Ventilated drip edge+ice dams = leaks?

Hi. I’ve gotten conflicting advice on this topic. One contractor believes that if I install ventilated drip edge I run the risk of water backing up into the attic in the winter if the gutters become full of ice. Another says that there will be little to no ice buildup in the gutters if the attic is properly ventilated using ventilated drip edge along with ridge vents (provided the gutters are kept clear, of course).

I currently have a ventilation fan, so I could just keep it and install lourves for air intake.

So my questions are: Should I go with the fan and traditional louvres even though it is less asthetically appealing and uses electricity (not to mention that I may have to replace the fan if it ever breaks)? Or do I go with the ventilated drip edge and ridge vents and run the risk (if a risk even exists) of water backing up into the attic during winter?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!


Having ice in the gutters has nothing to do with the roof or ventilation.

If you have ice in your gutters. There is a problem with the gutters.

Water will come in your house no matter what kind of drip edge you have.

So neither one of these guys is giving you good advice.

Thanks for the reply, Lefty. So obviously, then, between the two options the non-ventilated drip edge would allow less water in. Fine.

Follow up question: If ice dams are caused by water melting off the warmer roof and refreezing in the gutters, why would you say there is a problem with the gutters? It would seem that ice dams are unavoidable unless you remove the snow from the roof before it has the chance to melt and run into the gutter.

vented drip edge should never be used with a gutter. go with soffit venting


there’s no soffit

Then use a product from DCI called smart vent. Only thing you can use to get intake then. It sits at the eave of the roof and tapers back. Its a nice product. If you home is insulated correctly and you have enough exhaust then you will be fine.


Does not matter which drip edge you have if your gutters freeze over.

Ice dams are formed on the roof. Frozen gutters are formed in the gutter.

Two different problems.

Yes sir! good point

here is the product that we use and use it regularly with great success on houses without soffits.

It is called the inhaler intake vent. Yes the gutters have to come off and be reapplied/replaced but it is the safest thing for michigan snow and ice that I have found. I get aobut $10 + a foot for it. Easy to install and use. Not many use it or have heard of it. Give it a look.

Yes but with the vented drip edge it gives the water an easy path to travel. with standard drip edge the proper detail is to overhand the I&W and terminate it over the edge of the facia board with a 3/4" cedar ground to seal the joint of the top of the facia and bottom of roof sheathing, then the standard drip edge goes over the ground. never leak no matter how much ice.


i`ve also blocked out the fascia(w/1x6)center spaces open w/rollvent material installed there,install alum. fascia cover w/bottom cut out at rollvent locations,install 3x3 alum. backflashing onto roof edge,then install you ice shield to overhang the flashing by 1/2"(roll in place)mark rafter areas for gutter fastener installation,and you will never have a problem