Hard Top vs Soft Top Gazebos- The Ultimate Showdown [2023]

A gazebo is a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about bugs or sunburn. But when it comes time to choose a gazebo for your backyard, one of the most significant decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go with a hard or soft top.

Both options have their pros and cons, so how do you know which is right for you? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of hard-top vs. soft-top gazebos so that you can make an informed decision.

We’ll also give you tips on choosing the suitable gazebo for your needs. So, if you’re thinking about buying a gazebo, keep reading!

Hard Top vs Soft Top Gazebos: Hard top gazebos offer durability and protection from the elements, providing a sturdy structure that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Soft top gazebos, on the other hand, offer versatility and ease of assembly, making them ideal for temporary outdoor gatherings.

What Are the Differences Between Hard Top vs Soft Top Gazebos?

Hard Top vs Soft Top Gazebos

In order to better understand the differences between the hardtop and soft top gazebos, let’s first find out what they are used for.

To begin with, as we know the name, Hardtop Gazebos are a popular choice for those who want to protect their investment and have stability during bad weather. They’re made with concrete, metal wood, or vinyl roofs that stay in place tightly so even the strongest winds won’t be able to slide them around on your deck. 

However, these structures do come at some expense – hardtops can weigh up to 600 lbs., which means you’ll need an experienced contractor if this is something where season matters [such as year-round properties].

On the contrary, In other words, soft roof gazebos are very lightweight and portable. They have an extra layer that makes them more durable, so you can enjoy greater flexibility with these types of structures compared to hardtops ones which must be strong enough not only for their own weight but also for any harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow during wintertime.

The simple design of a soft top gazebo makes it easy to assemble and disassemble. This means that if you’re renting your property or staying with friends for an extended period, this type of shelter would be perfect.

How to Choose between a hardtop and soft top gazebo depends on your needs:

The choice between a hardtop and soft top gazebo depends on their state. Hardtop roofs are usually found in custom-made gazebos for improved safety, while pre-built gazebos typically have soft-top ceilings for easier portability.

However, these are not the only differences between these two types of roofs. In fact, let’s explore the details of how they differ from one another to learn more.


Hardtop gazebos are usually made from expensive wood, metal, or concrete materials. When you install a hard top on your garden structure, it will cost more than if the roof was made with weaker material such as polyester canvas which can be found in many soft tops available today at low prices because they’re less durable but still provides reasonable protection against rainwater seeping through onto whatever lies below. 

The cost of a hardtop can vary depending on the size and materials used. The average price for just roofing would be around $1,000, but some people opt to have their entire gazebo done instead, which could bring that up to 3k.

Therefore If you are on a budget but still want to enjoy the luxury of an outdoor living space without breaking your bank account, then soft top gazebos may be perfect for what you need.

All in all, they cost less than their solid material counterparts, with prices ranging anywhere between $300-$700 depending upon the size and materials used. 

However, these types can have some issues when it comes time to keep them maintained, such as needing constant cleaning or just being general wear over the years due to rainwater damage-which means that if taken care of properly, this type should last up until around 5+years max before anything needs fixing.

Ease of Assembly

Another factor to consider when choosing between a hardtop and soft-top gazebo is the ease of assembly. Soft top gazebos are typically easier to assemble because they come with fewer parts and can be set up in less time.

On the other hand, hardtop gazebos require more assembly time and often require professional installation. If you’re looking for a gazebo that you can set up quickly and easily, a soft top gazebo may be the way to go.

Better Sun Protection

A hardtop gazebo is an excellent option for those who want incredible protection against the sun, both inside and out. The solid roof blocks sunlight from shining on you or causing UV rays that could damage your skin – not only will it keep things cool and protect anyone sitting under its shade.

Although, the material of your roof can impact how cool or warm you feel inside. A polycarbonate will keep the gazebo most relaxed. Still, darker woods aren’t as successful at dissipating heat from indoor environments like yours – they’re just better suited for different types if needed.

The fabric used in this type of roof can prevent sunlight from entering the interior but also makes you more prone to hot summer days.

You’ll be uncomfortable inside because these gazebos become too warm quickly and make matters worse by giving off excess vapor condensation that causes problems with ventilation- especially if there isn’t any airflow through your windows.

Waterproof Features:

The rain can’t get past this roof! The waterproof feature is essential for any structure you plan to build in your yard, and it will be helpful when working with gazebos.

A hardtop design has better-stopping power than other types because water bounces off them instead of seeping into the material like a soft-sided shelter might do if left exposed at all times, even during heavy downpours or monsoon season.

These roofs are made with a durable material that stops water droplets from entering. The baked enamel finish prevents leaks and keeps you dry in even the worst weather conditions, so there’s no need to worry about exposure when it rains.

The soft-top gazebos are less durable than their hard-top counterparts. They’re also not as water-resistant, even though they may temporarily protect against rain or snowfall (depending on the material).

Eventually, you’ll notice moisture seeping through to make your trip inside uncomfortable. Hardtop gazebos provide the best protection against natural elements.


When the snow accumulates on your gazebo roof, it makes for an extra heavy load that can cause you to lose stability. And with all this weight comes along the risk of falling.

While Softtop gazebos are easy to install and store, they cannot withstand heavy snowfall. A hard-top structure can support 600 lbs. up to 2,400 pounds of weight without needing extra help.

Intended for safety, the hardtop roofs are usually sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. However, removing your soft top before winter starts is recommended to not put unnecessary strain on this fragile covering, which could collapse in heavy snowfall seasons.


Hardtop gazebos are a durable and strong choice for your outdoor space. They don’t suffer from wear and tear quickly, so there’s no chance they’ll break or crack soon!

