Can you use a satellite dish on a metal roof?

Metal roofed homes were very popular in the United States about 75-80 years ago. Corrugated metal was easy to get especially in the days after World War II and people coming out of the depression were looking for durable options that would last longer than older wood shake roofs. In the years since, those roofs have mostly been replaced. Of course with metal you will run into oxidation issues that cause leaks. Also, let’s not forget that metal roofs are very loud when it rains.

In recent years, metal roofs have been making a comeback. They are attractive and new coatings make them more resistant to oxidation than in past years. You might even be considering a metal roof to replace your old composition tile roof.

The recent popularity of metal roofs means some people out there still have metal roofs and might want to have satellite TV. So, let’s dive into some of the concerns you might have.

Is there a grounding concern?

With a metal roof, there’s always going to be a grounding concern. Your metal roof should be very well grounded. Chances are it is, because if not it probably would have given you trouble in past decades. But, this is a perfect time to take a look and make sure that your ground wire is properly run. Different cities and towns have different requirements for grounding. For the most part it you’ll just have to make sure that a copper wire is attached to anything metal on your home, and that wire has a clear path to a grounding rod or a water pipe. Check with city hall to get more information, but really anything is better than doing nothing.

Adding a satellite dish isn’t going to really increase grounding concerns. Even if the dish was directly touching the roof, the LNB is isolated because it’s plastic. You should ground your dish in any circumstance, but this is true no matter what sort of roof you have.

Should you be worried about mounting?

Mounting a satellite dish to a house with a metal roof shouldn’t be any different from any other home. That’s because you really shouldn’t be mounting directly to the roof unless you have no other choice. You can use a wide variety of mounting options for your dish, but really it’s best to mount to a wall or eave rather than drilling holes in a roof. With metal, it doesn’t swell or heal at all like wood can, so leaks are going to be far more common. You should avoid drilling holes in a metal roof at all because it creates opportunities for additional rust and oxidation.

Will a metal roof cause a problem with aiming?

A metal roof won’t cause problems with aiming any more than any other roof. You should mount your dish so that the roof doesn’t block signal at all. Every roof is going to block signal enough to cause a problem. While a metal roof will block signal almost completely, any roof will cause a problem if you’re trying to aim through it. For that reason, you should be mounting your dish so it has a clear view of the sky and isn’t blocked by the roof.

A metal roof can create some issues with heat rising off it and that can potentially cause aiming issues, but again the hope is that you’ll be able to put the dish where it’s not affected by the roof

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About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.