Underneath It All: Infra-Red Roof Scans

Dream. Discover. Design.
August 11, 2015
PerFOREMANce Roofing Specialist Speaks at Chamber Meeting
September 9, 2015

Yellow, warmer areas indicate the presence of moisture in roof insulation.

When my son suffered a knee injury recently, the X-Ray showed no broken bones. What a relief!…until we had an MRI, which showed a small fracture at the base of his femur. Undetected, that fracture could have become dislodged, which would have resulted in surgery. Not the news we wanted, but news we were nonetheless glad to get. His physical therapy was delayed a month, but the bone healed and now he is on his way to a full recovery.

Diagnostic testing is crucial to uncover conditions that, undetected, can compound over time and result in additional costly remedies.

Infra-Red Roof Scans are an important diagnostic test for your building. The scan detects moisture trapped within your roof system without the need for destructive testing, and provides for an accurate assessment as to the extent and range of this moisture.

IMG_2269How does an Infra-Red Roof Scan Work?

An Infra-Red camera measures differences in surface temperatures of the roof system. Because water is denser than air, it takes longer to heat up during the day, but also longer to cool down in the evening. It is for this reason that the most reliable infra-red data is secured in the evening when the temperature differences between wet and dry areas of the roof are most prevalent.

Why have an infra-red scan?

  1. You may have a leak and not even know it. Water may be entering the roof system, but because it is being absorbed by the insulation, there may be no indication that there is a roof defect.
  2. Because you like to plan. An Infra-Red Roof Scan provides an invaluable tool in decision making. A nuisance leak here or there is one thing; a roof system that is accumulating water is another. Knowing the condition of your roof, especially one at or near the end of its serviceable life allows you to better plan for future rehabilitation expenditures.
  3. What you can’t see can hurt you. A little rust on the outside of your fender may be nothing to worry about. But what if the paint on the rear panel of the car is really the only thing holding your car together? An Infra-Red Roof Scan allows you to evaluate the entire roof system, not just the part you can see. When you are armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you are in a superior position to make informed decisions.

What can trapped moisture do to your roof and building?

  1. Weight. One square foot of damp two-inch roof insulation will add almost ten pounds of weight to your roof deck. That’s 1,000 pounds of additional weight for every 100 square feet of wet insulation your deck is now carrying. Over time, this additional structural load can degrade the weight bearing capacity of your roof deck.
  2. IR15Energy. Wet insulation conducts energy instead of resists it. Wet insulation can decrease the R-Value of your insulation by up to 40%, resulting in higher heating and cooling costs.
  3. Bacteria and Mold. Wet insulation can be a pre-cursor to mold and bacteria, an obvious and potentially serious Indoor Air Quality issue.
  4. Drainage. Insulation that becomes wet can lose its tensile strength and become compressed causing depressions in the roof. These depressions can cause water to pond, decreasing drainage while further deteriorating the roof system, as well as being a source of major damage if there is a failure in the roof under the ponded water (Think of pulling the plug on a bath tub!).
  5. Roof System Performance. Wet insulation will degrade the roof system by weakening or destroying the attachment method of the insulation and membrane, making your roof susceptible to premature failure and decrease its wind uplift rating. This is especially true when the wet insulation is near the perimeter of the roof, where wind uplift pressures are the greatest.

PerFOREMANce Roofing Specialists (PRS) is uniquely positioned to not only perform an infra-red scan on your roof, but to provide an independent assessment of its results.

PRS provides a truly independent review of your roofing needs. We assess current conditions, work with our clients to determine their goals, and provide multiple options and solutions. But because we are not a manufacturer or contractor, we provide unbiased professional opinions and work strictly for you, our client.

PRS is part of The Foreman Group, that has proudly been in business for over sixty years. Visit our website to browse our comprehensive list of services.

We look forward to speaking with you and working together for all of your roof consulting and design needs.

~Dave Meyer, Roofing Specialist