Choosing Between Steel and Aluminum Pergolas: A Comprehensive Guide

Pergola roof Arizona

A pergola, a timeless addition to outdoor spaces, serves both functional and decorative purposes. Solara’s outdoor pergolas have stood the test of time with over 40 years in the business, because we specialize in cutting-edge smart pergola covers that offer a myriad of possibilities. Our elegant structures not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your territory but also provide weather protection, support for climbing plants, and create a cozy open-style recreation area. Enjoy an outdoor oasis customized for the needs of you and your loved ones.

When it comes to choosing the right design for your outdoor space, every detail – big and small – is equally important. A question we often hear from customers is the quality of aluminum over steel. At Solara Adjustable Patio Cover, we use aluminum for our louvered roof system and have developed a product that withstand the heat of an Arizona summer or a winter’s snow fall in the Swiss countryside. We are committed to enhancing the overall quality of life for our customers and in this article, we are offering insights to help you make an informed choice for your outdoor haven.

Pros and Cons of Aluminum Pergola:

Aluminum, the Modern Marvel: Aluminum pergolas have gained immense popularity for various reasons. We have highlighted our favorites.

  • Aluminum can be recyclable and is considered an eco-friendly material.
  • Due to a fluoropolymer finish, the aluminum louvers are resistant to the elements and require nothing more than soapy water to keep them in pristine shape. There’s never a reason to fear rust with aluminum.
    • This low-maintenance feature adds to their allure, making them an ideal choice for those seeking durability without the hassle.
    • The aluminum pergola would never rust and there is no need to repaint it or treat it in any way.
  • Their lightweight allows them to be a freestanding structure or attached to an existing structure.
  • Aluminum has been used for various outdoor products such as windows, fences, and even cars.


For Every Con There’s a Dozen Pros: There’s no such thing as perfect, but Solara’s aluminum pergolas are pretty close.

  • Aluminum pergolas usually will be more expensive than steel pergolas. As a rule of thumb, a pound of aluminum will be three times pricier than steel, however, steel weighs more than aluminum so depending on your design the cost difference will vary.
  • For the same shape and gauge, steel will be stronger and can carry more weight than aluminum. For bigger spans, steel might work better than aluminum.
  • Caution should be advised regarding contact with other metals, as reactions, especially with copper, may occur.
Pergola Covers

Pros and Cons of a Steel Pergola:

  • Steel beams are more common in the indoor construction industry and it’s easier to find different shapes and sizes of steel beams than aluminum.
  • Usually, steel will be a more affordable solution than aluminum.
  • If you need to weld a few beams together welding steel is much more common and easier than welding aluminum pieces together.


Challenges of Steel: “Steel” your hard-earned money, amongst other adversities.

  • Steel beams will be much heavier than aluminum beams so the live load of your pergola will need to be better engineered.
  • Since steel beams are heavier than aluminum beams, installation can be much harder and sometimes cranes and lifts may be needed.
  • Unlike aluminum pergolas that are maintenance free, steel pergolas will require lots of maintenance to avoid rust.

Versatility of Solara's Aluminum Pergolas:

With more than 40 years in the market, working with different customers commercial and residential all over the world from restaurants in Venice, hotels in Hawaii, and lodges in Alaska we can definitely advise that aluminum pergolas are superior than steel pergolas. The main advantage of steel pergolas over aluminum pergolas is the spans and if the aluminum spans do not meet the requirements, we advise you to use a steel substructure for the post, header and support beams but use an aluminum louvered roof system on the top that way you can benefit from both worlds, bigger spans for the substructure and protection from the elements with aluminum louvered roof systems.


In the realm of aluminum pergolas, Solara stands out as a beacon of versatility. Offering a range of options, Solara’s aluminum pergolas provide an optimal balance of style, durability, and functionality. Distinguishing ourselves further, Solara’s smart shading systems boast a registered patent, and the entire manufacturing and assembly process takes place in our dedicated factory located in Phoenix, Arizona.

This approach allows us to uphold the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship throughout every stage. Emphasizing a commitment to personalized solutions, all our patio covers are meticulously crafted to address the unique needs, requirements, and dreams of each customer.


Achieving this objective involves the use of state-of-the-art, long-lasting, and resistant materials, ensuring a product that not only stands the test of time but does so without the burden of regular maintenance.

Whether you seek sun protection, a support structure for climbing plants, or a cozy open-style gazebo, Solara’s aluminum pergolas effortlessly fulfill these roles.


Ultimately, the deciding factor for your outdoor oasis depends on your preferences, budget, and home climate. As laid out, steel and aluminum both bring their own set of advantages and considerations, but understanding these nuances will empower you to create the perfect outdoor retreat tailored to your needs. Visit our show room to view a sample of Solara’s aluminum pergola louvers and see why we chose to work with aluminum exclusively.