Flat roof infrared scans were first used to detect moisture and mold within flat and low slope roofs in the 1970’s. Ever since then its usage has steadily increased with countless square feet now inspected annually throughout the globe.
Infrared could be applied to built up (BUR) and single ply roofing systems where either an insulating deck or a coating of insulation is in direct & continuous contact with the lower 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 areas of moisture infiltration for many shapes and sizes of roofing structures.
Generally speaking a really 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 is sometimes not a feasible solution for detection of premature roof failure due to moisture intrusion
For most 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’s no reason to correct it. So if the roof is not leaking, there’s no motivation to execute predictive maintenance inspections of any type. All the time infrared technology is, commercial flat roof inspections more regularly than not, used only after having a roof has started failure or as a quality assurance tool for new installations and retrofits.
An average low slope or flat roof features a life span of only a decade before it begins to enter stages of failure due to moisture intrusion. By having an annual infrared detection scan roof life could be extended well over 300 percent. By having an average roof replacement costing of well over twenty dollar per square foot, an annual infrared inspection makes huge economic sense.