Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (2024)

Do Barndominiums Attract More Lightning Strikes? This is a solid question that I continuously bounced around my head during the planning phase of my barndominium. Surely farmers have often wondered and worried over the same question.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (1)

The recent rise of repurposed barns and sheds converted into rustic residential barndominiums has resurrected interest in this question it seems- so do agricultural-style buildings actually increase risks of lightning activity and strikes compared to typical homes? Let’s break down the factors at play- Barndominiums are large metal structures, often with exposed steel beams or roofing, which makes them somewhat more likely to be struck by lightning compared to a typical house. But there are more factors that come into play- However, actual statistics are hard to find. In general, buildings of any type getting directly struck by lightning is relatively rare compared to strikes hitting the ground. Location, height, and construction materials are all factors that influence risk.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (2)

Height Theory
A long-prevailing myth suggests any building significantly taller than surrounding structures acts like a lightning rod, attracting hits. Barndos often integrate much higher sidewall clearance or vaulted ceilings well over 20 feet high. But modern lightning research finds negligible height correlation to strike incidence. Lightning navigates complex atmospheric electrical pathways unlikely influenced by a slightly taller barn- Their height and flat, expansive roofs also make barndominiums prone to lightning strikes. They tend to be taller than regular homes and have a large surface area exposed at height.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (3)

Metal Construction
Fully metal-clad barndominiums also raise concerns over attracting electrical current. But steel framing and corrugated panel skins face no greater lightning hazard issues than wood buildings. In fact, metal construction proves beneficial for dissipating and grounding strike charges faster before causing fire risks. The electrical continuity avoids added danger.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (4)

Location/Environment Hazards

Siting proves the most influential factor governing barndo lightning risks. More remote rural locations simply endure more storms and lightning overall than dense neighborhoods – regardless of building types present. Large open fields lack tree coverage also associated with higher strike rates. Building atop hills/ridges escalates danger even further through exposure.

Ultimately lightning follows its own indiscriminate paths to earth ground. While metal-sheathed rural barndominiums situated on high terrain certainly court more strikes than suburban homes, the building composition itself doesn’t attract lightning or considerably raise statistical odds across general locations. Practicing sound electrical grounding, surge protection and lightning rod installations defend against seasonal storms. But risks remain largely dictated by regional climate threats. Just stay alert!

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (5)

Here are a few more key points about the likelihood of a barndominium getting struck by lightning.

Installing proper lightning protection systems (i.e. lightning rods, grounding) greatly increases safety and reduces the risk of damage. When installed correctly per building codes, the lightning protection system provides a safe path for the lightning strike to travel to ground.

– Barndominiums in open, rural locations and areas with frequent thunderstorms are naturally at higher overall risk than urban locations. Without protection, a direct strike could potentially damage steel supports or start a fire in the wall insulation or roof beams or damnage unprotected electronics.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (6)

So while barndominiums do carry a slightly elevated lightning strike risk compared to traditional stick-built homes, the damage is unlikely and very rare, especially with the proper lightning rod and grounding precautions installed that are highly recommended in rural locations. But their metal construction and rural locations make strikes a possibility to consider. Proper lightning protection installation reduces safety concerns in most cases and is a cheap simple fix that will most certainly put your mind at ease.

Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? (2024)


Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes? ›

Are Barndominiums Safe in Lightning? While lightning strikes are rarely a problem for any home, steel barndominiums may have additional safety benefits. It might be surprising to note that steel does not attract lightning. In fact, compared to other materials, metal has a lower electrical resistance.

How safe are barndominiums in storms? ›

Barndominiums are commonly built using a steel frame structure, which provides exceptional strength and durability. Steel is known for its resistance to high winds and impacts, making it a reliable choice for severe weather resilience.

Are metal houses safe from lightning? ›

Lightning Safety: How You Can Stay Protected

You are always much safer indoors during a lightning storm. However, some may think they are safer outside if the only nearby structure is made of metal. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, a metal building is even safer than wood during a lightning storm.

