Flat Roof Inspections

Are any of you guys doing IR flat roof inspections? If so any advise would be appreciated.

Also have any of you attended the ITC roof inspection class?


James Maxwell
Cenla Home Inspections


The course is 2 days, hardly enough time here to cover everything. I suggest you take the course prior to actually performing a roof survey. You will find the class very informative! ITC also gives sound advice for personal safety while conducting a roof survey.
One piece of advice I can offer is: Back-up your findings with core samples.

Mario, how do you do a core sample, lets say it’s a rubber roof with no access under it?

I’ve performed several flat roof IR scans…


Drill the core and have a qualified roofer with you to patch the sample area.

I would also recommend having a separate company come in and do nuclear to not only back up your findings, but to also do their inspection.

And although manufactures tell you different, I wouldn’t do a flat roof inspection without a short wave imager. David’s link above gives a good example of why short wave is better. The first IR image on that page shows an image where the thermographier is elevated. The person that took that image was trying to reduce reflection by elevating themselves, this is not always possible. Because of the angle of attack on a flat roof and the roofing materials (normally designed to reflect light) flat roof inspections generally produce a lot of reflection.

A good back ground in roofing materials, structures and construction would also be highly recommended. As Mario said, you really should be working very closely with a roofing contractor that has the ability to do core samples.

A few other points. Its not a good idea to walk and scan at the same time. NEVER walk backwards! If you are going to use lighting (flat roofs are generally done at night), make sure they do not generate heat on to the roofing surface. Genreally LED lights work best. Always do a flat roof inspection with someone else present (safety). Check all your fall protection requirements for the job and your area. Fall protection can be a pain, and often times expensive to use if the roof isn’t set up for it, USE IT! If you have any questions on personal fall protection and fall arrest systems feel free to email or call me.



Do you have any idea what the nuclear detectors are worth? I’m assuming some training is involved. Have you used one?
BTW Here in Canada we would probably have to label our vehicle with placards identifying it as “Radioactive” as I’m sure you would in the US. I have to educate consumers/clients about IR as it is. For some reason some clients ask if my thermal imager emits radiation!

Can you imagine if they see the placards on the sides of my van!