Solara Adjustable Patio Covers VS Equinox Louvered Roof System
Choosing louvered roof systems for your patio can be confusing. Most of the homeowners will purchase one or two louvered roof systems in their lifetime and when you buy a louvered roof system it should last for a long time (15-25 years). Since louvered roof systems are relatively new the US market and not too long ago they used to be marketed only for high end custom home clients the information and specs that you can find online can be very confusing and inaccurate. In this article we will review Solara Adjustable Patio Cover and Equinox Louvered Roof Systems. This information should help you make the right decision in choosing the right louver system for you.
Equinox louvered roof systems is owned by Amerimax which is a big corporation that has various products. Equinox louvered roof systems is only one branch of their divisions.
Solara adjustable patio cover is an international company based in Phoenix Arizona and only manufactures louvered roof systems. This is their main product and they specialize in shading systems.
Equinox louvered roof systems is marketing their product of the US market and has a very low volume for the Canadian market. Solara adjustable patio cover is an international company with branches in Israel, Europe (main branches are in Italy, Spain and France) Caribbean, and the Far East (Japan).
Equinox louvered roof system has been on the market for 12 years and has been marketed locally. Solara adjustable patio cover has been on the market for 25 years and has been distributing their product all over the world.
Since Equinox louvered roof systems is a local company and only in market is the US and Canada their louvered roof system had to pass engineering for local building codes. Solara adjustable patio cover is an international company that has to maintain their engineering and codes to match almost any international codes existing such as the US ICC building codes European CE, Israeli Tav Teken.
Equinox louvered roof system was designed to withstand the local weather elements. Since the company does not have much experience and is owned by a large corporation they had to change their design a few times from roll formed louvers to extruded louvers and from galvanized steel to aluminum. Solara adjustable patio cover has been marketing the louvered roof system for 25 years and has keep high standards for any weather condition and for each country around the world. From humidity in Brazilian amazons to Norwegian snow load, Caribbean’s wind load, Arizona’s sun, etc. Solara louvered roof system is the only one in the world that has passed a physical wind channel laboratory testing (the same test that space ships have to pass).
Equinox louvered roofs have 3 years warranty on their mechanism and 3 years warranty on motors and electric parts. The louvers and all support components such as beams and posts are warrantied for 10 years. Solara adjustable patio cover has 15 years warranty on mechanism parts and 15 years warranty on motor and electric parts. Louvers and all support components such as beams and posts are LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY.
Equinox louvered roof systems have 3 standard colors, White, Sandstone and Clay. There is no option for custom made colors. Solara adjustable patio covers have 5 standard colors. White, Desert sand Cameo, Latte, Adobe, Contemporary Gray and has an option for more than 1,000 custom colors. With Solara adjustable patio cover you can also custom paint the substructure such as posts beams and etc and choose a different color for the top. Custom colors can be limited only by your imagination and you can also have your louvered roof system powder coated in the colors of your favorite sports club, a Disney theme or even your restaurant’s logo. Solara adjustable patio cover is also the only one that offers a 3D wood grain powder coated outdoor paint. That high end technology has been developed by an Italian powder coating company and Solara.
Equinox louvered roof systems can only offer an extruded louver system. The aluminum extruded louvered roof system by Equinox is one of the best louver systems in the market. Their extruded louvers are well designed and have a heavy duty gauge. Solara adjustable patio cover has 2 kinds of louvered roof systems. Light weight, affordable, roll forming louvered roof systems are mainly used for residential areas and since this unique design offers a very low live load the design options are almost endless. Solara adjustable patio cover also offers a high end heavy duty gauge extruded aluminum louvered roof system that can be used in residential and commercial projects. The heavy gauge louver is also recommended for heavy snow load areas.
Equinox louvered roof system is designed to support the louvers from their edge. Therefore, their design is limited. Round, curved, or rectangular designs are either impossible or very expensive. In Solara adjustable louvered roof system the rafters support the louvers from underneath and therefore the design options have much more leverage. Round, rectangular or even curved louvered roof systems can be designed and installed in a relatively easy way. The different technology between the companies also affects the design and size of the louvers. Equinox’ longest louver is 14ft and Solara’s longest louver is 24ft. With the Solara’s long louver, you can design almost any shape and it’s more cost effective since you don’t need a mechanism/motor every 12 – 14 ft. Equinox’s louvers’ width is 8 ½” while Solara’s louvers are 4”. The wide Equinox louver design can look bulky and clumsy especially for residential louvered roof system designs. With the Solara louver it’s easier and more effective to control the amount of light/shade you will receive.
Equinox’s louver is designed to be used as a gutter and drain. Solara louver is also designed as a gutter to drain the excess water, however with the extruded aluminum louver, Solara added a lifetime warranty vinyl seal as an extra layer of protection. A lot of the commercial projects picked Solara extruded louver just for that. In the restaurant and hospitality industry, leaking from louvered roof systems can be critical. Solara extruded louver system is the only one that offers this technology.
Equinox only offers a motorized system. This is their standard system. Solara’s louver system will give you the option to choose between manual louvered roof system and motorized louvered roof system. The manual louvered roof system can be used in a free standing application where electric wiring can be challenging. Also, with the manual louvered roof system you can stay within your budget.
