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Many places on flat roofs can be the source of defects. Problems with leaks can occur due to unprofessional installation, neglected maintenance or degradation of the surface. This can be a result of insufficient protection of the surface layers from the environment or the end of the service life of the roof. In most cases flat roofs are affected by excessive exposure to wind which causes dynamic shocks, permanent oscillating movement and lifting of unsecured parts.
Water collected on the damaged roof construction negatively affects the durability of roof clad (degradation of multi-layers, leaks). If it flows through the gaps between the insulating parts under the non-absorptive heat insulating layer through to the waterproof insulation, it has a low temperature. This causes a decrease in the temperature of the waterproof insulation, which may cause condensation of the water inside the roof cladding under the waterproof insulation. In extreme cases, the leaked water may also overload the load-bearing construction of the roof cladding. Before removing the problem, a construction technical survey must be conducted to determine the actual cause of the problem. If the user finds a defect in the building (leaks), it is theoretically possible to approximately detect the defect. However, in most cases, the trails of leaked water are not direct and usually the upper part of the roof must be inspected in detail. Moreover, the leaks into the internal premises will cause only a very small amount of such defects. Mostly, water leaks over a long period (even several years) under the surface of the roof will destroy the foundation layers. Such widespread destruction can be prevented by timely discovery of the problem. Unfortunately, a detailed survey of the whole roof is very difficult due to the large area (for example, in factory halls), as well as due to their variability. For the inspector, it is a time consuming and physically demanding task and, therefore, in most cases, the inspector only focuses on risky areas and defects that can be overseen.
Use of thermal cameras for the resolution of the problem
There is a fast and simple way to resolve the problem of the inspecting various flat roofs exists. This method is a thermal imaging system (thermal camera), which due to the thermal difference between a dry place and a place with penetrating moisture, fully identifies discovers where moisture has penetrated. Depending on the construction of the roof, it is possible to see how large an area is affected by moisture, i.e. to localize and state the scope of the problem.
The physics behind the thermal image inspection of problems related to the moisture is based on the fact that the dry part of the roof (not affected by moisture) is cooled and heated slower than the wet part of the roof insulation. Thermal image inspection using a thermal camera during or after sunset (where the roof has been heated throughout the whole time) identifies the moist areas because the dry parts of the roof cool slower than the wet places, which have a higher thermal capacity.
During the warm season, the thermal camera can also identify areas that are poorly insulated (where what are known as “thermal bridges have occurred”) and where there are thermal escapes. These areas show as warmer than the surrounding parts of the roof.