Then there is the insulated roof panel, or IRP patio cover. Considered the most “finished” looking of all the choices, the IRP option is also the most expensive of the three. It does offer a smoother presentation, with two- to four-foot wide panels of foam insulation bonded with embossed aluminum skins, so there is only one joint every few feet instead of every half-foot or so. The thickness of the panels depends on the projection of your cover…the further it extends from the house, the thicker it needs to be. A big plus for some people who choose the IRP cover is that you can walk on it. This is possible with the flat pan if you use a board or sheet of plywood to spread your weight, but being able to climb up and clean or retrieve objects without having to take extra measures is a bonus for some.
So which to buy? I hate to take the cop out that it comes down to personal preference, but now at least you have some checks and balances to apply. Cost, style and durability are the most frequent topics discussed during the sales process, and this purchase essentially comes down to your budget and desires along those lines. So, visit the websites of the companies who make the products to compare, visit any available showrooms to see and touch the products for yourself, and then have a representative come and give you that free estimate. Have your questions ready, be comfortable with the answers they give you, and enjoy your patio cover purchase for many years to come!