Case Study: Drone Thermal Roof Scan – Irving, TX

IFC roofing brought us in to help a property owner understand the condition of their roof after a recent hail storm that hit the DFW metroplex. The roofer visually observed after a physical inspection that the roof membrane experienced extensive damage as they found multiple rips and punctures throughout the roof. This PVC roof system was only about 6 years old and overall showed to be in pretty good condition outside of the punctures that had been temporarily repaired and the 1 opening we located. This roof had already received a payout from the insurance company, but the property owner and roofing company both wanted to make sure the payout would sufficiently pay for repairs and/or replacement if necessary.
We were asked to perform a thermal roof scan to identify the extent of moisture intrusion in the roof and make recommendations for a plan of action moving forward. The first step was to capture daylight visible aerial images for detailed review and comparison. We then came back just after sunset to perform our thermal imaging with the drone, capturing various images at different angles and altitudes to make sure we are seeing everything clearly and differentiate suspected moisture from reflection. We took all our images and data collected from the field back to the office to start analyzing our findings and processing our report.

About the Roof

This roof consisted of 2 roof structures. The bottom layer was a Modified Bitumen roof with a metal deck, Dynagrip base sheet, Dynaweld cap and cap sheet with 2.5 inches of insulation. The top layer was a 1.5% ISO board with a TPO membrane. The TPO layer is roughly 6 years old and appeared to be in good condition outside of the hail damage that was present.

What We Found

We identified a small area of about 40 sq’ that contained suspected moisture. Upon further review of the visible images, we found what looked like a small opening caused by the recent hail storm in that same area. There was one other very small area that indicated possible moisture that had been patched, but not very much. Overall, the roof looked to be pretty dry! Once we finalized our report and felt confident in what we needed to look at further, we went back to the property to physically test for suspected moisture in the roof and identify any external cause for the intrusion. The areas we suspected moisture were confirmed. We did a few other tests in areas we suspected it to be dry and those areas were confirmed dry. Areas that looked questionable but we thought would be dry (where piles of leaves or other debris were collected) came back dry.
Our report identified where suspected moisture was present, calculated the amount of suspected moisture, pin pointed all the areas we spot tested physically for moisture and provided the result of those test. We also confirmed in our report the areas we found surface problems that would allow for further moisture intrusion. Our recommendation for this roof, since very little square footage was compromised internally, was to replace the entire roof membrane and only the wet insulation we identified. In the end, having this evidence and detailed analysis provided clarity in knowing they made the right decision when considering repair or replacement as this roof was an excellent candidate for a repair approach!
We love performing forensic studies on roof systems to help out in these situations. From past experience, a solution to a roof problem is not always a full replacement. Roofs are incredibly expensive! While our service does cost you something up front, the savings you will see on the back end far out-ways the expense for completing a proper roof inspection. This is a situation that would have cost the client an extra $100k if they had paid for a full replacement. Instead, the $2500 they spent to have the roof inspected paid off greatly!
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