Infrared surveys are a good way to detect areas where moisture may be trapped and causing problems on flat rooftops. When water penetrates a roof membrane through tears, cuts, or other punctures it compromises the insulation underneath. The insulation becomes saturated and it’s ability to release thermal energy is reduced. If ignored, the roof deck will absorb and retain more water. Wood decks will rot, metal ones will rust and ultimately the contents within the building are compromised as water infiltrates the building. Infrared thermography is very effective in pinpointing these moisture intrusions.
How it works:
During the day, the roof surface absorbs a lot of heat from the sun. At night, the roof radiates this heat back outward. Areas where the insulation is wet (from a leak) will retain heat longer than dry areas. Infrared cameras detect this heat and areas of abnormal heat emission can be identified by their color. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to interpret the images. A good surveyor should be able to explain their findings in plain english with a one-page summary including their recommended action.)
About Infrared Surveys:
Typically, a surveyor will visit your building at night and take a bunch of pictures of probable problematic areas and will mark the wet areas with spray paint to show areas that need repair. These areas can be seen by anyone – a contractor, building owner etc long after the survey is done. The surveyor will then provide a report and discuss recommended course of action (e.g. hire a contractor to replace the insulation in these areas, or in these areas you can just use a filler material to help with drainage, but in these other areas you need to go ahead and replace the insulation) Ask your surveyor to clearly present their findings with IR thermographs and digital picture on a 1 page report in plain English. Any professional worth their salt ought to be able to do this. This enables you to make informed decisions on how to proceed with fixing your flat or low-sloped roof. You may not have to replace the roof as soon. Best case scenario, you may be able to get away with using a filler and do it yourself to facilitate drainage and mitigate damage for long enough until you’re ready to re-roof. They may recommend removal and replacement of wet components, in which you can ask if they know any cost-effective local roofing contractors who can help.
Recap: Why you should consider doing an infrared scan…
Considering the average lifespan of the typical commercial or industrial roof is about seven to ten years as a general rule, it’s best to perform regular inspections and stick to a regular roof maintenance program. Regular inspections can save boatloads in energy loss and repairs due to wet insulation, — not to mention … like infrared surveys can also lessen equipment downtime and production losses from damage to the roof deck caused by compromised insulation. Infrared surveys are cost-effective, non-intrusive and non-damaging so if you’re a building owner and you’ve been told you need a re-roof, it would be wise to consider hiring a thermal imaging professional to do a survey first. These can save you A LOT of money and extend the life of your roof substantially (up to 300% in some cases), enabling you to fix the problem without the enormous expense of replacing the entire roof. Give us a call if you need help finding a qualified Infrared Scan company.