Thermal Drone Roof Inspections: Pros and Cons

With drone technology advancing to such an extent in recent years, it is increasingly being used for roof inspections. This is fine – as a starting point.

But drone roof surveys as a replacement for a thorough roof inspection is extremely debatable. In fact, there really is no substitute for a manual roof inspection where human senses such as touch and smell can be deployed to indicate areas that may need further examination.

However, roof surveys using drones are good from a safety point of view in the sense they reduce risks for workers. In this article we look at the pros and cons of using drone roof inspections and in doing so highlight their limited use in the intricacies of the surveying process.

Roof surveys using drones: the pros

Drones can provide a quick visual view of your roof as an initial starting point. For instance, they can be used prior to an inspection to find out what needs done on the surface. They can also be used afterwards to look at the work that has been carried out by the roof company. In other words, drone roof surveys are good for complimenting a manual survey.

The type of issues that a quick drone roof inspection can highlight include missing roof tiles, blocked gutters and an overabundance of moss.

Roof surveys using drones: the cons

Drone roof surveys simply don’t get to the bottom of things (quite literally). By that we mean a pile of leaves on the roof could be hiding a cracked tile but this will never be noticed as the drone will only capture the pile of leaves. Only with a manual survey can leaves be lifted and the tiles examined underneath.

Light can obscure the view on the drone’s camera so that what appears to be a crack on the roof is actually a shadow or some other glitch. That could result in the building’s owner commissioning a manual survey when it wasn’t in fact required.

‘Walking the roof’ on a manual survey

Many roofing surveys talk about ‘walking the roof.’ What they mean by this is using all their senses to feel for weak joists, loose tiles and other potential damage such as water having seeped into wood, making it ‘springy’ to walk on. A drone roof inspection would not be able to carry out anywhere near the same thoroughness.

The problem with this is that not catching and rectifying an issue as soon as you’re made aware of it, means that difficulty will get bigger – and so will the cost to fix it.

It may be that the drone roof inspection you commission involves a thermal or infrared camera. These can be used to spot leaks, but won’t highlight cracked tiles or loose masonry. Not only that, but these type of roof surveys using drones can also prove extremely costly. And, unlike the worker who carries out your manual roof inspection, the drone won’t be able to fix the problem.


Get in touch

To find out how a manual roof survey can highlight any issues with your commercial building, contact the team here at Building Transformation. Tel: 01234 589807 or drop us an email via: info@buildingtransformation.co.uk