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The Dangers Of Metal Roofing

Are metal roofs really safe?


Many people today are installing metal roofs to replace the conventional singles they once had.  But what are the dangers associated with metal roofs?  Are they the last roof you'll ever own or are they too dangerous for your family?

Your home may have one of the traditional roofs that have cedar shakes, fiberglass or asphalt shingles, or even a brick tile roof.  But more and more, the trend is going to metal roofs.  They are virtually maintenance free once installed and should last one's lifetime.  They come in many colors to match the brick or siding of your home.  With the addition of a rubber roof base or foam insulation, it also increases the “R-value” of insulating rating of your roof.  I personally like the idea that I may not ever have to roof my home again.

However, with such a roof comes dangers in, on, and around them.  One danger is frozen materials, branches, and nuts from trees sliding off of them on top of you.  Another is the danger of sliding off of them if maintenance is needed or during installation.  The final one is the danger of electrocution by standing on or touching the roof and coming in contact with a power line, or having an extension cord getting cut by the shape metal.

All of the above are real dangers and should be considered.  And speaking of lighting strikes, it only seems logical to install lighting rods to metal roofs.  Remember, just because you're not on a metal roof when threatening weather approaches, doesn't mean you can't be hit by a lightning strike.  Picture what is attached to the roof area, mainly gutters and downspouts.  They too are often made of metal and that gives electricity a path to ground.  That in combination with the usual rainfall associated with storms, leaves you in danger when standing on wet ground around any of these obstacles.

When snow and ice cover the metal roof, there is always the danger of large amounts of each sliding off of the slick metal roof and falling on someone or something.  To help guard against this, there are snow guards that are “L-shaped” metal or plastic guards that stop the snow from falling.  They are usually staggered, every other one, about 12” higher or lower than the previous one.

Do you think there's a greater chance of your home getting hit by lighting with a metal roof?  That question is addressed in an article I found about Is Lightning A Danger With Metal Roofing?  In the article he explains that do to the metal roof's conductivity and that fact that metal doesn't burn easily, it is a great path to ground for electricity, but is unlikely to be hit.  Although, I must say, lightning has no boundaries and hits what it wants, when it wants.  So just because you have a metal roof, I wouldn't lay out on it in a thunderstorm.

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