GPR or X-Ray – How to Determine What Your Project Needs

GPR - ground penetrating radar service

GPR analyst on a concrete scanning job


Now that you have decided to scan first, you might be wondering what suits your project’s needs: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) or digital X-Ray? Penhall Technologies offers GPR services nationwide, and X-Ray services in Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Both concrete scanning methods help you locate subsurface objects and hazards. However, they are both unique, and have different uses.

More often than not, GPR would be the first step to locate any subsurface objects in concrete. GPR analysts start by marking the desired area, which the customer provides a layout of. Then, the analyst proceeds to scan with a handheld device (see picture above). Based on the collected and analyzed data, the analyst would mark the objects found with chalk, keel, or tape. This process goes smoothly under ideal concrete circumstances.

There are a few factors to consider when seeking GPR or digital X-ray services. First, what concrete structure or structural components are being scanned. Digital x-ray is not an adequate option for your project when you are looking to identify objects or hazards in a slab on grade. Digital X-ray requires both sides of the location in question, such as a slab, column, or beam.

The second factor to consider is the location of the project.  If patrons, occupants, or employees are present at the jobsite, GPR scanning can be done during regular business hours. People don’t need to vacate the area. This is ideal for projects and renovations in sites such as hospitals or hotels, where people may be regularly coming and going.


Penhall's GPR analysts

Penhall Technologies’ analysts demonstrating digital x-ray


Sometimes, after completing GPR concrete scanning, the results may show a highly congested area. This means that the analyst collected data that may be extremely difficult to interpret. This leads to inconclusive labels for field markings. This is when digital X-Ray comes in.

Digital X-ray shows a clearer depiction when it comes to imaging the interior contents of an area that’s congested. For this reason, this method is preferred under these circumstances.

Digital X-Ray is not always a service that follows GPR concrete scanning. We recommend pursing digital x-ray as an option when the jobsite in question is highly congested with structural components such as rebar, wire mesh, and tension cables. Or when you simply want a clear precise image of the area.

Both GPR and X-ray can provide valuable information prior to cutting, sawing, or drilling. It will also keep your project on time, on budget, and most importantly- safe! For more information regarding GPR and digital x-ray scanning services, give us a call at 844-211-5300.


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