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 an incredible number of square feet now inspected annually over the globe.
Infrared can be put on accumulated (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a layer of insulation is in direct & continuous experience of the underside of the roofing membrane. Thermography may be performed from aircraft or ground-based. With the correct 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, 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 a lot of reasons, many building property managers and owners do not perform routine roof maintenance of any kind. Often the idea of when it isn’t broken then there is no reason to fix it. So if the roof isn’t leaking, there is no motivation to perform predictive maintenance inspections of any type commercial flat roof inspections. Most of the time infrared technology is, more regularly than not, used only after 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 a decade before it begins to enter stages of failure as a result of moisture intrusion. By having an annual infrared detection scan roof life can be extended up to 3 hundred percent. By having an average roof replacement costing of up to twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.