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Gutter Apron – What Is It and Should You Have One?

A gutter apron is similar to a drip edge, but primarily only installed on edges with gutters. It directs water away from the roof and into a gutter. It also assists in preventing water from splashing out of the back of the channel, unlike a drip edge.

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  2. What is a gutter apron, and what does it look like?
  3. What sizes are most common for gutter aprons?
  4. Is there a difference between a gutter apron and a drip edge?
  5. Can you install a gutter apron after a drip edge?
  6. Is a gutter apron required if you already have a drip edge?
  7. Is a gutter apron helpful, and is it a necessity?

What is a gutter apron?

A gutter apron is a long piece of metal, typically 10 feet in length, that is installed under the first course of shingles and is used to prevent water from splashing behind the gutter. They protect your roofing members from severe water damage.

This apron looks like a shaped piece of metal that faced down toward the bottom of a gutter. Its shape directs water down and into the gutter and allows it to flow into the channel freely.

What are the most common sizes of gutter aprons?

These aprons are commonly found in 10 foot long measures and are anywhere between 2 and 4 inches. The size of apron you will need for your gutter and roof will vary depending on the size of your gutter. You will also need to take into account how much water you can expect the system to handle in a season with heavy rains.

It is relatively common for most contractors to over-spec these roofing members to ensure that you are well equipped to handle the rainy season. Despite costing you a bit more, it will cost you way less should you have any repair work done for water damage.

It does not pay to save a buck and install inferior products as this can lead to serious damage to your home, and that will not save you at all in the long run. I would highly recommend you talk to a professional roofing contractor in your area and ensure that you are getting the best quality for your buck.

What is the difference between a gutter apron and a drip edge?

I have written a more extensive article on what a drip edge is, and encourage you to head over to read as well. A drip edge is a flashing on the leading edge of your roof. It has the sole purpose of directing water away from your roof and fascia boards.

A gutter apron is a type of metal skirting that is installed on the roof edge. It assists in directing water that is flowing off your roof and into your gutter. It also aids in keeping water from splashing over the back of your gutter should there be heavy rains or if your channel gets particularly full.

Can you install gutter aprons over a drip edge?

While you may install a gutter apron over a drip edge on a new roof, this would be redundant. You would either need a gutter apron or a drip edge.
As these two roofing components are there to achieve the same job and are installed in the same space, you would not want to install both on the corresponding edges.

In the case of an existing roof that already has a drip edge, in the interest of saving time, you can install an apron over it without the need to remove it entirely.

There are, however, areas that you would want a drip edge, and others you would want a gutter apron. Namely, aprons should only be installed in areas that have a gutter there for them to direct water into and away from your roof. A drip edge should be installed in all areas that do do not have a gutter to drip into, it is there to direct water away from your facia and away from your roofing members that are susceptible to water damage and wood rot.

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Do you need a drip edge and gutter apron?

You do not need a drip edge and a gutter apron along the same edge of your roof. But chances are on your entire roof; there will be areas you will need one or the other. In some states it is even governed by law as to whether or not you have to have a drip edge flashing. Consult a roofing professional in your area to find out if it is mandatory for you.

A simple way of putting it is, along the edges that gutters will be installed, I would recommend installing the aprons. However, edges that you would not install gutters, you would want a drip edge to direct and get water away from your roofing members. You need something that protects your wooden roofing members from getting wet and risking damage.

The best bet to go with is to talk to a roofing expert for them to identify areas that would need one or the other. That is your best-case scenario as they will know the building codes in each area and direct you in the best course of action to take.

Is a gutter apron necessary?

While a gutter apron itself may not be necessary, you need some form of metal flashing along the edge of your roof. It is imperative to direct water away from your roofing members.

For this, you have two primary choices, a gutter apron or a drip edge. I advise that you talk to a roofing professional to decipher which one would be best for your situation.

Personally, I lean more towards aprons for areas that have a gutter. Aprons are very effective in keeping your roofing members water-free and give you that added protection against water damage. All other edges should have drip edges installed.


This roof flashing is very useful in protecting your roof from water damage. I would highly recommend that you consider it on your roof edges that gutters are required for that little bit of added protection.

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