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Understanding the Truth: Metal Roofs and Lightning Strikes

Metal roofs are increasingly popular for their durability and aesthetic appeal, but misconceptions about their interaction with lightning persist. This article aims to dispel myths and provide factual insights into the relationship between metal roofs and lightning, ensuring homeowners make informed decisions.

Debunking Common Myths

Metal Roofs as Lightning Magnets: A False Belief

Contrary to popular belief, metal roofs do not attract lightning more than other materials. Lightning's attraction is influenced by factors like height and isolation, not the roofing material.

Fire Risk and Metal Roofs: Unfounded Fears

Metal roofs are often thought to increase fire risk during lightning strikes. However, they are non-combustible and possess a Class A fire rating, making them one of the safest options in terms of fire resistance.

Insurance Misconceptions: The Reality

Many assume that metal roofs lead to higher insurance rates due to perceived lightning risks. In truth, their fire-resistant nature often results in insurance discounts.

Lightning: Understanding the Phenomenon

Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves. It seeks the path of least resistance to the ground, which is not necessarily determined by the material of a structure.

Lightning Protection: A Smart Investment

The Role of Lightning Rods

Installing a lightning rod, a concept pioneered by Benjamin Franklin, is a wise decision for any roof type. It directs the lightning safely into the ground, protecting the structure from potential damage.

Considerations for Lightning Rod Installation

  • Roof Characteristics: The size and shape of the roof determine the number of rods required.

  • Local Climate: Areas with frequent storms might need more robust systems.

  • Building Codes and Regulations: Compliance with local and national standards is crucial.

  • Professional Consultation: Engaging experts ensures proper installation and effectiveness.

  • Cost and Maintenance: Consider the initial investment and ongoing maintenance needs.

Where Lightning Strikes Most

Certain areas and structures are more prone to lightning strikes:

  • Tall Buildings and Structures: Height makes them likely targets.

  • Trees: Especially when they are the tallest objects in an area.

  • Open Fields: Being the highest point increases the risk.

  • Bodies of Water: Large open water bodies can attract lightning in the absence of taller structures.

Advantages of Metal Roofing

Longevity and Durability

Metal roofs can last over 50 years, far outperforming traditional materials like asphalt shingles.

Energy Efficiency

Their reflective properties reduce cooling costs in warm climates, while in colder regions, they efficiently shed snow.

Fire Resistance

The non-combustible nature of metal roofs adds an extra layer of safety against external fire sources.

Safety Measures During Thunderstorms

  • Avoid Electrical Appliances: Lightning can surge through electrical systems.

  • Stay Away from Plumbing: Plumbing can conduct electricity from lightning.

  • Use Surge Protectors: They help protect electronics from voltage surges.

  • Weather Awareness: Stay informed about storm forecasts.

  • Professional Assessments: Regular checks by experts ensure compliance and safety.


Metal roofs do not attract lightning more than other materials and offer numerous benefits, including fire resistance and energy efficiency. Implementing safety measures and considering lightning protection systems like rods are prudent steps for all homeowners. Empire Roofing and Exteriors, located in Morehead KY, emphasizes the importance of understanding these aspects to ensure the safety and longevity of your roofing investment.

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