All roofing systems have weaknesses, including commercial flat or low-slope roofs. The moment moisture seeps underneath the protective barrier of your roof, it can cause detrimental problems to your commercial property. Even if there are no obvious signs of leaks right now, your commercial roof could be slowly deteriorating. Without early detection and remediation, even tiny leaks can cause extensive structural damage and eventually require a complete roof replacement.

Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

Common causes of commercial roof leaks include:

  • Failed seals and flashing
  • Poor drainage
  • Pooling water
  • Roo penetrations
  • Damages to the membrane

Be sure to schedule routine roofing inspection and maintenance to keep leaks from occurring and prolong the lifespan of your commercial roof.

Unfortunately, some roof leaks are challenging to detect with a physical examination. Infrared scans can create detailed maps of your commercial low-slope roof, indicating where excess moisture is trapped as well as the exact location of a roof leak. 

These scans can also reveal where insulation is soaked or compromised. Roofing professionals can use infrared scans to generate maps of your entire roof to narrow the search for water intrusion without physically puncturing or damaging your roof, which saves time in pinpointing areas for repairs.

Finding Roof Leaks with Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging cameras are used to capture infrared radiation to measure the heat radiated by the roof surface. Since thermal cameras completely ignore visible light, the heat readings generated aren’t obscured by a solid object, such as a wall or roof membrane.

Moisture adds an extra thermal mass to roofing materials. As a result, the roofing material holds onto heat longer than the dry material around it. Under appropriate conditions, thermal cameras capture the extra heat the way regular cameras capture visible light. Consequently, they show the extent of moisture concentration within the roofing system.

Infrared imaging is often taken at night, after a dry, sunny day. When the sun shines on a flat or low-slope roof, it heats up the roofing and the top layer of the insulation below. After sunset, the insulation will begin to cool, but the damp insulation often cools at a much slower pace than dry insulation. When an Infrared scan is performed at this time, dry insulation manifests in cooler hues of blue and purple. However, the roof areas with moisture contamination show up in shades of orange and yellow.

Benefits of Infrared scans for the Building Owner or Manager

Thermal imaging is a critical element in predictive maintenance for commercial roof assets. It is a perfect means to illustrate moisture infiltration and migration in your roof and plan for life cycle budgets and leak remediation. By working with a roofing professional who uses this technology, you can prevent water destruction before a leak turns serious, allowing you to be proactive in preventing collateral damage to your building’s interior. It is an innovative resource to evaluate your commercial roof’s overall health without random, destructive testing.

Thermographic imaging offers building owners and managers significantly more information about the exact location of moisture. It even reveals the roof’s specific layer where the moisture is trapped and which areas of your roof are still dry and functional. This allows you to save a significant amount on your investment and only replace what is damaged, saving your money by minimizing tear-offs.

Other benefits of infrared scans include:

  • Produces detailed maps to include in reports about your roof’s status. These maps are easy to understand, reference, and use to begin action outlines.
  • Use the maps to plan your budget and estimate the overall costs of roof repair.
  • The maps can help discover leaks and other dangerous and insidious issues with the roof, such as mold growth or erosion which could compromise the deck’s structural integrity. 
  • Your insurance provider may use thermal maps when evaluating the real-time conditions of your building and determining rates.
  • Certain roof manufacturers may require infrared scans to maintain warranties or guarantees. Potential buyers may likely need this kind of roof assessment.

Schedule Thermal Imaging for Your Commercial Roof!

Vanguard Roofing provides free commercial roof surveys for our commercial roof owners and managers who wish to have us work on their Tri-State region facility. Our expert technicians perform comprehensive roof assessments by inspecting conditions and establishing roof assembly through thermal imaging. Depending on the outcome of the scans, we can determine if your project will be on overlay or tear-off.

Infrared scans can help pinpoint leaks and moisture buildup severity in a low-slope or flat commercial roof. Our experts will liaise with you to conveniently schedule the procedure at night after a sunny day when the roof is dry to ensure a helpful thermographic inspection. Contact us today to schedule your free roofing inspection!