How Roofers Survey and Identify Faults in Flat Roofing

Surveying and classifying faults in Flat Roofing in Birmingham is necessary for roofers to confirm the formation’s longevity and safety. The procedure involves a regular approach that comprises visual check-ups, physical tests, and the use of specialised gear.

Initial Visual Inspection

The first step in surveying a flat roof is a thorough visual inspection. Roofers search for clear signs of damage or deterioration:

Surface Condition:

Inspecting for cracks, blisters, punctures, or splits in the roofing material. These can specify water access or material collapse.

Seams and Joints:

Checking the integrity of seams and joints, which are common points of failure. Loose or open seams can allow water ingress.


Surveying the flashing over roof discernments such as chimneys, vents, and windows. Spoiled or poorly installed flashing can cause the leaks.

Ponding Water:

Identifying areas where water pools on the roof. Ponding can lead to basic destruction and an enlarged load on the roof.


Looking for signs of moss, algae, or plant growth, which can indicate prolonged moisture presence.

Infrared Thermography

Infrared thermography is a non-invasive technique used to detect moisture trapped beneath the roofing membrane:

Thermal Imaging Camera:

Roofers scan the roof using a thermal imaging camera. This equipment detects temperature variations on the roof surface, highlighting cooler areas where moisture is present.


The images produced help roofers identify wet insulation or leaks that are not visible to the naked eye. This method is particularly useful for detecting moisture without removing any roofing materials.

Core Sampling

Core sampling involves taking small, cylindrical samples of the roof to examine its internal layers:

Sampling Process:

Roofers use a core cutter to remove a section of the roof down to the substrate. This sample includes all layers of the roofing system.

Laboratory Analysis:

The sample is analysed to determine the condition of each layer, checking for moisture, deterioration, and overall integrity.


After sampling, the hole is properly sealed to prevent leaks.

Electrical Capacitance Testing

This method measures the moisture content in roofing materials using electrical properties:

Moisture Meters:

Roofers use moisture meters that send electrical signals through the roof. The response indicates the presence of moisture.


The results are mapped to pinpoint areas of moisture accumulation. This helps in identifying leaks and wet insulation.


Smoke Testing

Smoke testing helps identify leaks and breaches in the roof membrane:

Smoke Generator:

A smoke generator is placed inside the building, and smoke is directed into the roofing system.


Roofers observe where the smoke exits the roof. The exit points indicate breaches or leaks in the membrane.


Identified breaches can then be targeted for repairs.

Water Testing

Water testing is a straight way to find leaks:

Flood Testing:

The roof is flooded with water, and roofers monitor the interior for leaks. This method is thorough but requires careful execution to avoid additional damage.

Spray Testing:

Water is sprayed on specific sections of the roof, and the interior is inspected for leaks. This method is less invasive and can be controlled more easily than flood testing.

Adhesion Testing

For roofs with membrane systems, adhesion testing ensures that the membrane is properly bonded:

Pull Test:

A pull test is conducted to measure the force required to detach the membrane from the substrate. Poor adhesion can lead to membrane failure.


The results indicate whether the membrane is securely attached or if there are areas needing re-adhesion or replacement.

Drainage Inspection

Proper drainage is crucial for flat roofs to prevent ponding and leaks:

Drainage Systems:

Roofers check downspouts, gutters, and inside drains to ensure they are strong and working properly.

Slope Evaluation:

They also check the roof slope to ensure water flows towards the drainage points effectively.

Documenting Findings

After completing the survey, roofers document their findings thoroughly:

Inspection Reports:

Detailed reports include photographs, thermal images, moisture maps, and core sample analysis, which help understand the roof’s condition.


Roofers provide recommendations for repairs, replacements, or maintenance based on their findings.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to extend the life of flat roofing and prevent major issues:

Scheduled Inspections:

Roofers recommend regular inspections, especially after severe weather events.

Preventive Measures:

Maintenance tasks include clearing debris, re-sealing joints, and minor repairs to address potential issues before they escalate.


Surveying and finding errors in flat roofing is a complete process that encompasses visual assessments, superior diagnostic tools, and disciplined testing. Roofers in Solihull utilises a combination of methods to ensure they accurately diagnose issues and recommend operative solutions. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to maintaining the reliability of flat roofing systems, avoiding costly repairs, and ensuring the safety and comfort of the building’s occupants.


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