Covering the Competition:
ShadeFX vs. Louvered Systems

There are several differences between our ShadeFX retractable roof and louvered roof systems. Although they both offer sun and rain protection, consumers still look to weigh out the pros and cons. Below are examples to help filter the dissimilarities between the two.

How it Works

Louvered Roof: All louvers will open and close in unison, permitting the same amount of light throughout the entire frame.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: The roof can fully extend, retract or be stopped at any point along the single track. Therefore, you can have part of the structure open to the warming sunshine and the other half sheltered, providing cooling shade.

Open View

Louvered Roof: Most louvers can rotate up to 180 degrees. However, they still block most of the sky. Due to the close proximity of the louvers, the only way to get a clear view is by looking straight up. In essence, the louvers offer impeded views and filtered sunlight.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: The roof can fully open with a clear view of the sun, moon and stars. Based on the overhead design of the structure, the area below can have maximum exposure or unobstructed views when open.

Natural Light

Louvered Roof: When closed, louvers are entirely opaque and no light is able to pass. This creates a dark and bleak outdoor room.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: ShadeFX can be customized with a rather translucent material, allowing the sunlight to pass through. The area below will still be cool and shaded, but bright from the natural light shining above.


Louvered RoofAny debris such as leaves, sticks, stale rainwater and garbage will fall through when the louvers open.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: Most debris will be washed off to the sides of the canopy when it rains and the objects that don’t, remain on the canopy leaving the area underneath untouched.

Reflective Noise

Louvered Roof: Louvers are a reflective surface causing rain to sound like it’s hitting a tin roof. Can you imagine what a heavy rainfall or hail would sound like?

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: Fabric paired with polycarbonate panels is partly reflective and partly absorptive allowing the rain to gradually hit the roof and gently run off the sides

Weather Protection

Louvered Roof: Louvered roofs are for sun and rain protection and some can handle snow loads. However, they should not be operated during freezing weather. If the structure is built in front of large windows and the louvers are closed with snow on top, it will prevent sunshine from warming the interior of the building.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: ShadeFX is designed specifically for rain and sun protection. It is recommended to retract the roof during the winter months and not be operated below freezing temperatures. If the structure is placed in front of large windows, the sun can easily pass through, naturally warming the building on a cold winter’s day.


Louvered Roof: Substructures are required for most louvered systems. If there is an existing structure the louvered system won’t quite adapt to it. As a result, there will be a full box frame on top. Alternatively, the structure would have to be removed and replaced to accommodate the louvered roof for a seamless look.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: Can be customized to fit within 1/8” to any existing structure. Easily adapts to all pergolas, arbors, trellises and outdoor structures. Mounts above, clears everything below.

Operating System

Louvered Roof: Most louvered systems come motorized as the standard option, operated using a remote control.

ShadeFX Retractable Roof: Only available in a motorized option. However, it can be operated with a remote, wall switch or a handy smartphone app.

Generally speaking, both roof options come down to personal preference. There are multiple louvered roof manufacturers who can offer similar solutions to one another. However, our patented single track system allows us to offer a one-of-a-kind sun and rain solution. We manufacture all of our products in our large facility providing only the highest standards of craftsmanship and quality. Retractable sun and rain systems are always evolving and ShadeFX aims to always be one step ahead.

Learn more about our Retractable Roof solution.