What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Metal Roof?

lightning rod on a metal roof under gray skies

If you are considering installing a metal roof for your property, you’ve probably asked the question, but what if we have a lightning storm? This is a common concern for many people, and it is understandable as we associate metal with conduction electricity. However, this conductivity actually means that a metal roof is the safest material when it comes to lightning strikes. The metal roof is no more likely to attract lightning than any other material, and in fact, a metal roof can conduct the lightning energy straight into the ground without affecting you, your family, or your home. For this reason, it’s recommended that if you live in an area prone to frequent lightning strikes, a metal roof should be your number one choice.

What happens to normal, non-metal roofs?

At first glance, a non-metal roof might seem like a safer option. However, the opposite is true. One of the most dangerous consequences of lightning is the resulting fires. When lightning strikes flammable roof materials such as asphalt shingles, or wood shakes, it instantly ignites, causing your house to set on fire. Without a clear path to the ground, the lightning can also ‘jump’ between walls and floors as it seeks its way downward, causing danger to you. Furthermore, if lightning ‘discovers’ your electrical wiring system it can start to use this as a path to the ground, causing potentially explosive power surges that can damage your equipment, and endanger your family.

What happens to metal roofs in a lightning strike?

In contrast, lightning that strikes a metal roof can be instantly and safely contained. Metal roofs are designed with aluminum rod protection systems that spread the energy caused by the lightning contact, before delivering it safely to the ground outside your house. This means the lightning is immediately offered a path of least resistance, that does not involve entering your home or attacking your electrical wiring. By providing concentrated ‘hot points’ that channel the lightning energy safely, a metal roof can guard against the chaotic nature of a lightning strike. The multi-layered steel of a metal roof is also engineered to resist the shock impact of lightning, keeping the house beneath safe from everything a storm can throw at it.

How else can a metal roof protect my home?

A metal roof is the perfect option for any home located with areas of erratic weather – and this isn’t just limited to lightning strikes. As mentioned above, many other traditional roofing materials can prove highly flammable in the wrong conditions. This is not true of metal roofing. If the spark of a nearby fire lands on your roof, there is no risk that it will spread to your property. Simultaneously, the incredible durability of metal roofing means that it can protect your home from wind speeds of up to 140mph without corroding in the slightest. This means a metal roof has a longevity that will not be diminished by adverse weather, allowing you to relax in the knowledge that your home will be protected for a long time to come.

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