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Do Barndominiums attract more lightning strikes?

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.

blue barndominium with carport

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.

white barndominium with grey roof and attached garage

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.

black barndominium shophouse with 3 car garage and wraparound porch with flowers lining the porch

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.

white barndominium shophouse with 3 car garage and wraparound porch

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!

black barndominium floor plan with 3 car garage and barn doors leading to entryway

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.

white farmhouse house plans

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.

Aaron Scott
Aaron Scott
Aaron Scott is a freelance writer and researcher that has written hundreds of articles for online companies in the area of construction, design, finance and automotive. He's a Southern boy that enjoys creek fishing, hunting and camping. He's rarely seen without his trusted beagle hound "Scooter"
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