The adjustable patio cover market has developed over the last ten years, and there are a lot of new companies that offer these adjustable patio covers. Although some will look and sound great, Solara, with twenty years of worldwide experience, will be the superior, more cost effective choice. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of extruder aluminum louvers and roll-form aluminum louvers. Please keep in mind that there is a lot of competition that sells steel or other types of metal louvers (instead of aluminum). Usually they will fail to disclose that their patio covers are not made from aluminum. Other metals tend to rust and wear much faster than aluminum when exposed to the elements (i.e. Sun, rain, snow, dust, etc.). The metal components are about 70% cheaper than that of the same components in aluminum. So, if you compare apples to apples, you should always ask what you are purchasing. Ask your sales representative what material every component is made of, ask about warranty, the life of the patio cover, etc.
Since the terms “Extruder Louver” and “Roll-Form Louver” are not familiar terms to anyone not in the adjustable patio cover industry, we will go over a few terms to help give you a better understanding.
Extruder aluminum is one way to produce aluminum product. The manufacturer will take a big “chunk” of aluminum. Next, they will heat the aluminum to soften it. Finally, they will feed it through a die to get the exact desired shape (i.e. If you have ever seen the PlayDoh ® molding kits, where you squeeze the PlayDoh® through an opening and it comes out as a star or square, etc.). Extruder aluminum is used to create a structurally stronger, thicker piece of aluminum. It is not flexible like Roll-Form aluminum is. With Extruder aluminum, it is harder to create small custom shaped pieces. Usually it is used in the industry for windows, doors, etc.
Roll-Form aluminum is another way to produce aluminum product. The manufacturer uses aluminum coils, then feeds it through a roll forming machine. This machine uses wheels that will gradually bend the aluminum to exact shape that is needed. Aluminum Roll-Formed product is light-weight, flexible, thinner than extruder aluminum, and is generally used for more intricate shapes and designs of aluminum. Roll-Formed aluminum is used for patio covers, road signs, rain gutters, etc.
Now we will discuss a few pros and cons of Extruder Louver Patio Covers VS. Roll-Form Patio Covers. With an extruder aluminum patio cover, a rule of thumb is that is will be a stronger, more stable patio cover. An extruder louver can handle significantly more weight. The extruder louver patio cover will be much thicker (up to 3x more than that of a roll-formed patio cover), and if engineered correctly, it should be able to carry much more wind and snow load than a roll-formed patio cover. However, approximately ninety percent of the time, that much of a weight load will not be needed. If you are not in an area of forty pounds snow load or more, you will get no benefit from using this heavy-duty structure. Basically it would be like wearing a helmet to take a walk…just to be safe. It is not cost effective, and it is very heavy and bulky.
Extruder louver patio covers will be thicker and heavier than the roll-formed aluminum. The extruder louvered patio cover is a heavy-duty structure and you should get 3x the aluminum in your roof system than the roll-formed patio cover. Because of the roof weight, the structure should not just be designed for the wind and snow load. It should also be designed to carry the roofs live-load (its own roof weight).
The roll-formed patio cover roofs are designed to be a light-weight structure. This means less supports, less bulky beams and posts, therefore, less cost to you. You will also have cheaper installation costs and more open area with a better view.
All of the patio covers should be permitted and engineered according to the local county and city codes. Extruder louvered roof companies will make accusations that a roll-formed roof is not durable or strong enough, however, the Solara roll-formed adjustable patio cover is designed and engineered to withstand any weather…even heavy wind and snow loads. The Solara patio cover has the engineering to back it, and twenty years of worldwide experience in all types of climates. There isn’t an adjustable patio cover company out there with as much experience and reputation behind them in this market. The smart customer should always ask their sales representative as many questions as possible regarding purchasing an adjustable patio cover. For instance, a few questions could be “If I can get a permit in my city for the Solara patio cover, doesn’t that mean it’s been reviewed and approved by the city engineer? If the engineering has been approved on the Solara patio cover system, doesn’t that mean it is tested to be able to withstand the worst weather for my area?”
Due to the flexibility of the roll-formed louver, it will have better resistance in an area that experiences high winds. The flexible patio cover roof can adjust better for any condition. If damage were to occur to the patio cover roof, replacing a part would be cheaper and much easier than on the extruder louver roof.
Since aluminum is a very good heat-transfer material, it expands and shrinks very fast in hot or cold weather. The adjustable patio cover is supposed to be a “water-tight” patio cover, and give you the benefit of a roof and outdoor family area. On hot summer days, the aluminum roof will absorb the heat. Most of the adjustable patio cover companies out there will advise you to slightly open the patio covers louvered roof. That will create a “chimney effect”. Since the roll-formed louvered roof is thinner, when a light breeze comes through (which will be created due to the different temperatures with shaded and sunny around the patio cover), it will cool off the patio cover quickly.
On an extruder louvered roof system, this process will take much longer due to it being such a heavy structure (remember: 3x more aluminum in this type of louvered roof system). On the cold winter days, the aluminum roof will shrink due to the temperature. With the roll-formed patio roof, this will not be significant, since it is very thin and light-weight. However, with extruder louvered roof, the shrinkage will be much more significant due to the density of this structure. That may cause possible leaking and gaps between the roof louvers.
In summary of the information that was just provided to you…
We have concluded that an extruder louver roof system will be stronger and more durable on the areas that have a heavy to severe snow load, and would provide and outdoor living space for your home. However, a roll-formed roof system would be durable for the same areas with heavy snow loads
as well. If you are not in an area with these heavy snow loads, it would not be in the best interest of the consumer to pay more for such a bulky cover when a roll-formed patio cover has the proper durability at less cost and more function (more variety of custom designs and sizes).
As a smart shopper, you should compare all of the different products out there and ask for a third party advisor, such as your city building department, an engineer, or even a neighbor that has one of the louvered roof systems. If your main concern is durability, you should ask about warranty on the product, research reviews on the internet, and again, speak to your city building department, and engineer, or a neighbor that has the patio cover on their home. This way you can find out from first-hand experience.
You should ask yourself why there is not any stationary patio cover made from extruder louver aluminum? The same reasons to have an extruder louvered patio cover are the dame as to have a stationary pergola. Why would you want that?
Even with all of this being said, some customers will still insist on having an extruder louvered patio cover, and in the Northern part of Europe, this makes sense. Solara came out with the same extruder louver roof system that we sell to our overseas market (20 years experience). Solara considers themselves an honest and experienced company. Although an extruder louvered roof system would bring more profits to the table, we would not recommend the product to someone that does not need it.