Find Leaks on Flat Roofs Fast




Find Leaks on Flat Roofs Fast

Finding leaks on flat roofs has been the biggest challenge for most flat roof owners. What do the two roofs below have in common? Hint, it's not what you think.

These two roofs have one thing in common: both roofs have water leaks.

Both of the roofs in the image above have water leaks. Roofs like the dark one on the right can look perfectly fine and still have water leaks. So how can you find where the source of the water leak is? Most owners call a roofing company, only to find out the roofing company didn't tell them they would guess where the water leak was and they would have to test (roofer talk for penetrate) different sections of the roof until they get lucky. More often than not, the inexperienced roofing company will never find the true source of the leak and the owner of the property has wasted thousands of dollars.

Comparison View: with and without infrared thermal imaging camera.

There is a new method we have found to give us 95% success rate on finding water leaks on commercial flat roofs and residential flat roofs. We don't damage the property because it's a type of Non Destructive Testing. We inspect your leaky flat roof with an infrared imaging camera. Using infrared thermal imaging is called several things, but it's essentially the same thing. It goes by the name of Infrared Survey, Infrared Inspection, Flat Roof Non Destructive Testing, Infrared Moisture Survey and a few other names.

Comparing view with and without infrared thermal imaging.

It's a great way to use technology to provide you with a less intrusive and more exact way of finding your flat roof leaks.

Most experts consider Thermal Imaging Moisture Testing the most efficient way to detect specific areas of soaked insulation and water located within your flat roof system.

Comparing images with and without the infrared thermal imaging filter

How Does Infrared Thermal Imaging Roof Inspections Work?

Damage to the waterproofing membrane is difficult to locate especially because water penetrates the roof system and saturates the insulation layer without leaving a trail. Here is the secret to how the leak is discovered: the areas on your flat roof that are wet will remain warmer for longer than the dry areas of the roof. The wet parts of the roof take longer to cool and will show up on the thermal imaging cameras.

The roof contractor, or roof inspector, with the proper training and equipment, use an infrared camera to take images (and video) of the roof surface. The pictures show the areas of the insulation and areas of the roof leaking without having to tear off the top layer of roof.

The ideal scenario is for the roofing contractor or inspector to arrive in the evening, preferably several days after a rainy day. We want dry conditions on the roof so we don't get false positives. A nice warm day is the most optimal weather conditions because it will warm up the roof system. The non-leaky areas cool off and leave the leaky areas to appear as evidence on the infrared thermal scanner or camera.

Infrared Thermal Equipment

There's many equipment options to perform infrared thermal inspections. They range in size, price, and durability.

We suggest staying away from the Home Depot options. Home Depot sells Klein Tools Rechargeable Thermal Images, but it's too small. This product's best application would be plumbing or electrical uses. It would not be very efficient to inspect a flat roof with this tool because it doesn't cover much area.

Flir has a big variety that range in price from $500 to $4000. Flir also sells cell phone adapters where you connect the infrared camera to your cell phone. It's recommended to do extensive research to find the model of thermal imaging camera that best suits your application needs. Some contractors have multiple types because they appreciate the optimal performance of specific cameras for certain situations.

To give you an idea of variety: some models resemble small telescopes that you put all the way up to your eye. Other options are handheld devices resembling a small camera gimble (pistol grip).

Our Two Favorite Cameras

We have two favorite Flir products because of their practicality and size. The first one is the Flir ONE Pro. There are two versions: one for Apple phones and the other for Android phones. If your roofing company is only choosing one product, then choose this one.

Flir ONE Pro

Our second favorite product is the Flir MR265. This one is pricier than the first because it doubles as a humidity reader. The infrared thermal imaging guides you to the location of the moisture and the same device measures how much moisture is at the location. It's a two in one masterpiece. Time to upgrade!

Flir MR265

I hope this has been helpful. Let us know how we may help you. Flat roof property owners have unique challenges, but these challenges can be fixed. We can help you!

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I have black stains on my roof. How can I get rid of them? My neighbors have them, too; now that I think about it

Hi Aristi, thank you for your question. Use oxygen bleach to clean your roof and please read the article we wrote because it explain with great detail how to do it correctly. We even gave tips on ladder placement. Better yet, let us do it. Contact us for exact pricing. ( Our roof cleaning service starts at $200 and goes up from there. Thank you

It's my understanding buying a class 4 shingle will lower my insurance premium, but will it lower my coverage?

Hi Bailey, thank you for the excellent question! The safe answer is "please check your coverage detailed in your policy". For the more thorough and deeper way to answer your question, I asked many colleagues and only one had a unique answer. Robert from Oklahoma City said one of his clients that bought class 4 shingles did receive a lower premium, but he lost the hail coverage. I was shocked to learn about this real world example about how this specific insurance company handled this upgrade. It could strictly be a case of correlation and not causation, but it's still interesting. Thank you for taking the time to ask your question.

One of your employees left a postcard on my door and I figured you could answer my question - What questions should i ask roofing companies before i hire them?

Hi Chad! thank you for your question. Several very important questions you need answered before hiring a roofing company are: - what is the square footage of my roof? - what waste % are you calculating for the complexity of my roof? - what brand/type of shingles are you offering me? - how much are you paying for the shingles from your supplier? - show me your certificate of insurance - show me your certificate of worker's comp insurance - show me where you have added me as an additional insured on your insurance policy - do you have a 3 day cancellation fee? if so, waive it. - how much will deck repairs be per sheet of plywood when decking is exposed and visible? - show me the list of materials necessary to install to keep the asphalt shingle warranty valid - what are the additional steps you are taking to protect my home from debris and nails being left behind? - provide me a full list of materials that are being installed on my roof. - what is warranty for labor? for how long? This list of questions is a great place to start. Most roofing companies don't want you to ask them because they are underinsured, overcharge for materials, cut corners by reusing your old roof parts, etc... I hope this helps!

A company is telling me I can get my roof for free from the insurance and they would cover the deductible if I hire them. Is this true? (I'm in Texas)

Please don't do that. The insurance deductible is a contractual agreement you have with your insurance company. In Texas, Texas Law House Bill 2102: It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective September 1, 2019; violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. If a contractor offers to waive a deductible, report it to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-621-0508. Do not commit insurance fraud by accepting unethical and illegal practices. Thank you for your question

This article will certainly help me make an informed decision.

Hi KD, glad we could help. We'll have a new feature on the website where you'll be able to get a Date of Loss for your insurance roof claim. Coming soon, FREE!

How long should it take for a company to give an estimate?

Hi Holly, responsiveness is a great way of showing a customer we care. We can do an informal estimate within a few hours and a formal estimate within 24 hours.

The last roofer gave me a two line estimate so I asked for more information. Haven't heard anything yet.

Hi Melinda, a detailed estimates should have detailed line items of the type of products including brand, quantity, color (if possible), with price. If you would like contact us and we can help you with a detailed quote. Thank you.

Great information. What city are you referring when you give the $350 to $450 average?

Hi Sally8100, thank you for your comment. This article is referring to Texas and Oklahoma City.


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How will I know how many layers of flat roof my house has before I commit to re-doing the roof? I don't want the roofers to discover a second or third layer and then the job exceeds budget

Hi Kasey, thank you for your excellent question. Pay the roofing company to perform the test on a small area of your flat roof before you start the project. Have the contingency in place that the price paid for the test includes the repair in the event you don't proceed with your new flat roof.




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