October 19, 2020
Why Building Corners Appear Cool
Tip written by: Infraspection Institute
When performing infrared inspections of framed buildings from the interior, thermographers often note that corners appear at a different temperature. With this Tip we explore the reasons for this condition and how to differentiate potential problems from normal conditions.
Corners are a common construction detail found within building walls that utilize frame construction. Corners are typically constructed with vertical framing members that both support the framed wall and provide a nailing surface for interior paneling or drywall. Although details can vary, a typical corner has three vertical studs in close proximity to each other.
More energy loss occurs at corners for two reasons: Studs are more conductive than insulation; and there is little or no space for insulation to be installed wherever corner framing studs are present. Because of this, it is normal to see greater energy loss at corners when compared to a properly insulated wall cavity.
When performing an infrared inspection of framed walls from the interior of a building with cold outdoor temperatures, corners will typically appear cooler than insulated wall cavities. Observed thermal patterns will reverse should the same inspection scenario exist with warm outdoor temperatures.
When thermographically inspecting corner details, it is normal to observe a straight vertical line from floor to ceiling. This vertical line should be confined to the corner itself and not extend onto the flat wall surfaces adjacent to the corner. Amorphous or geometric thermal patterns appearing within or adjacent to corners should be investigated for cause.
Infrared inspection of building envelopes is one of the many applications covered in the Infraspection Institute Level I Certified Infrared Thermographer® training course. For course schedules or to obtain a copy of the Standard for Infrared Inspection of Building Envelopes, visit Infraspection Institute online at www.infraspection.com or call us at 609-239-4788.
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