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Choosing the Best Louvered Roof for Your Outdoor Space: StruXure vs Equinox vs Solara vs Cardinal

By · March 11, 2021

Your outdoor space is an opportunity to expand your living space, especially if you cannot get enough of the great outdoors. Louvered roofs are a recent addition to your outdoor options. A louvered roof gives you control over the environment and adds value to your home too.

There are many louvered roof brands on the market and making the choice can be complicated. We’ve picked out the long-lasting brands with proven track records: StruXure, Equinox, Solara, and Cardinal. Continue reading to see how the Backyardville choices stack up.

What is a Louvered Roof?

Louvered roofs go by many names, including motorized pergolas, adjustable patio covers, and opening roofs. Louvered roofs can cover many areas, from a residential patio to outdoor restaurant seating.

Opened Louvered Roof for the Sun

A louvered roof is a straightforward structure. It is supported with corner posts like a pergola. However, there may be additional posts depending on the size of your design. There are also horizontal beams that support the louvers.

Louvers existed in blinds and shutters well before they did in roofs. As with window coverings, louvers move along a single axis. This horizontal movement lets you control the angle the slats sit at, and therefore the environment under the louvered roof.

Top View of Louvers

The Pros of Louvered Roofs

Flexibility for Your Space

Your outdoor space is lovely, but it is rarely perfect for hanging out in. Over summer, your patio bakes under the sun. Meanwhile, fall brings rain and maybe snow to your area. These changes affect how comfortable using your outdoor space can be.

A louvered roof can help solve that. Moving the louvers changes the entire dynamic of your space as well as its look. You can change from full sun to full shade quickly, depending on your preferences.

Louvered Roof Levels

Most louvered roofs provide you precise control over the tilt of the louvers. This control means you control what breezes the louvers catch if they catch any at all. This control over the air circulation means your space is always comfortable for you.

The tilt also lets you control the amount of light. Light carries with it heat as your patio area or pool deck bakes. You can tilt the louvers throughout the day to maintain a comfortable light level for your activities.

Weather Resistance

Many louvered roofs feature materials like aluminum that are durable and do not rust. Since louvered roofs are constantly exposed to the elements, this consideration is beneficial. Many manufacturers also undergo voluntary testing.

Depending on the model you buy, the louvered roof may come with rain sensors and an automatic system to swing the louvers closed. This useful feature can keep your outdoor space dry and drip-free.

Weather Sensor

Energy Benefits

As with many backyard upgrades, there are energy benefits to louvered roofs. The added shade can keep your home cooler by not letting heat through your windows. That means your A/C unit does not need to work as hard over the summer.

Some louvered roofs do offer an automatic sensor system. These adjust your louvers based on real-time sensor data for maximum comfort. One of the best uses is blocking out the afternoon sun as it slowly heats your house.

Many louvered roof systems have few enough electronic components that you can run the electronics with a small solar system. This shift can increase the energy efficiency of your backyard as well.

Get the Look You Want

Louvered roofs come in almost any color you can imagine if you order custom. The standard colors often match or compliment your existing trim choices. Plus, many use a process that lets you change the colors later.

Louvered Roof Closed with Lights

Additionally, most louvered roofs allow for style choices on the structure. For example, some may have the corners finished to look like a pergola. In contrast, you may find others that complement any gables you have on your home.

Privacy

Not only do louvered roofs let you control the temperature and breeze in your outdoor space, but they can also offer privacy. If you have nosy neighbors, closing the top means they cannot see you relaxing and enjoying your life.

The Cons of Louvered Roofs

Cost

While louvered roofs are durable, they are not the least expensive option for your outdoor space. Instead, you can look at it as an investment in your home and your enjoyment of your area. Remember to check with your contractor for any rebates.

No Way to Remove the Shade

One of the significant downsides is that you cannot simply fold the louvers away once you have a louvered roof installed. That means you must work with the shade for as long as you have the louvered roof.

User Friendliness

Some models of louvered roofs are better than others in terms of user friendliness. For example, smart features are much more user friendly than a manual opening system. It is a decision you need to make at installation.

Understanding Your Space

There are many options for your space, from louvered roofs to retractable awnings. These shade structures all offer unique benefits. However, picking the right one for your area requires that you understand where you are putting the addition.

The first step is figuring out what you want from the patio and what it is getting now. You may do this through observation or technology. Try to get a feel for what the sun, temperature, wind, and perspiration are like on the area you want to cover.

Part of this is examining the orientation of your patio. For example, an east-facing deck will get morning light but may not get afternoon light. Depending on your prevailing wind direction, the house may serve as a wind block. This placement needs consideration in your final decision.

Landscaping is another critical component in your consideration, especially if you have established landscaping. You may have installed heat and sun-loving plants around the patio that would suffer if you added shade. While not impossible to change, you still need to be aware.

Understanding what you already have in place and the conditions that made it possible can help you find the right louvered roof or other solution to meet your needs. Having an idea before you call a contractor also ensures your concerns are addressed.

Louvered Roofs by Brand

StruXure

Key Features:

  • Six standard colors plus custom options
  • AAMA 2604 finished aluminum
  • No maximum space limits
  • Design services available

Warranty: Transferable Limited Lifetime

  • Power components: 5 years
  • Manual systems: 10 years
  • Support components: 15 years
  • Manufacturing: Lifetime
StruXure Outdoor

StruXure offers four different products in the Pergola X series that may suit your backyard transformation needs. Pivot 6 is the company’s most popular option for homeowners, though you may also enjoy the Pivot 6 Slide for its maneuverability.

StruXure boasts a unique louver design for its roofs. Not only does it allow 170 degrees of motion, but it also interlocks during inclement weather. This rotation means you can hang out with warm tea in the rain without risking getting wet.

Louvered Roof Diagram

Additionally, StruXure integrates water management into every design. Each has a gutter system built in that can be linked together if you are using more than one section. It is even rated for snow and has an optional rain sensor.

Pergola X comes in two varieties of control systems, which you must decide between. One is a manual system where you maneuver the system by hand. The other is a motorized Somfy RTS® control that runs through a smart device like your phone.

StruXure Pergola

Equinox

Key Features:

  • Five standard colors plus custom options
  • Misting system available
  • Smart controls
  • Easy fit for retractable screens

Warranty: Limited Material Warranty

  • Power components: 3 years
  • Support components: 20 years
Equinox Louvered Roof

Equinox offers a wholly customizable system that lets you bring amenities into your home that you usually see at high-end locations. Regardless of the structure you want to attach the louver roof to, it is sure to be an enhancement.

The Equinox product is best for people who want customization options. Equinox is dedicated to making its product fit with your requirements. To that end, you can choose the finishes on your louvered roof, so it blends.

Equinox partners with Rainier to provide custom retractable screens for your louvered roof. These let you better control the environment of your outdoor space. Combined with the misting system options and you will have a comfortable lounging or dining area outside.

You also have the option of adding heaters to your louvered roof. This upgrade can extend the outdoor dining and entertaining season significantly. Equinox offers both electric and gas options for this accessory.

Equinox is also smart technology enabled. The company uses Somfy technology so that you can control it with your phone or smart home systems. You can also add the Equinox sensor system to automatically handle the louvers for rain, wind, and more.

Equinox Pergola

Solara

Key Features:

  • Five standard colors plus custom options
  • ICC wind tunnel test
  • Remote controls
  • Gutter systems

Warranty: Limited warranty

  • Power components: 15 years
  • Manual systems: 15 years
  • Louvers: 10 years
  • Support components: Lifetime
Solara Adjustable Patio Cover

Solara offers a unique system that means you can place it on top of existing structures. If you already have a patio cover, you can easily convert it to a louver roof with Solara. That is what this is good for.

A Solara system offers a 130-degree tilt. The louvers are also designed with a vinyl seal. This seal helps the pieces hook together when the louvers are flat. This technology significantly reduces the number of potential leaks during rainstorms.

This system is also unique for its gutter system. Solara’s gutter system is an optional item. The logic is that people tend to place pergolas near a garden that could use the water. The system is effortless if you do choose to install it.

Solara is a good option if you want a manual or remote-control system. Manual is standard. The remote system takes all the smart device features and places them on an easy-to-use remote. It is never been easier to find the perfect angle.

Solara Pergola

Cardinal

Key Features:

  • Three standard colors plus 80 custom options
  • AMAA 2604 powder coat
  • Remote or smart device controls
  • Customization choices

Warranty: Limited warranty

  • Power components: 3 years
  • Louvers: Lifetime
  • Support components: Lifetime
Cardinal Pergola

Cardinal prides itself on durable products that fit the space you need. Towards that end, the company constructs, joins, and customizes its louvered roof to match your specific site needs and tastes.

Cardinal WeatherGuard offers customization from fans to finishing touches. While the style choices are slightly more limited, Cardinal makes up for it with climate-controlling features like heaters, fans, and solar options.

The WeatherGuard system advertises an innovative central gutter and gutter system. Cardinal claims this removes the size limitations during construction. The company also uses 24-foot louvers when needed.

You can control the system using either smart technology or remote, as there is no manual option. You can mount the remote control somewhere for the easiest access to your new louvered roof.

Cardinal Pergola

Backyardville Pick

The features the StruXure system brings for your backyard make it the Backyardville louvered roof pick. Between the customization options, the smart technology, and the durability, StruXure is a practical choice.

The warranty is also a factor. StruXure offers a practical warranty broken into several components. Plus, the warranty is transferable if you sell your home. That makes it significantly more valuable.

General Maintenance Notes

Light Maintenance

Generally, a hose is sufficient for light maintenance. The garden hose approach means you do not need to do an expensive cleaning contract or a significant amount of preparation. This method is sufficient for dirt that is not caked on, provided you do it at least once a month.

Medium Maintenance

Sometimes, grime gets stuck on. In these cases, a scrubbing brush becomes a necessary addition to the hose. You get the patch wet and scrub away the mess. If you do not want to be on a ladder, a long-handled brush like those for car cleaning can help you keep your feet on the ground.

Heavy Duty Louver Roof Maintenance

Heavy duty grime removal from a louvered roof system requires some ingenuity. Generally, diluted detergent and trisodium phosphate mixtures provide enough power to remove even the most stuck-on grime. Your owner’s manual will have specific product recommendations.

Pressure washing is not a good option for all louvered roof systems. Check with the manufacturer before pressure or power washing, as it may void your warranties. Additionally, it would be best if you never stood on a louvered roof as it was not designed to bear weight.

Repainting

Repainting becomes a necessity as the sun damages your existing louvered roof. Often, this job is best left to a certified contractor. In addition to the point, the finish will also need to be handled simultaneously.

Mold and Mildew

Depending on where you live, mold and mildew may be common. Having these organisms appear on your louvered roof does not mean your cleaning efforts have been in vain. Instead, it is time to break out the ladder, gloves, and dust mask to handle them.

You can kill mold with a mix of detergent, bleach, and trisodium phosphate. In small quantities, using this solution should not affect the finish of your louvered roof. However, it is best to take a targeted approach just in case.

Finding an Installer

Finding the right installer can make an enormous difference in how well your louvered roof holds up. Generally, you want a manufacturer-certified installer with several years of experience in your local area doing the work, even if it costs a little more.

If you know what louvered roof brand you want, the best place to start is on that brand’s website. Many of them have installer locators you can use or contact forms that will put you in touch with a local professional.

You can also do a web search for installers. Simply type in ‘{brand name} installer in {city/town}’ to get a list. You can also see reviews this way and judge the quality of work an installer will deliver for you.

Regardless of which method you prefer, you should always consider the company you have install as much as you did when choosing a louvered roof system. A quality install will ensure you can enjoy your outdoor space for years to come.

Parting Thoughts

Louvered roof systems are an investment in your property and your ability to enjoy your backyard. The shade and control provided by a louvered system are unparalleled, making them a favored choice in the modern backyard.

While louvered roof systems are not necessarily a DIY project, they can enhance the work you do yourself. For example, an outdoor seating area you built can become more useful through the hottest evenings or the rainiest days.

Louvered Roof in Rain

Regardless of the system you choose, once you have installed it and began to enjoy your altered outdoor space, you will not want to go back.

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