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Hayder Seeks: Roof Leaks

07.30.18   Hayder H. Al-Hilal, PE, SMSI, CIP-1, CCI-2, Level 1 Thermographer | More by this Author

Hayder Seeks: Roof Leaks

FAQ: Hayder, my roof is leaking. But everything looks dry. How can I find out what is going on up there?

Answer: Infrared Thermography (IR) provides a fast and reliable assessment to detect roof leaks and wet insulation.

IR helps discern the relative differences between thermal capacity (ability of body/mass to absorb and dissipate thermal energy) of wet and dry insulation below a roof membrane. The presence of water in the insulation layer increases its heat capacity; therefore, wet insulation absorbs and dissipates heat at a slower rate.

IR photographic images can detect wet insulation roof areas during nighttime hours because the water in the insulation layer retains heat longer than in dry insulation materials.




Photograph and IR image of a roof area with thermal anomalies (right image, green arrows), likely a result of the presence of wet insulation.

IR must be supplemented with test cut openings to verify the existence and severity of wet insulation.


A test cut at an area where the IR image showed a thermal anomaly revealed the insulation facer was saturated.

If you suspect a roof leak and need help detecting the likely source and severity of wet insulation, contact Hayder Al-Hilal to determine whether an infrared thermography assessment can help.


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