I was reminded the other day of the importance of infrared imaging and flat roofs. The roof in this picture developed leaks even though it looked to be in fair condition. Infrared imaging showed that it was taking on water throughout. If infrared imaging had been conducted earlier and the roof problems addressed water damage in the building could have been avoided.
Commercial or residential buildings with flat roofs are especially prone to leaking. Ice damning, snow load, ponding water, and Montana sun all profoundly affect a flat roof system. Especially when the roof is older and the structure is not well insulated the ice buildup can be quite intense. Because of the ice and snow buildup owners usually have to shovel the snow and ice off the roof. Over time this damages the roof surface with abrasions. Also water will sit on a flat roof at low spots. When water sits it has a chance to penetrate the roof membrane at any weak points. With many bright sunny days in Montana we experience a lot of sun related damage to all roof systems. Flat roofs are not exempt from this damage.
There are several types of flat roof systems and they are often hard to identify. On older roofs there could be several generations of roofing material. Older roofs used hot tar and felt. Newer roofs are composed of a various membrane membrane materials or a “rubber” applied as a liquid.
Whichever type of flat roof system you have a Infrared Imaging inspection can help identify areas of concern. These areas can then be addressed before water can penetrate and damage the structure.