Dayton Infrared Inspections


The use of Infrared Thermal Imaging for roof inspection has become an economical and proven method of maintaining commercial flat roofs so commonly found in commercial, industrial, institutional, and office building structures.  Roof leaks develop due to factors associated with installation, design, and neglected maintenance. Damage caused by a flat roof leak can be quite substantial and costly. A leak in a low sloped flat roof will often go unnoticed as the insulation between the roof deck and the flat roof covering absorbs much of the moisture.  When moisture and water enters a commercial flat roof system, it often becomes trapped and can remain beneath the commercial roof covering for years. This causes the roof materials (including decking, insulation, and covering) to degrade rapidly and ultimately fail prematurely, resulting in enormous replacement expenditures. Infrared Thermal Inspections of commercial flat roofs can help!

Why is a Flat Roof Infrared Inspection important?

Thermal imaging can assist in determining the extent of affected/damaged materials, and help to identify the source of leaks. Roof leaks are unique in that when water damage is observed inside the building, the leak source rarely occurs directly above the interior location.  Water trapped beneath a flat roof can travel great distances along roof decking, structural building components, and mechanical systems such as pipes and HVAC ducts.  Blindly patching suspect areas is often performed and results in failed attempts, frustration, and wasted time and money.  The longer a commercial flat roof continues to leak, the more likely damage, revenue loss, and equipment failure are likely to occur.  It’s understandable how facility and commercial building owners can become overburdened with repairs.  With average flat roof replacement costs at $18.00 per square foot or more depending on the materials and extent of repairs needed, it’s important to ensure your flat roof is sound year after year. 

An undeniably proven method for determining your commercial flat roof condition is through the use of Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections. The industry average life expectancy for flat (low sloped) roof systems is ten to fifteen years! These published statistics also indicate many flat roof systems will develop leaks within the first two years of service! For each year a building owner can extend their flat roof useful service life beyond the industry average, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars can be recouped into budgets for other expenditures and future expansions! BC Warner Inspections and Thermal Imaging Services has saved our clients enormous replacement expenses through infrared inspections of flat roof surfaces!

Case Studies for Infrared Roof Inspections

Case Study #1 - This Time It's Not The Roof

The building owner suspected a roof leak that was impacting his back office space and warehouse area. Roofing contractors were recommending complete replacement of the roof covering at an estimated cost of $89,000.

An infrared inspection was conducted by BC Warner Inspections resulting in negative findings for latent moisture beneath the roof surface; however, visual inspection provided with the infrared assessment revealed careless workmanship at the roof top HVAC and curb flashing which permitted water to enter the RTU and find its way to the interior areas through the ducts.

A much simpler repair and enormous cost savings to the client!

Case Study #2 - Visual Inspection Missed The Bigger Picture

The client was experiencing chronic roof leaks even after roofing contractors had repaired a small portion of the facility roof. The contractor performed the repairs based solely on a limited visual assessment of the roof covering.

An infrared inspection was conducted by BC Warner Inspections, and found that insulation surrounding the repair area was also saturated with water. While the repaired areas were readily apparent and mostly consistent with dry materials, additional compromised areas of the roof covering and insulation remained. Further repairs were needed to restore the roof to reliable condition.

Because of the infrared roof inspection, the client and roofing contractor were able to obtain the information needed to fully understand the extent of repairs needed to successfully address the water intrusion concerns, which unfortunately resulted in more than just the initial surgical repair.

Case Study #3 - Failing Parapet Wall

A roofing contractor was hired to replace a failing roof over a small historical office building. The contractor advised the building owner that the masonry parapet walls were substantially deteriorated and also required repairs. The building owner refused to have these repairs performed due to the additional expense which would be incurred.

As predicted, the building owner experienced leaks after the new roof was installed. An independent infrared roof inspection was conducted by BC Warner Inspections which confirmed that water was indeed entering the neglected masonry at the parapet wall, bypassing the roof flashing, and traveling under the membrane across the roof deck where it would logically result in an apparent roof leak.

This independent assessment from BC Warner Inspections helped the roofing contractor in proving the source of water intrusion, and reiterating the critical need for masonry repairs to the building owner. Placing the responsibility back on the building owner who ignored the roofing contractor’s original warnings, the liability for recurring leaks was alleviated from the contractor.

Case Study #4 - The Cost Saving Bid Wins

Roofing contractors were consulted for bids to replace a failing TPO roof covering over an institutional library building. Only one contractor recommended a cost-saving revitalizing coating rather than replacement of the roof membrane; however, for successful and durable application, all entrained water had to be removed and wet insulation below the membrane replaced.

