October 18, 2021
IR Inspections of Timber Framed Buildings
Tip written by: Infraspection Institute
Well known for its ruggedness and distinct architectural features, timber frame construction is a popular choice for commercial and residential buildings. Used properly, thermal imaging can be used to detect evidence of excess energy loss within these unique structures.
Timber framing is a building construction method that utilizes heavy, squared-off timbers rather than dimensional lumber such as 2x4s. Timbers are carefully fitted and secured using mortise-and-tenon joints often held together by large wooden pegs. The use of timber framing was common for wooden buildings constructed in the 19th century and earlier.
When utilizing timber frame construction for conditioned buildings, particular attention must be paid to the construction of exterior walls and the roof to minimize air leakage. Failure to do so can result in significant comfort and performance issues. The dark areas in the thermal image below are the result of significant air leakage within a timber framed building.
In addition to detecting air leakage sites, thermal imaging can also reveal energy loss due to missing, damaged, or misapplied insulation. The thermal image below shows an exterior wall and roof of a timber framed building where traditional framing was used for sidewall and roof construction. The dark areas show significant energy loss.
For best results, thermal imaging of timber framed buildings should be performed from the inside of the building when there is an inside/outside temperature differential of at least 10 Celsius (18 F) degrees. Thermal imaging may be performed under natural conditions or while the building is depressurized. Imaging should be scheduled to avoid errors due to solar loading of the building’s walls and roof.
Infrared inspections of building envelopes is one of the many topics covered in the Level I Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer® training course. For information on thermographer training or to obtain a copy of the Standard for Infrared Inspection of Building Envelopes, visit us online at www.infraspection.com or call us at 609-239-4788.
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