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Thermal (IR) Roof Moisture Inspection

Every summer the Denver Metro area experiences heavy hail storms.  These storms can cause considerable damage to roofs and other parts of structures.  sUAS are now being used more and more to do visual inspections of roofs after heavy/damaging storms.  However, sometimes the damage isn’t easily seen with visual imagery.

A 117K sq foot commercial building located new downtown Denver began experiencing water leaks after a heavy rainstorm during the summer of 2018.  Visual inspection detected nothing.  Needing a different solution our client contracted with us to use thermal imagery to try and detect where the water was leaking.

An infrared camera (IR sensor) can detect heat signatures. Water holds heat longer than the various structures in the building and can usually be identified in thermal imagery by showing a higher heat signal.  While it’s not always 100% on many roof types moisture is easily discernible when the right conditions are present:

  • shortly after a rain
  • after a warm sunny day
  • after the sun is no longer shining on the roof).

With the images we provided our client they were able to physically inspect suspect areas of the roof and by coring in those areas they were able to establish the roof moisture was present from leaks and eventually their insurance claim was approved for a new roof.

The Denver Metro area endured a numbrer of heavy and intense hail storms this past summer (2018).  Many cars were damanged along with many structure (both residential and commercial).  Insurance companies send out inspectors or adjusters to physically inspect the damage. Often times the damage is hidden to visible inspection.  This was the case with a larger commercial building located near downtown Denver.  They knew they had leaks in the roof which was most likely due to the hail storm but they could not identify the source to prove this to the insurance company.  That's when the called us. 

Using a sUAS equipped with a FLIR Vue Pro we were able to identify the likely areas of moisture in the roof so they had a way to target areas and core the roof to prove it was moisture.  Though the inspection could be done by hand by walking on the roof it took a lot less time, producted high quality results and in the end is safer than physically crawling the roof.  The flight mission took about an hour with a couple more hours added on to produce an actionable report.