Flat roof infrared scans were first used to detect moisture and mold within flat and low slope roofs in the 1970’s. Since then its usage has steadily increased with millions of square feet now inspected annually across the globe.
Infrared may be applied to built up (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a level of insulation is in direct & continuous experience of underneath of the roofing membrane. Thermography might be performed from aircraft or ground-based. With the appropriate equipment, and training, an infrared scan can detect and document problematic aspects of moisture infiltration for several shapes and sizes of roofing structures.
Generally speaking an extremely sensitive and higher resolution infrared camera is employed for flat roof infrared inspections. With higher reflective surfaces often requiring short wave infrared detectors, and for only higher reflective surfaces infrared may also be not a feasible solution for detection of premature roof failure as a result of moisture intrusion
For most reasons, many building property managers and owners do not perform routine roof maintenance of any kind. Often the thought of if it isn’t broken then there is no reason to correct it infrared roof inspections. So if the roof is not leaking, there is no motivation to perform predictive maintenance inspections of any type. A lot of the time infrared technology is, more frequently than not, used only following a roof has begun failure or as a quality assurance tool for new installations and retrofits.
A typical low slope or flat roof has a life expectancy of only 10 years before it begins to enter stages of failure as a result of moisture intrusion. Having an annual infrared detection scan roof life may be extended well over 3 hundred percent. Having an average roof replacement costing of well over twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.