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 over the globe.
Infrared could be placed on accumulated (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a coating of insulation is in direct & continuous contact 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 all shapes and sizes of roofing structures.
Generally speaking an extremely sensitive and higher resolution infrared camera is useful for flat roof infrared inspections. With higher reflective surfaces often requiring short wave infrared detectors, flat roof inspections and for even higher reflective surfaces infrared might be not a feasible solution for detection of premature roof failure as a result of moisture intrusion
For all reasons, many building property managers and owners don’t perform routine roof maintenance of any kind. Often the concept of when it isn’t broken then there’s no reason to repair it. So if the roof isn’t leaking, there’s no motivation to do predictive maintenance inspections of any type. Most of the time infrared technology is, more often than not, used only after having a roof has started failure or as an excellent assurance tool for new installations and retrofits.
An average low slope or flat roof features a life expectancy of only 10 years before it begins to enter stages of failure as a result of moisture intrusion. By having an annual infrared detection scan roof life could be extended well over 3 hundred percent. By having an average roof replacement costing of well over twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.