Aerial Infrared Thermal Imaging
The exact point of water intrusion on a flat roof can be elusive. With infrared thermal imaging, the guesswork is removed from locating high levels of water content (red arrows, water infiltration). Notice the level of sensitivity offered from our camera as it exposes the structural elements of the building.
After being awarded a Commercial roofing project in the Chicago vicinity, we were informed our client saved $80,000.00 by avoiding a complete tear-off of the existing roof assembly. Prior to bidding, an aerial thermal analysis was completed. It was determined only a small percentage of roof insulation needed to be removed and replaced. The roof was then protected by installing a black, vented, EPDM commercial roof system..
Infrared Physics 101
During the day, the sun’s heat warms the roof composition. By sunset, the roof transmits its heat back into the atmosphere, called radiative cooling. Areas of the roof that are wet retain this heat longer than dry areas because of the increased wet mass. Our Infrared camera detects this heat differentiation to uncover the location of the warmer, wet areas.
#1 This roof image is reporting it has 3 leaks toward the drain areas. Hmmm, I wonder where they are?
#2 This image tells us that the roof is possibly saturated. Cores were run after this shot was taken and we learned that the bottom roof was completely dry, while the top was soaked.
The “roof-walk” method for infrared moisture detection is not the best procedure, for accuracy reasons alone. The technology is the same in that the infrared camera detects trapped moisture that is cooling at a lower rate than the roof’s surface area, but the average time it takes to survey the complete area of roof is much greater, leaving a greater margin for error. From an aerial position we can capture an entire building in ten seconds…the “roof-walk” method would take 4-6 hours.
Consequently, with the extended time it takes to survey one section of the roof, the other areas are cooling; therefore, questioning the accuracy of the method, not the infrared technology.