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Are metal roofs safe in lightning?

Are metal roofs safe in lightning?

Metal roofing surpasses other types of roof covering by a wide margin. It’s extremely durable, long lasting and lightweight. Sounds like an ideal choice for any homeowner but some of them have their doubts. They are concerned with metal roofing propensity to attract lightning. After all steel, copper or zinc are highly conducive to electricity and that feature make them more dangerous during the storm, right? Actually not so. The shortest answer is that such concerns are completely ungrounded and lighting isn’t more prone to strike the roof manufactured from metal than that of any other type of material. However, such a terse diagnose doesn’t sound particularly convincing, so let’s elaborate a bit more on the behavior of lightning.

What you need to know about metal roofing and lightning?

lightnings roof striking

Lightning is a form of electricity. As such, it goes the path of least resistance to discharge. Sounds like a black mark against metal (remember that conductivity part) but hold your horses. Electric charge chooses the easiest way to reach the ground, which means that it’s attracted by tall, thin or expansive structures. Of course, if you live in a place where thunderstorms are frequent occurrence then there is an increased probability than one day or another that electricity will discharge over your head. Therefore, climate, topography and the surroundings of your house (presence or absence of trees or buildings towering over your property) are key determinants, when it comes to assessing risks of lightning bolt striking your roof and not the material it was made of. By that token lightning rods aren’t stricken because they are metal but due to the virtue of being both highest and thinnest elements of the construction. Moreover, as excellent conductors they are able to safely transfer electric charge to the ground.

Which roof material is the best lightning protection?

Following that train of thoughts, it’s easy to see why metal roof in lighting isn’t inherently more dangerous than that made of different substances. Actually, quite the contrary. If you thought about some repelling qualities of steel, copper or zinc, then sorry, no deal. Unfortunately, there is no known material, which could perform in such a way. So where is the secret? Well, it’s easy – in recalled time and again metals’ high conductivity. For one thing, it quickly diffuses force of the lightning strike instead of concentrating it in one place. Without that advantage, materials that are more electric resistant can end up catching a fire or even exploding. Other thing is that metal roofing not only is conducive but naturally fire resistant as well, which protects the building even further.

That makes it classic two in one. It’s easy to understand now why metal roof not only doesn’t attract lighting but also makes you safer when it actually strike. Another interesting thing is that due to popular misconceptions in that regard, homeowners often take more precautions and invest in professional lightning protection systems. That prudence, however ungrounded, may be considered (a bit tongue in cheek) another safety feature of metal roofing.