Flat roof infrared scans were first used to detect moisture and mold within flat and low slope roofs in the 1970’s. Ever since then its usage has steadily increased with an incredible number of square feet now inspected annually across the globe.
Infrared may be applied to developed (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a coating of insulation is in direct & continuous experience of underneath of the roofing membrane. Thermography may be performed from aircraft or ground-based. With the proper 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 a very sensitive and higher resolution infrared camera is useful for flat roof infrared inspections. With higher reflective surfaces often requiring short wave infrared detectors, and for even higher reflective surfaces infrared is sometimes not a viable solution for detection of premature roof failure as a result of moisture intrusion
For many reasons, many building property managers and owners do not perform routine roof maintenance of any kind. Often the idea of if it isn’t broken then there is no reason to fix it. So if the roof is not leaking, there is no motivation to perform predictive maintenance inspections of any type commercial roof inspections. The majority of the time infrared technology is, more regularly than not, used only after having a roof has started failure or as a good assurance tool for new installations and retrofits.
The average 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 upwards of 3 hundred percent. Having an average roof replacement costing of upwards of twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.