What are the pros and cons of a barndominium? ›

Pros of barndominiums include a cheaper cost, fully customizable space, and lower maintenance. They're also highly durable with lots of extra room and are a more eco-friendly housing option. Meanwhile, cons include higher upfront costs, difficulties finding financing, and not all cities allow them.

How to protect a metal building from lightning? ›

A grounding system connected to the earth will help to absorb the impact and equalize your buildings electrical systems, in the event of a hazardous lightning strike. Did you know? That steel roofs are in fact, less dangerous when struck by lightning, even without a grounded lightning rod.

Do barndominiums get struck by lightning? ›

Lightning navigates complex atmospheric electrical pathways unlikely influenced by a slightly taller barn- Their height and flat, expansive roofs also make barndominiums prone to lightning strikes. They tend to be taller than regular homes and have a large surface area exposed at height.

Why are barndominiums hard to insure? ›

While a barndominium is very similar to a traditionally built home, insuring them can be much more difficult. There can be several reasons why insurance companies are hesitant to insure these structures. The primary reason is that these homes are non-standard construction, which means they lack historical data.

What makes a house more likely to be struck by lightning? ›

Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes.

Can lightning strike a house with a metal roof? ›

Extensive research has proven that metal roofing is no more likely to attract a lightning strike than any other type of roofing material. In fact, as a non-combustible material with the highest Class A fire-resistance rating, metal roofing is one of the best materials for homes in lightning-prone regions.

What material can resist lightning? ›

Copper and aluminum are two of the most common materials used in lightning protection systems. Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity and is widely utilized for lightning rods, down conductors, and grounding systems. Aluminum is also frequently used due to its conductivity and cost-effectiveness.

What do I wish I knew before building a barndominium? ›

Here are the most important things to know about building a barndominium.
  • Obtain a permit for your project. Photo by Bridger Steel, Inc. ...
  • Test the paint. Photo by Justin Doyle Homes. ...
  • Prepare for surprise costs. ...
  • Plan for electrical work. ...
  • Choose your windows and doors wisely. ...
  • Add insulation—it's important.
Mar 14, 2022

What is the life expectancy of a barndominium? ›

Longevity: Although they may not last as long as traditional homes, a well-maintained barndominium can provide comfortable living for around 50 years. 5. Durability: Barndominiums are built to withstand the elements, ensuring they remain sturdy and reliable over the years.

Why are barndominiums hard to finance? ›

Banks require appraisals to determine the property's value, which in turn, informs their lending decisions. Because barndominiums are relatively unique and fewer in number compared to traditional homes, finding comparable sales (comps) necessary for accurate valuation is difficult.

What happens if lightning hits a metal building? ›

When lightning strikes a properly grounded steel building, the electricity passes directly through the steel frame and into the ground. The structural components of steel buildings are fire-resistant, which means the structure can withstand a lightning strike without catching on fire or being damaged.

What metal is lightning proof? ›

Steel buildings resist lightning damage and subsequent fires better than any other building system.

Which metal is most commonly used to protect against lightning strikes? ›

Copper and its alloys are the most common materials used in lightning protection.

Can barndominiums withstand a hurricane? ›

The steel framing and metal siding of barndominiums are extremely durable, and can withstand severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes and hail. Metal roofs can do the same and are considered one of the strongest roofing materials available since they are able to withstand: Hurricane-force winds.

What is the wind rating for a barndominium? ›

Insulated concrete forms or ICF for short is a method of building that incorporates insulated concrete blocks in the construction, what is interesting is that an ICF barndominium can withstand 200mph winds from an F2 tornado. ICF was popularized in Florida where they are no strangers to fierce winds.

Are barndominiums loud when it rains? ›

Because barndominiums are typically built with metal or steel, they transfer sound more easily—especially when it's windy or raining. Even with good insulation, outside noises will be louder because of the steel exterior. If you're sensitive to loud sounds, it may be good to consider building a different type of home.

Do barndominiums get hail damage? ›

Barndominiums, particularly those constructed with steel frames and metal roofing, provide excellent resilience against hail damage. Their robust construction, coupled with protective coatings and comprehensive warranties, make them ideal choices for areas where severe weather is a common concern.

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