Flat roof infrared scans were first used to detect moisture and mold within flat and low slope roofs in the 1970’s. Since that time its usage has steadily increased with an incredible number of square feet now inspected annually throughout the globe.
Infrared may be applied to accumulated (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a coating of insulation is in direct & continuous connection with 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 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 only higher reflective surfaces infrared may also be not a practical 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 concept of if it isn’t broken then there is no reason to fix it. So if the roof isn’t leaking, there is no motivation to execute predictive maintenance inspections of any type infrared roof inspections. The majority of the time infrared technology is, more often than not, used only after a roof has begun failure or as a good assurance tool for new installations and retrofits.
The average low slope or flat roof has a endurance of only 10 years before it begins to enter stages of failure as a result of moisture intrusion. With an annual infrared detection scan roof life may be extended well over three hundred percent. With an average roof replacement costing of well over twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.