Myths Debunked: Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

Lightning rods are made of metal so it must mean that anything made of metal, roofs included, can attract lightning. But as you’ll find out in this guide, this assumption couldn’t be more wrong. 

Lightning Rods 

First of all, lightning rods protect tall building by channeling currents into the ground. The chances of an object being hit by lightning are influenced by three factors: its height, ‘pointiness’ and isolation. A lightning rod has all of these three qualities, none of which are remotely related to its metal composition.

The Caveat 

Take note that the said factors can only influence, not determine, the probability of an object being hit with lightning strikes. Lightning strikes, for the most part, are unpredictable, although geography, topography and the movement of storms seem to play a part. This means that any similarities between multiple locations of lightning strikes are likely to be coincidental. 

Lightning Damage and Conductivity 

Given all of these facts, there is no evidence to suggest metal roofing systems attract lightning. If anything, metal, a highly conductive material, can actually help lessen the damage from lightning, provided the building in question is properly grounded. 

Conductivity’s large role in determining the extent of lightning damage gives credibility to the advice of staying away from trees during thunderstorms. Structures made of wood, which have a higher resistance to electricity, would likely suffer more damage. 

If, however, you’re still concerned about the possibility of lightning strikes hitting your home, it might be worth considering getting a new metal roof. Just make sure that it’s installed by an experienced contractor and that your home is properly grounded. 

Garlock-French Corporation, a GAF Master Elite® roofing contractor with over 80 years’ worth of experience, offers a wide range of roofing services and products. To request a quote, call us at (612) 722-7129, or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in St Paul and Minneapolis, MN.