The Equinox louvered roof system will supply one outdoor remote control for their system. Recently, after receiving feedback from homeowners that they cannot find the patio cover remote control, and they have too many remote controls for many devices, Solara added an indoor wall switch to go with the existing outdoor remote control.
The Equinox louvered roof system opening/closing cycle is 3 seconds, while the Solara is 14 seconds. The longest time, gives you the option to control the amount of light and shade you wish to have. Also, the fast louver motion can be a safety hazard for pets or young children.
Since the Equinox louvered roof system technology allows only 2 rafters on the edge of the system, light features and fans cannot be added on the middle of the louvered roof systems. With the Solara louvered roof system, there’s no limitations with adding a fan or a light feature. Solara even supplies a fan beam that can be easily added between the rafters and can be installed anywhere in the system.
Equinox louvered roof system has a boxed gutter system built in. Since the motor and the rest of the mechanism parts are located on the edge of the cover, Equinox designed a gutter system that will cover the mechanism parts and will drain the water at the same time. With the Solara louvered roof system, the rain gutter box is optional. Since Solara’s mechanism parts are hidden inside the rafters and already protected by the elements, you can choose to whether to have or not have the gutter system. The rain gutter system is really popular in big cities in Europe, on Condo’s and apartments 2nd story or higher. The rain gutter system will prevent draining all of the water to your downstairs neighbor, however in the US the rain gutter is not that popular since most of the louvered roof systems are installed on the floor level and the water drains into the garden. Solara’s designer suggests to install the louvered roof system without the gutter, give it a try at least one winter and then if you really feel that the gutter is necessary on your project, then you can go forward with purchasing an extra rain gutter system.
Equinox louvered roof system’s mechanism parts are all made from aluminum. Their main louver bracket is a cast aluminum made and powder coated in China. This bracket has only been a couple of years on the market and has not been tested with the outdoor elements long enough. Aluminum moving parts tend to scratch and the paint can fade. When 2 exposed aluminum parts can cause corrosion this process will accelerate in a warm humid climate. Solara louvered roof system mechanisms do not have any aluminum to aluminum parts touching each other. This technology developed within 25 years of experience and after testing all types of materials, Solara came to a conclusion that their louver brackets should be made from a poly component that is 30% fiberglass. The fiberglass louver alloy was created by NASA and can be very flexible and strong at the same time. The fiberglass louver bracket was tested and approved by a third party ICC laboratory to extend any type of elements and any types of UV radiation.
Equinox louvered design will not allow their louvers to stack one on top of another. The oval design keeps storage and shipping prices very high and if you don’t live next to an Equinox distributor facility, shipping costs will be transferred to the homeowner. Since Solara louvered roof system is an international company, they had to make sure they can transfer and store their louvers in the most efficient way possible. On one Equinox louver space you can stack 10 Solara louvers. This efficiency is transferred to the homeowners cost.
Last but not least, there is a big price difference between the Equinox louvered roof system and the Solara louvered roof system. The Equinox louver system installed will cost $35.00 a square foot and can go up to $75.00 a square foot. The Solara roll formed louver system will start from $18.00 a square foot and can go up to $30.00 a square foot. The Solara extruded louver system will start from $22.00 a square foot and go up to $43.00 square feet. In each system, the price can vary due to snow load, wind load, manual or motorized, installed on a slab or with footing, special design such as round, triangular, etc. quantity of square footage needed, as a rule of thumb, the bigger the patio cover the square foot price will be lower however if you will compare apple to apple the price of Solara roll formed louvered roof system is by far the most affordable, the mid-range price will be Solara extruded louvered roof system, and the most expensive system will be Equinox louvered roof system.
Hopefully after covering every angle, and comparing the 2 companies, and the 3 different louvered roof systems, it will be easier for you to choose the louvered roof system that fits your needs. Equinox louvered roof system is a part of a large corporation and the company is well established and with a good reputation, however, the louvered roof system product is a very small part of the corporation and sometimes you can fall through the cracks. Solara patio cover is a family owned made in the USA type of company that has been around for 25 years. The company only specializes in a high end custom made smart shade system and will give you personal customer service. The Equinox louvered roof system is a very good product and should last a long time, however if you have a project that requires more custom designs such as the shape or variety of colors you should definitely pick one of the Solara louvered roof systems. Your product will last for a long time (15 years warranty vs. 3 years warranty) and can even give you more benefits than the Equinox louvered roof system. If your project does not have an unlimited budget, you should definitely choose the Solara roll forming louvered roof system, that system will last a long time and will give you almost the same benefits as the Equinox and Solara extruded louvered roof system. In this way, you can save 30-60% of your louvered roof system costs.
If you have a commercial project, and waterproofing is crucial (restaurant) or your project is located in a high snow load area, you should consider the Solara adjustable extruded louvered roof system. Since Solara keeps their markup low, and their unique design allows them to keep shipping and storage costs affordable, you will get a better product (better sun/shade control) that will last for a longer time (15 years warranty vs. 3 years warranty) with better design options and more colors to choose from and save 20-30% of your cost.
At last, our biggest advice for you is to be a smart consumer. Call both of the manufactures directly, ask for answers from both companies, check which company will give you better customer service since the searching stage, and always ask for the 3 quotes (Solara roll forming and extruded louver systems and Equinox louver system).
Thank you and good luck!