An independent infrared roof inspection was conducted by BC Warner Inspections to determine the feasibility of the roof coating by identifying the extent of failure and latent water concealed below the surface. While general deterioration and previous storm damage were readily visible at numerous areas of the roof, the inspection revealed that only a handful of isolated surgical repairs were needed prior to the new top coat, rather than complete monolithic removal and replacement.

This allowed the contractor to perform successful repairs and apply a durable coating, greatly extending the service life of the existing roof covering. The board members for the institution were able to realize an anticipated cost savings of over $175,000 knowing the coating could be successfully applied after small repairs were performed.

Frequently Asked Questions for Infrared Roof Inspections

Water that enters the roof surface becomes absorbed and trapped. This very water becomes the catalyst that helps infrared thermal imaging equipment identify and locate problem areas. Water has the highest thermal density of any other building material including stone and concrete! This means it takes the longest time to heat up and cool down as compared to other building materials. But we need a source to provide this heat over such a large surface as a commercial flat roof… The best, most efficient, and most uniform source of this heat is the sun. An infrared roof inspection relies on the sun to heat the roof surface during the day. When the sun sets in the evening, the roof surface begins to cool rapidly… much faster than the trapped water beneath the flat roof surface. During this window of opportunity, an infrared roof inspection can quickly identify heat patterns in the roof surface using a non-invasive, non-intrusive infrared camera. These “thermal signatures” are then verified via moisture meters to confirm water beneath the identified locations. The roof surface is often marked so repairs can be easily and surgically made as opposed to complete roof replacement or wasteful roof-overs. An image or video is also captured and included in the infrared roof inspection report along with sketch or CAD drawing indicating the location(s) of identified hidden moisture. BC Warner Inspections & Thermal Imaging Services has scanned and documented millions of square feet of commercial flat roofs for our clients. Our Infrared Roof Inspections have proven cost savings time and again to clients who realized the benefits.

Ideally, roofs should be inspected and surveyed shortly after installation to establish parameters to base future surveys on. A well designed and maintained roof can be inspected every 3 to 5 years, but ideal maintenance and best cost savings are realized with annual infrared inspections regardless of the age of the roof. Infrared Roof Inspections are also recommended and should be performed after major weather events such as high winds, hail storms, heavy snows, and severe thunderstorms. If an active leak is present or observed inside your building, infrared inspections can help to locate the source and determine the extent of damage both inside and out.

GREAT QUESTION! Most commercial flat roof coverings make great candidates for an infrared roof inspection; however, there are a few materials and roof types which do not. Flat roofs with roof coverings such as Built Up (BUR), modified bitumen, torch down, Spray Foam (SPF), etc. make excellent candidates for a successful infrared roof inspection. Roof coverings consisting of a membrane such as EPDM, vinyl, TPO, and PVC are also good candidates, but do have some difficulties and limitations we would be happy to discuss with you. Poor materials for an infrared roof inspection include heavily ballasted roofs (2 or more inches thick, or large aggregate), roofs with a reflective coating applied, and metal roofs. We would also be happy to discuss options and considerations for those types of commercial roofing materials.

I have devoted years of time and investment in quality training and equipment to provide our clients a truly unbiased and experienced infrared inspection service.  BC Warner Inspections does not perform repairs or recommend specific commercial roofing contractors, so our service remains truly unbiased and dedicated to your best interest and trust.  My knowledge and experience in commercial flat roof infrared inspections is surpassed by few.  In fact, as the Educational Director for the National Association of Commercial Building Inspectors & Thermographers™, I find myself answering questions and providing technical support to many local and regional infrared companies, as well as to inspectors across the United States and Canada who actively seek advice from an experienced thermographer. Infrared technology and training varies dramatically in quality, specifications, and of course costs.  Many providers, roofing contractors, and individual inspectors unfortunately choose to enter this profession as cheaply as possible with little to no training and grossly inadequate equipment.  When accuracy, quality, and experience matters in such an important application as an Infrared flat roof inspection, BC Warner Inspections & Thermal Imaging Services is the right choice for your commercial building application. 

The potential savings realized from an Infrared Roof Inspection provided by BC Warner Inspections can be enormous! Through proper maintenance and infrared roof inspections, our clients can extend the service life of their facility flat roof exponentially.  Entire roof replacements can turn into smaller “surgical” repairs saving clients thousands of dollars.  The incentive to repair and maintain roofs, rather than replace them becomes even greater during these tough economic times.  Additionally, as waste disposal costs continue to increase, our use of landfills can be significantly reduced to protect our environment for future generations!   Infrared Roof Inspections will help to pinpoint and focus your maintenance personnel or contractors on the precise areas needing repair.  Roof maintenance using the information and details provided by an infrared roof inspection is one of the best investments businesses and facility owners can make in their roof maintenance efforts.