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Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning? What Happens If They Get Hit?

Posted on January 21, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 4 Min.

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Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning? What Happens If They Get Hit?

Metal roofs have boomed in popularity due to their durability, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness. However, some homeowners may have concerns about the potential for metal roofs to attract lightning. 

In this article, we will explore the science behind lightning and metal roofs, and answer the question, do metal roofs attract lightning? At Excel Renovation, we aim to provide accurate information to help homeowners make informed decisions about the safety of their homes.

After reading, you will get answers to the following questions:

  • Are metal roofs more likely to be struck by lightning?
  • What happens when lightning strikes a metal roof?
  • How often do metal roofs get hit by lightning?
  • Does a metal roof need to be grounded?

We’ll start by clarifying the primary concern, of whether metal roofs attract lightning.

Are Metal Roofs More Likely To Be Struck By Lightning? Do They Attract Lightning In Any Way?

Does a metal roof need to be grounded

The answer is no, metal roofs do not attract lightning, which is proven in multiple studies around the world. It is a common misconception that metal roofs are more likely to be struck by lightning than other roofing materials. 

The probability of a lightning strike depends on geography and storm movements rather than materials in a home. When lightning is about to strike a particular location, it looks for the closest way to the ground, and it will strike a structure like a tall tree or building. It will not change its direction to hit a metal roof or any other material in particular.

If you are wondering what happens if lightning does strike a metal roof, we’ve included the information below. We will also compare the results of metal being struck to other roofing materials.

What Happens When Lightning Strikes A Metal Roof?

The truth is that roofing materials like wood, asphalt, and concrete are poor conductors of electricity, which means the electrical charge will find it hard to reach the ground after hitting these materials, causing a lot of damage to a house. Furthermore, poor conductors convert this electrical energy into heat, raising the risk of fire.

On the other hand, metals are good conductors of electricity, which means the electrical charge will quickly run to the ground, causing relatively less damage to a house. Additionally, metals are more fire-resistant than other types of roofing materials, which is a better advantage in the event of thunderstorms and lightning strikes. So, in reality, metal roofs are better for thunder and lightning-prone areas.

Speaking of metal roof advantages, they go far beyond safety. A metal roof is cheaper than shingles made out of wood, slate, and clay. Some versions of a metal roof may also come at a similar or lower cost than architectural and luxury asphalt shingles.

If you are wondering why this misconception arose in the first place, and whether metal roofs often got hit by lightning in the past, we’ve included the answer below.

How Often Do Metal Roofs Get Hit By Lightning?

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (about 80 years) are just 1 in 15,300, which applies to any other material. However, the probability may increase in areas with a higher frequency and intensity of thunderstorms.

Additionally, it is essential to note that metal roofs, like any other roofing materials, are not immune to lightning strikes. While metal may not catch fire as easily and reduce the chances of destruction, it can still sustain some damage from the electrical current because a lightning current is incredibly powerful, around 300 million volts, compared to an average household electrical current of 120 volts. 

That is why it is crucial to take appropriate measures to lower the risk of damage from a lightning strike, such as installing a lightning protection system. Now another question arises, do metal roofs need lightning rods in order to prevent maximum damage? Let’s find out.

Does A Metal Roof Need To Be Grounded?

In case of lightning, make sure you don’t touch open wires, metal fences, water sources, graphite, or any other conductors of electricity with bare hands during a storm. They do not attract lightning, but if it strikes, they will conduct it, and you do not want to be caught in the circuit.

To minimize the risk of damage, the least you can do is to have materials on your roof that conduct electricity quickly and protect your home from severe damage. Additionally, you can equip your home with a lightning protection system, which is essentially a lightning rod for maximum safety. Read this Lightning Safety Brochure provided by the U.S. government for more information.

However, building codes do not necessarily require lightning rods unless you live in states prone to thunderstorms and lightning strikes. Some storm-prone states may make it mandatory to have a proper lightning protection system in place. Additionally, you can hire roofing professionals who are licensed, experienced, and reputed to make sure you are taking all the safety measures possible. They will follow proper building codes during any type of construction, maintenance, and repair.

So, if you plan to install a new metal roof, it is best to hire a metal roofing contractor who is part of the local community and has years of experience working with metal roofs. They will know everything about the area’s weather and choose the right roofing materials and use the right safety measures for your home.

If you live in a storm-prone area like Minnesota, we are here to help you out by answering any questions you may have about lightning, home exterior safety, and metal roofing costs.

Free Consultation With Metal Roofing Experts

If you want to install a beautiful, sturdy, and safe metal roof on your home, we can do it for you with the utmost care and attention. We will also help you learn more about safety measures you can take to protect your home during thunderstorms or lightning events. 

At Excel Renovation, we’ve been improving homes and buildings in Minnesota for years. We are proud to have a highly skilled and experienced metal roofing team. Hundreds of Minnesota homeowners trust us with their home safety and design, so you can rely on us too.

Whether you live in Plymouth, Loretto, Hopkins, or any other surrounding area, we would be happy to offer you a free consultation. Call us at (612) 439-5005 to learn all about metal roofing, construction safety, and protective measures for your home. We can also give you a free estimate on your metal roofing cost. Plan your project well in advance with Excel Renovation without any obligations!