If you are considering a new roof for your home or building, metal roofs are an attractive option. Metal roofs are tough and durable and resist many types of damage, including wind and fire. Metal roofs can last from 40-70 years; compared to the usual 12-20 year lifespan of asphalt roofing materials, that’s a significant increase in longevity. Metal roofing typically requires less repair and maintenance than other roofing types.
However, many homeowners and building owners have one major concern about metal roofing, and that is the risk of lightning strikes. Lightning strikes can cause significant damage to a building. Most of us have heard that metal attracts lightning and that lightning is drawn to the tallest thing in the area – which may very well be your building!
But is this actually true? Do metal roofs attract lightning? The answer may surprise you.
Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?
No. It’s actually a myth that lightning is attracted to metal roofs, or metal at all. In reality, lightning is attracted to the path of least resistance. Metal conducts electricity very efficiently, but lightning is not attracted to it. Lightning wants to get to the ground as soon as possible, and tall, isolated metal structures will help it do that.
The reason that lightning frequently seems to strike metal objects is because of their height, pointy shape, and isolation, all of which are common factors in where lightning is likely to strike. Lightning rods are tall and have the right shape to draw lightning, as do metal structures like power lines, cell phone towers, and similarly tall, pointy metallic buildings.
What Happens If My Metal Roofing Is Struck By Lightning?
If it was installed correctly on a safe building, nothing will happen. In fact, metal roofing is actually safer in a thunderstorm than other roofing materials. The reason for this is that metal roofing is fire-resistant. It can catch fire or start to melt when exposed to extremely high temperatures for a sustained period of time. However, a lightning bolt is very fast and, without combustible material, will not spontaneously start a fire.
Additionally, metal is a great conductor, and a metal roof will help ground the electricity from the lightning. Metal roofing will actually protect your building’s underlying structure in the case of a lightning strike. Metal roofing spreads the energy from a strike across a larger area, reducing the impact. From there, the fire-resistant properties of the metal will help to protect your building further. The electricity from the strike will travel nearly instantaneously through the metal roofing and any metal in your building’s framing straight to the ground.
In conclusion, metal roofing will not attract lightning. The exact opposite is true; metal roofs can actually increase your building’s resistance to damage from lightning strikes. If you are considering a new roof, a metal roof might be just what you need for your peace of mind. Volpe Enterprises has been helping customers with roof replacement and installation for over fifty years. Call us at 610-539-6730 to find out more about your roofing options today!