Steel or metal roofs have become a popular option for those building new homes or looking to replace an older product. These roofs have proven more efficient, eco-friendly, and have now made themselves a name for being attractive, as well.
The inevitable question for those looking into a metal roof is, “What about lightning?” The simple answer is that a metal roof is no more likely to be hit by a lightning strike than any other roof.
Just like there are many reasons that a steel roof might be the best for your home, there are also several thoughts on why lightning is not as dangerous to metal roofs as many people think.
Lightning is more likely to hit some objects but does not seek out a metal roof. There are a few factors to consider when discussing why lightning chooses to hit some homes and not others. None of those factors is roofing material.
The shape, height, and overall size of your home is a greater determining factor than the material it is made with. High points and big buildings are both more frequently hit by lightning than the typical house is.
Areas more prone to lightning are more likely to experience lightning strikes. The old adage, “like getting struck by lightning twice,” generally refers to the unlikelihood of such an event. However, if you live in an area prone to lightning like the Florida coasts, then your house is more likely to be hit than one in an area that has fewer electrical storms.
Also, a home located on a hilltop is certainly more vulnerable to being hit by lightning than one resting in a valley. Similarly, a house surrounded by larger buildings is less likely to be hit than one that outsizes its neighboring structures.
Not only is a steel roof no more likely to be hit by lightning but in the event of a strike, it may protect your home from further damage. This statement may be mind-blowing to some, but it relies on the simple concept of conductivity.
Common sense seems to point to any conductor being more dangerous during a lightning strike, thus making a metal roof problematic. A metal roof does not absorb the lightning strike. Rather, it sends it quickly toward the ground.
A wood, asphalt, tile or other types of roof could take the full force of a lightning strike, heating rapidly and potentially becoming engulfed in flames. Rather than conducting the energy, these roofs absorb it. This is an obviously dangerous scenario that people have little control over once it happens.
To wrap it all up, no roof is safe from a lightning strike. Many factors determine where lightning will hit, and steel does not necessarily attract these massive bolts of electricity. Since metal roofs are inherently safer if struck by lightning, it may be more beneficial to ask, “Does a non-metallic roof make my house less safe if hit by lightning?” The answer to that question is yes.