Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

If you’re considering metal roofing, you might wonder whether lightning strikes metal roofs. We all know that metal is conductive, and since lightning is a powerful, destructive force, of course you’d want to avoid it as much as possible.

Luckily, metal roofs are no more likely to attract lightning than any other kind of roof. In fact, they can offer better protection than other roofing types.

Does lightning strike metal roofs?

Yes, lightning can strike metal roofs—but that’s not a cause for worry. To understand why metal roofing is a safe choice, it’s important to understand how lightning functions. Lightning is an electrical current flowing between the earth and the sky. The flash occurs when electrons from the ground run up a path of ionization. The earth’s electrons are negatively charged, while the lightning electrons are positively charged.

Your metal roof doesn’t have the same kind of negatively-charged electrons that you’d find in the ground. That means that there’s no particular reason for lightning to be attracted to your metal roof. It’s looking for the path of least resistance between the sky and the ground, not for metal to zap.

No one can predict where, exactly, lightning will strike; however, it’s drawn to tall objects and high elevations (again, the path of least resistance from clouds to earth). That’s why lightning rods on tall buildings seem to attract lightning—they’re closer to the clouds than a metal-roofed shed in a valley. If you’ve got a small building with a metal roof among much taller buildings, your risk of lightning strikes will be reduced.

Why are metal roofs a safe choice?

Metal roofing can help protect your building from lightning. While metal is indeed a conductive material, remember that lightning wants to move into the ground as soon as possible. When a lightning strike hits a metal roof, it conducts the charge to the ground (or another conductive object) faster.

Metal roofs are also better able to withstand the impact. They are noncombustible and fire resistant, which means that they can handle hotter temperatures than many other popular roofing materials. However, please keep in mind that you can still incur property damage during an electrical storm. In fact, if your area is prone to frequent lightning, you might want to consider a lightning protection system. They can ground any lightning strikes quickly, preventing surges and property damage.

The takeaway

While you don’t want to hang out on your metal roof during a lightning storm, metal roofing is still a safe choice. Whether you pick metal shingles or corrugated roofing, you’ll enjoy all the fire resistance, durability, environmental friendliness and attractiveness—all while protecting your building from the effects of lightning strikes.

In short, if you’re considering a metal roof, don’t let the threat of electrical storms dissuade you. Metal roofing is no more likely to attract lightning strikes than other roofing types. They simply conduct electricity better.

When you need quality roofing and construction services, reach out to All America Construction Services today.