Case Study: Drone Thermal TPO Roof Inspection- Nederland, TX

Texas hail season is upon us. DFW just experienced 1″ plus hail just this last weekend. A lot of claims and roof damage are still under negotiation with the insurance companies from last year!

Of all the tools and resources available to you, the use of thermal imaging, both by hand and by drone, can be a resource that helps you visually prove the roofs condition to the insurance companies. We have found that the use of this resource and technology can expedite the claims process and help you get what your client deserves for proper repair or replacement.

We partnered with a legal team and consulting group to provide a drone thermal roof inspection on a commercial TPO roof system for a medical facility in Nederland, TX. This roof experienced heavy hail damage last year. We will review how we performed our inspection, what our findings were, how the findings were utilized to help the client and what the results were on the case.

Inspection process

This inspection was performed on a clear day and night utilizing the DJI Matrice 210RTK with the zenmuse xt 640r and x4s for aerial visible and thermal imaging. We started our inspection just after sunset and found the most favorable thermal scans were captured at about 11:30pm. These images revealed heavy suspected moisture content throughout the majority of the roof.

We put every roof through the same inspection process. During the day, we will capture high resolution aerial images of the roofs present exterior condition. We study where repairs have been made, where the roof consistently holds water on the surface, where debris collects and more.

Once the sun goes down, we then begin our inspection process capturing images as the roofs temperatures begin to cool off. We find our best results when the moisture within the roof is at the greatest temperature variance compared to the dry areas.

In this case, only the drone was utilized for the inspection. We are often called to do a hand held thermal inspection marking the roof with our findings follow up with core sampling or moisture probing to physically confirm moisture is present in the suspected areas we identify.

Our findings

Upon detailed review of the roofs visible and thermal images, engineering reports, and historical information on the roofs construction, we found that this roof system had gone through substantial repairs in the past. This roof is comprised of 2 roof layer systems. The bottom is a gravel built up roof and the top layer is a TPO layer with 1/2″ ISO boards. After processing the thermal images, we calculated that roughly 84% of the roof system contained moisture. We suspect that the TPO membrane was punctured in many locations allowing water to get in and saturated some areas of the 1/2″ ISO boards and trapping water on top of the old roof system, ponding throughout the majority of the roof.

We were not asked to do so, but to solidify your case, it is important to prove your moisture findings with core sampling or probing in comparison to dry areas.

How findings were utilized

The legal team submitted our detailed report with suspected moisture calculation to the insurance company to help in providing additional evidence as to the roofs condition due to the hail damage.

Result of the case

This is a very recent project and was just submitted for processing. This section will be updated as soon as we know the results of the case to include the payout and amount of time it took to process a payout.

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