As I ended last week’s blog post, I emphasized that an investment in a roof moisture inspection can pay huge dividends. A roof system is typically one of the most expensive parts of a commercial building and—too often as the photograph shows—it is “out of sight and out of mind!” The costs are exorbitant—including the obvious: damage to the contents of the building and disruption of work flow. But the real costs are often hidden!
The materials used for most modern roof systems are designed to last at least twenty years. However, according to the National Roof Contractors’ Association, on average, a new roof in the United States lasts only half that long. Imagine throwing away half of the value of an asset like a roof!
One of the primary causes of this costly reduced life cycle is poor maintenance; which results in a wet, degraded roof. Because thermography is a “condition-based” technology, maintenance decisions can be made using current information about the actual condition of the roof. Finding the wet insulation, replacing it and repairing the roof to a dry condition is key to prolonging the life cycle—and every year the roof life can be safely extended is, literally, money in the bank. And when it is time to replace the membrane, the deck and insulation may still be salvageable assets!
Some actual cost data from a large built-up roof—one million square feet—in the southeast United States proves quite suggestive. A new roof—at $9/square foot—would have cost $9 million. The survey was done for $10,000 over two nights and revealed 1,000 squares that needed to have the insulation replaced at $1,200/square. The entire roof was then reconditioned with new flood coat and wear surface at a cost of $1 million dollars. The total cost to recondition the roof to like-new was just over $2 million dollars, yielding a savings over replacing the roof of nearly $7 million!
Without thermography, roofers and building owners would just be making educated guesses about the condition of roofs. In today’s economy, that is usually a costly mistake. Why not get your imaging system out and see what is really going on up there? Then you can use that information to make an educated plan for the maintenance of your roof assets.
John Snell—The Snell Group, a Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner