Solara VS Equinox

Food Industry

More and more restaurants and venues have realized that in order to increase sales and revenue, they need to increase their dining areas.  A common phrase in the industry “there’s nothing more expensive than an empty table in a restaurant”.  The last dining area that restaurant owners tend to use is the patio area.  You can’t really tell if it will be a rainy day, hot and humid day, cold or hot weather.  The weather can change within an hour and a lot of restaurants will not even take reservations for patio areas.

The louvered roof system is a great feature for the restaurant industry.  Imagine being able to take online reservations for the patio dining area.  Imagine you can dine customers in your patio area all year long.  The louvered roof system application can help you do just that.  On a rainy day, you can close your louvered roof system and get protection from the rain.  On a hot sunny day, you can adjust the louvered roof system to get 100% shade, but keep the air and ventilation.  On a nice day in the fall or spring, you can adjust the louvered roof system to receive as much natural sunlight and heat as needed.

The louvered roof system will give you all of those benefits without giving up the patio/outdoor feel that’s unique for an outdoor dining area.  The louvered roof system will give you different space feels from your indoor dining area.  Your customer can choose from privacy, people watching, or a romantic outdoor dining experience.  You will be surprised that your louvered roof system and patio dining will be a conversation topic and when you adjust the louvers you can easily see your customers surprised faces.

The louvered roof system just makes sense for the dining industry.  It increases dining areas, increases sales, compliments your restaurants design.  In the market there’s a few louvered roof system manufacturers.  The main and biggest manufacturers are Solara patio covers and Equinox louvered roof systems.

In the is article, we will be comparing between the manufacturers pros and cons.  Prices and engineering specifically for the dining industry.

Equinox louvered roof system is owned by a huge corporation named Euramax International Inc that carry more than a thousand products.  Anywhere from vinyl windows and doors, copper siding, coated coils, bath and shower enclosures, etc.  Equinox louvered roofs is a tiny piece of their corporation and not their specialty.  Solara adjustable patio cover is an international company based out of Arizona and specialized over 25 years in smart shading systems.  Although, it’s an old established company it still keeps the young, flexible, family owned feel.

Equinox louvered roof systems are selling only in the US and Canada, While Solara adjustable patio cover is selling the louvered roof system around the world to international restaurants and hotels.

The Equinox louvered roof system product is 12 years old, while the Solara adjustable patio cover is 25 years old.  The Equinox louvered roof system is still in a developing mode and recently changed their louvers from galvanized steel to aluminum and from roll formed to extruded.

The Equinox louvered roof system can be permitted in most cities in the US. Solara adjustable patio cover can be permitted in all cities in the US, Europe, Asia, etc.  Solara adjustable patio products are the only system in the market to pass wind tunnel testing (ICC laboratory approved)

Equinox louvered roof system has 3 standard colors and cannot custom make colors, Solara adjustable patio cover has 5 standard colors and more than a thousand custom colors available.  We have come to realize that restaurants are very detail oriented and design sensitive and often ask for custom colors that will help complement the original design, logo, etc.

Equinox louvered roof systems technology is based on cast aluminum brackets made in China that attach from the sides of the louvers. This design limits the louver’s span from 10 – 14 feet long and forces the louver to be wide and bulky (8”).  Since the operating mechanism system is on the side of the cover more mechanisms will be required.  Also, a gutter will be needed to cover and protect the mechanism.  Due to this design, curved, round and rectangular designs can be challenging and very expensive.  Solara adjustable patio cover design is based on a fiberglass bracket (30% fiberglass) with a UV protected alloy made by NASA for their space ships. The bracket will support the louver from below and that unique technology will give better spans up to 24-foot louver with a more elegant, narrow louver (4”) this design will not force you to install an expensive gutter system or add motors and mechanisms and it will allow round and curved designs in almost no additional costs.

Equinox louvered roof system has 10 years warranty on louvers and support components and only 3 years for power components such as motors, solar panels, link bars, etc.  there is no warranty for the batteries.  Solara adjustable patio cover has a lifetime warranty for louvers, and support components and 15 years warranty on all power components such as motors, remotes, etc.

Equinox louvered roof system installations can take some time and be challenging.  Heavy, bulky louvers need to be installed.  Mechanisms that have to be in the edge of the covers and most of the times in the middle of your restaurant, gutter system and electric wiring is a must.  This installation can keep the dining area out of order for a long time.  When choosing a louvered roof system in the dining industry, installation can be a big factor and if you must close part of your dining area, it can disturb the restaurant customers indoors as well.   Solara louvered roof installations can be equally as challenging, however due to the sleek design and light weight of the cover, the installation should be between 50%-80% faster than it would take with the Equinox system.  Most of the time, no gutter is needed and electric wiring is optional.

Louvered roof system maintenance

Both louvered roof systems, Equinox and Solara are very easy to maintain.  You can clean the louvers the same way you clean your car.  A little bit of soap and water and your louvered roof system will be nice and shiny again.  On the Equinox louvered roof system, you will also have to maintain the gutter system.  Anyone who has owned a gutter knows exactly what this means; climbing on ladders, sometimes using special tools, etc.  The Equinox louvered roof system comes with a solar panel battery that will be required to get replaced once in a while.  The battery is not warrantied and can get expensive so make sure you have easy access to the battery since it will need to be replaced once in a while.

Equinox louvered roof system has only one product, an extruded louver system that works very well.  Solara adjustable patio covers carries 2 types of louvered roof systems, roll formed louvered system is affordable, light weight and easy design. The extruded aluminum louvers are made for commercial applications and snow areas and it is the only extruded louver that comes with an extra layer of protection a vinyl seal.  This vinyl seal technology will help prevent leaking and it will be more forgiving for small branches, bird droppings, etc. that usually cause small leaks.

Brackets

Equinox louvered roof system uses a made in China cast aluminum, powder coated bracket (3 years warranty).   This bracket is has been about 3 years in the market and has not been tested in all types of weather conditions for long periods of time.  If powder coating on the brackets fade or scratch, the aluminum to aluminum reaction is corrosion, this is the same thing you have in corners of aluminum shower doors.  For a moving system, that can be critical and only time will tell.  Solara adjustable patio cover brackets (15 years warranty) have been on the market for 25 years all over the world and have been tested in EU European code, ICC, American code, Tav Teken an Israeli building code and will prevent any corrosion and deterioration of aluminum components.

Motor and manual operations

With Equinox louvered roof system, you will be forced to use the motors.  This is standard and there is no way to get around it.  That will add to the price of the system, cost of installation (hard wiring) and will be challenging for a free standing structure.  Solara adjustable patio cover gives you the option of a manual or a motorized system.  When installation and budgets are a big part of your decision, that can be crucial.

Louvered roof system price

The Equinox louvered roof system price is between $40-$75 a square foot.  The Solara extruded louvered roof system price will range between $22-$44 per square foot.  The Solara roll formed louvered roof system will cost between $18-$28 per square foot. Prices may vary due to snow load, wind load, design and installation challenges.

Hopefully reading this article will help clarify the difference between the Equinox louvered roof system and the Solara patio cover.  As a restaurant owner, you want to concentrate on hosting people, creating an excellent dining experience and do what you do best.  We always recommend to ask the manufacturers, the dealers, and clients what their experience is and what the pros and cons are for each product.  Among Solara customers are McDonalds, Israel international airport, Casinos in Monaco, Resorts in Morocco, gulf clubs in Milan, Doobie brothers recording studio, Hennessey Restaurant in Hermosa beach, Honeywell in Phoenix, AZ, NASA offices in North Virginia, university of Long Island, Apple in west Hollywood and many more.