What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Metal Roof?

What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Metal Roof?

Phoenix might be hot, but that doesn’t mean it never gets any rain! In fact, Phoenix is a hotspot for lightning strikes. 2022 alone saw over 300,000 lightning strikes1, for example. Because of this, lots of homeowners have metal roofs in Phoenix. But why?

Today, let’s take a look at what happens when lightning strikes a metal roof so you know whether your home is lightning-safe or not.

Metal Roofs and Lightning – What Happens When They Mix?

To understand how metal roofs interact with lightning, you need to know why lightning strikes the ground.

In a nutshell, electricity is the conduction of energy from a state of low voltage to high voltage and vice versa. When storms produce lightning strikes, lightning tries to reach the ground 2 as quickly as possible via the path of least resistance. That’s because the ground is positively charged (and the sky is negatively charged).

Metal is highly conductive, meaning electricity flows through it quickly and easily. If your home is equipped with a metal roof, lightning will strike it, then flow down the metal, down your house, and into the ground with hardly any interruption.

Should You Have a Metal Roof in Phoenix?

A metal roof in Phoenix is a great idea purely because of the protective potential against lightning strikes.

When lightning strikes a metal roof, the lighting is instantly contained. Most metal roofs have aluminum rod systems that spread out the energy from the lightning strike, then deliver it to the ground outside your home. As a result, even if lightning strikes your house, you may not notice it, or it may not damage the infrastructure or the people inside.

On top of that, metal is a Class-A fire-resistant material for roofs. That means it’s much less likely to ignite or combust under any circumstance, not just lightning strikes. Protecting your home against fire is always wise, especially in a hot city like Phoenix!

What Happens When Lightning Strikes Other Roofing Materials?

In contrast to lightning striking a metal roof, lightning striking other roofing materials is never a good sign. That’s because most other house roof materials are made of more combustible molecules.

For example, a lightning strike could immediately spark a major fire if you have asphalt shingles on your roof. If you’re unlucky, that fire could grow and consume your house in no time at all. The same is true if your house is equipped with a wooden roof; a wooden roof will instantly ignite if it is struck by lightning, which can occur if your home is at the highest point in the area near a lightning strike.

In addition to those risks, if lightning doesn’t have a clear path to the ground when it strikes your house, it may jump or leap between the walls and floors. This can cause a physical hazard to you and your family members. Or the lighting might go through your electrical wiring system. This can short out the electrical wires throughout your house, sparking fires or explosive power surges that may damage equipment or lead to injuries.

Contact Four Peaks Roofing Today

Ultimately, a metal roof is your best bet for keeping your home and your family safe in the event of a lightning strike. That’s why Four Peaks Roofing offers metal roofing solutions for homeowners just like you. This includes metal roofing shingles, metal sheets, and metal rolls.

Want to know more or need some professional assistance deciding what metal roof is the best for your house? Contact us today!



[1] https://www.axios.com/local/phoenix/2022/08/26/arizona-monsoon-season-lightning-strikes

[2] https://sciencing.com/electricity-go-ground-5494279.html