The quality—and, as a result, the cost—of patio roofing systems can be as different as personalities. You may look quite like a sibling when you are, in fact, very different. It’s the same with patio covers.

You’ll base your patio cover purchase on several tings: looks, strength and budget. For most people, the right product falls between the cheapest and the most expensive. Affordable, which depends on your budget, is more important than cheap—and it should be.

Here are some patio roof types to consider:

Pan roofing

This is the least expensive type of patio roof, with lots of options for the do-it-yourselfer and for the homeowner on a budget. Aluminum pan roofing won’t rust, and it usually comes factory-painted to prevent weathering. It shades completely and sheds rain, but it does not block heat well, since is it not insulated. Roofing panels are probably roll-form aluminum ranging in thickness from 0.19-inch to 0.40-inch, typically engineered to withstand winds up to 90 mph. The end fascia typically are shaped to work as rain gutters.

Insulated Roofing

Insulated roofing does what a pan roof does, plus one other important thing: It insulates, preventing the sun’s heat from radiating through the roof. That can make a huge difference in comfort. Some safely hide wiring so that ceiling lights can be installed, along with ceiling fans for extra air circulation. Insulated roofing systems are typically made from aluminum-sandwiched foam panels. Make sure the panels interlock for strength and leak resistance. These roofs are typically engineered to withstand winds up to 110 mph, although higher-quality roofing, such as the Renaissance Patio Products line, are engineered for higher winds. Snow loads will vary, so check carefully if you’re in the snow belt.

Wood-Look Insulated Roofing

More stylish insulated roofing might better suit the tastes of some homeowners and better complement some architectural styles. Avoid styling fads. Some models are aluminum, embossed with a faux wood grain, which has been acceptable in home siding for decades. This type is painted at the factory. Like pan roofing, it is usually made from roll aluminum. Drainage is built into the fascia. Expect wind resistance to about 120 mph and snow loads of up to 60 lb./square foot.

Translucent Roofing Panels

If you like a bright patio but want full protection from rain, plus protection from sunburn, consider a roof with translucent panels. You’ll stay dry and removed from most of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which cause sunburn. Panels are typically polycarbonate. Those with double walls are better at blocking heat transfer. All panels interlock to fight leaks and add strength. The roofing panels are supported by aluminum columns and framing that’s typically made from rolled aluminum, not stronger extruded aluminum.

The Renaissance Difference

You’ll find many brands, with some that look identical but are very different. At Renaissance Patio Products, appearance and performance go hand-in-hand:

  • All Renaissance aluminum components are made from aircraft-grade extruded aluminum, not weaker rolled aluminum. They’re factory finished in the most weather-resistant coating available, a cured 3-mil powder coat that doesn’t chalk, fade or crack.
  • All models are engineered to resist 170 mph winds, so they will meet any code in the U.S.
  • Even the most basic Renaissance roof, the Moderno, is fully insulated aluminum-clad foam.
  • Every patio roof, not just the upscale insulated and decorative Classico, is designed to handle Colorado snow loads, the toughest standard in the country.
  • Translucent Fresco patio roof panels have standing seams, the ideal anti-leak joint. They also are treated during manufacture to block 40 percent of sunlight and 99 percent of UV rays. Tough double-wall construction insulates.

So, look for a style that appeals to you, and for a price that meets your budget, but dig deeper. Check the engineering specifications to make sure your patio roof will stand strong, keep you dry, and remain good-looking over time without maintenance.