previous
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Solid Deck-Framing Advice
    Solid Deck-Framing Advice
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Gallery: Custom Flooring
    Gallery: Custom Flooring
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Slideshow: 12 Stunning Remodels
    Slideshow: 12 Stunning Remodels
next

Metal roofs and lightning

Q: We are building a log home with a metal (Galvalume) roof in a hilly area, but not at the top of the hill. With the metal roof, should we be more concerned about lightning? Should we install lightning rods, or should the house merely be grounded?





A: Rex Cauldwell, a master plumber and electrician from Copper Hill, Virginia, replies: Metal roofs are safe for houses in high-lightning areas. I live in such an area and installed a  standing-seam metal roof without hesitation. I don’t recommend lightning rods because they tend to attract lightning.

Grounding your metal roof is optional, although few people bother to do so. Grounding a metal roof has no effect on the lightning itself, but grounding the roof will stop the electromagnetic lines of force (generated by the lightning) from entering the building through the roof and developing damaging voltage spikes in the house.

If your building is the tallest object around, I recommend installing a 1-in. galvanized pipe taller than the building and a good distance away, and then ground it well. In many cases, this pipe can be strapped to a tree. Otherwise, the pipe will have to be secured in place with guy wires.


From Fine Homebuilding 120, pp. 18 January 1, 1999