a gutter apron costs approximately $1 to $5 per linear foot, depending on the flashing material you choose. The cost is also affected by the current weather conditions, project details, and labor costs charged by the contractor. To make sure your roof is protected for years to come, you need to hire a reliable, reputable, and experienced contractor.

If you need a roof replacement or gutter apron installation service in Pittsburgh, PA, our team is here to help you. 

Free Consultation on Roof and Gutter Projects

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing, we provide reliable, cost-effective roofing services in Pittsburgh, PA. If you need gutter apron installation, roof repairs, or remodeling services, choose our team for high-class workmanship, reasonable prices, and 100% customer satisfaction. With years of experience and a caring approach, we can help you get a durable roof that protects your home for years. Call us at (412) 353-5660, and we will be happy to offer you a free consultation and estimate on your project.

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