Partnering with a building envelope consulting group in the DFW metroplex, we were able to help provide quality aerial visible and thermal imaging on a Motel 6 in Lewisville, TX, documenting the buildings present condition. Our involvement presented the consultant with an opportunity to save time in the field without replacing standard inspection practices. Typically, we wouldn’t advise performing thermal imaging on shingled roof structures, however, this project changed our perspective a bit on its value for commercial properties like this as we were able to identify many areas with suspected moisture both in the roof and walls.
After reviewing our images and documenting the exterior condition of the roof, we identified many areas with elevated, broken, damaged, displaced and missing shingles. Over all, the roof appeared to be heavily weathered and was in poor condition. Many of the flashings were raised and damaged which could and did allow moisture intrusion into the building. We suspected poor construction from the gutters being installed, allowing substantial water penetration in certain portions of the wall.
Typically, because shingled roofs construction is comprised of a wood deck, a base sheet and shingles, there isn’t much that will hold moisture that we can get a thermal reading off of when water does get in. But this roof revealed some moisture in multiple different areas that correlated with some of the visible concerns identified above. We identified moisture in several places in the walls that associated with the gutter problems and window leaks. This gave a good visual representation of the extent of damages. What we were seeing in our thermal images represented what the physical inspections confirmed with where moisture was present.
The most important piece to using thermal imaging to a competitive advantage is following up to confirm moisture where we suspect it. Without this piece, nothing is confirmed as we don’t know what is causing the temperature difference. What seems like moisture could be a lack of insulation or energy loss. We recommend physical inspections be performed on every thermal inspection.
Our job was to identify problems with this roof we could visually observe and report accordingly. The consultants job was to perform a physical inspection based on our findings. Our reporting process identified and highlighted where we suspected moisture to be present within the roof and walls, where external shingle damages existed, wind created openings, and damaged flashings.