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Roof Moisture Analysis
Infrared is a multi-purpose building management tool
by Peter Brooks, President and CEO of Infra-red Analyzers, Inc.
New England Real Estate Journal

More and more building owners and facilities managers realize that professional nondestructive testing can significantly reduce costs and improve building management. Infrared inspection of roofing systems has proven especially valuable, because it can reveal hidden moisture within a critical and very expensive building component. Properly applied, this cutting-edge technology offers invaluable information to those making expensive building management decisions.

Infrared thermography is a scientifically validated method for evaluating roof condition. Performed by a professional and unbiased service, it can accurately evaluate internal roof conditions and help settle conflicting opinions and advice. If conditions warrant substantial repairs or replacement, a baseline of objective thermographic information can ensure equal specifications and encourage accurate, competitive bids.

With the remarkable detail available from today’s high-end video radiometers, a skilled technician can pinpoint problem areas within roofing structures as well as the extent of moisture penetration. Because water penetrating the roof can enter the structure and invade other building components–floors, ceilings and walls–it’s important to get a detailed roof moisture analysis. Professional nondestructive testers will offer CAD blueprints and on-site mark-outs to thoroughly document their findings. For ballasted roofs (resistant to accurate infrared detection) they will perform nuclear moisture analysis./p>

Mold Detection

Mold infestation is a growing concern for building managers around the country. Here in the Northeast, wet building materials provide an excellent environment for the growth of mold cultures. Mold needs three things to thrive: nutrients, moisture, and optimum temperatures. Roofing insulation provides the food. Leaky roofs, most of which are not yet dripping inside the building, provide the moisture. And during much of the year, our roofs provide the temperatures growing molds like best.

The best solution is prevention. Moisture damage and mold are progressive conditions. The longer building materials stay wet, the worse the problem becomes. The sooner problem areas are identified and mitigated, the greater the opportunity to reduce losses and potential liability. Periodic infrared scanning should be included in mold identification and control programs.

Due Diligence and Building Commissioning

When it comes to due diligence, it’s especially important to get an accurate evaluation of the roof. How watertight is that roof membrane? Is there a hidden potential for mold, or moisture damage in the roofing system? Savvy purchasers are now ordering professional infrared surveys to document the condition and value of the roof before they buy. Due diligence surveys can also protect interests during negotiations.

Many roofing consultants, architects and building owners now specify infrared acceptance testing after construction to confirm the quality of roofing materials and workmanship. The hard-copy documentation of a professional report helps reduce litigation and encourages positive solutions to disputes. And many roofing material manufacturers now require infrared testing before issuing warrantees.

Nipping Roof Problems in the Bud

Of course, many people order infrared surveys for help locating leaks, or when they face immediate decisions about roof repairs or replacement. Frequently they use the information to save tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars by selecting more cost-effective repair and replacement options. When asbestos-containing roofing materials are involved, locating and removing only the water-damaged sections can reduce project costs even more dramatically.

Still, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ” Perhaps the smartest use of infrared analysis is finding small problems before they become bigger and more costly. Even on a tight budget, infrared can target problem areas for more effective use of limited funds.

We can expect building owners and managers to continue to expand their use of professional infrared and nondestructive testing. When roofing decisions involve tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, who wouldn’t want a low cost source of objective scientific information?

Reprinted from the New England Real Estate Journal, May 7, 2004. Phone: 781-878-4540 (outside MA) 781-871-1853 (fax)

Infrared and nuclear testing can target problem roof areas to help save big money on roof repair or replacement. Call today for a free quote for nondestructive testing of your roof.
Gallery: See more examples of our Infrared Roof Moisture Surveys
Additional Information & Literature:
For more information, download our printable Roof Moisture Survey brochure.
Owners, Facility Managers: Roof Problems? Critical assets need professional evaluation.
See how to save big money with roof moisture surveys.
Roof Maintenance: How to care for your facility's most critical—and expensive—asset.
See The Importance of Roof Maintenance.
Use our post-construction Building Commissioning and Acceptance Testing services to ensure
optimum performance from your building and maximum return on your facility investment.
What are the Operating Principles of Infrared Roofing Thermography? Read more..
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