Plus, their sturdy construction makes them even more reliable during storms with high winds – these shelters won’t wobble, nor will stand still on an outside patio despite the strongest breeze that’s blowing today.

The soft top gazebos are not the best when it comes to durability. These structures usually have lightweight roofs and walls that can easily be pulled apart with even just wind, making them vulnerable to intense storms or winds at all times of the day.

Protection from the Elements

Protection from the elements is another important factor when choosing between a hardtop and soft-top gazebo. Hardtop gazebos protect completely from the elements, including the sun, rain, and wind.

They offer a shaded area to relax or entertain guests, regardless of the weather. Soft top pavilions, on the other hand, provide some protection from the sun and light rain but may not hold up well in heavy rain or wind.

If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, a hardtop gazebo may be a better option for you.


The aesthetics of the gazebo are another factor to consider. Hardtop gazebos provide a more polished and elegant look to your outdoor space.

They often come in more modern designs and colors, making them a great addition to a contemporary outdoor space. Soft top gazebos offer a more traditional and casual look.

They are often available in a variety of colors and designs, making them a great addition to a rustic or traditional outdoor space.

If you’re looking for a gazebo that matches the style of your outdoor space, consider the aesthetics of both hardtop and soft top gazebos.


Privacy is another factor to consider when choosing between a hardtop and soft top gazebo. Hardtop gazebos provide more privacy than soft top gazebos because they are enclosed on all sides and often come with curtains or screens that can be drawn for privacy.

Soft top gazebos offer less privacy because they are open on all sides. If you’re looking for a gazebo that provides a private space to relax or entertain guests, a hardtop gazebo may be the way to go.


The intended usage of the gazebo is another important factor to consider. If you plan to use the gazebo frequently for entertaining guests, a hardtop gazebo may be a better option. Hardtop gazebos offer a more sturdy and comfortable space to entertain guests.

They also offer more protection from the elements, making them a great choice for outdoor events.

On the other hand, if you plan to use the gazebo for relaxation or as a personal space, a soft top gazebo may be a better option. Soft top gazebos offer a cozy and casual space to relax and enjoy the outdoors.


The location of the gazebo is another important factor to consider. Hardtop gazebos are heavier and require a sturdy foundation to support them. They are often more permanent structures that cannot be easily moved. Soft top gazebos are lighter and more portable.

They can be moved to different locations and are great for temporary use. If you’re looking for a gazebo that you can easily move around your outdoor space, a soft-top gazebo may be the way to go.


The only maintenance a hardtop gazebo needs are occasional cleaning. This roof, made from solid materials and with a durable coating, can last for years without needing much attention, making it one of the most miserable features of these structures.

The fabric roofs used on soft tops are not as durable and robust compared to hardtop ones, which means that they’re more likely than not to go through minor inconveniences like heavy rainfall or tears. This also requires regular upkeep from you.

Benefits of having a hardtop gazebo

Having a hardtop gazebo can bring many benefits to your outdoor space. These gazebos are built with sturdy materials that make them durable and long-lasting.

They are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, protecting you and your outdoor furniture from rain, wind, and sunlight. Hardtop gazebos require minimal maintenance compared to other types, so you won’t have to spend much time or money keeping them in good shape.

Plus, they can add value to your home by providing an attractive and functional outdoor living space that can be used for entertaining guests or simply relaxing with your family.

Whether you want to host a backyard barbecue or enjoy a quiet evening under the stars, a hardtop gazebo is a perfect addition to any outdoor area.

So, a hardtop gazebo is worth considering if you’re looking for a durable, low-maintenance outdoor structure that provides protection and adds beauty to your backyard.

Benefits of having a soft top gazebo

Hard Top vs Soft Top Gazebos

A soft top gazebo can bring many benefits to your outdoor space. These gazebos are made with lightweight materials that make them easy to move around and set up in different locations.

They are also less expensive than hardtop gazebos, making them a great option for those on a budget. Soft top gazebos are easy to install and can be taken down quickly when not in use.

They offer some protection from the sun and light rain, making them suitable for use on mild weather days. Soft top gazebos also provide an attractive and cozy outdoor living space that can be used for various activities such as reading, dining, or playing games.

If you’re looking for a temporary or portable outdoor structure that provides shelter and adds value to your backyard, a soft top gazebo might be the perfect choice.

Just keep in mind that these gazebos may require more maintenance over time, as the fabric tops can fade or tear with extended exposure to the elements.

Installation tips for both hardtop and soft top gazebos:

No matter which type of gazebo you choose, installation is key to enjoying your backyard oasis for years to come. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when installing either a hardtop or soft top gazebo:

  • Make sure you have enough space. Gazebos can range in size from small (about eight feet in diameter) to large (up to 16 feet or more). Measure your backyard space and ensure you have enough room for your desired gazebo. You’ll also need to consider things like power lines, trees, and other obstacles that could get in the way of installation.
  • Choose the right location. Once you’ve decided on the size of the gazebo you want, it’s time to pick the perfect spot for it in your yard. Again, measure the space and ensure there’s enough room for the gazebo and any furniture you want to put inside it. It would be best if you also considered things like sunlight and wind when choosing a location. You might want a spot with lots of suns for relaxing during the day or a more sheltered area if you plan to use your gazebo in the evening.
  • Get help with installation. Gazebos can be heavy and difficult to install, so it’s always a good idea to get some help. Ask a friend or family member to assist you, or hire a professional if you’re not confident in your ability to install the gazebo yourself.
  • Take your time. Once you have all the necessary materials and assistance, take your time with the installation process. Double-check all the measurements and make sure everything is level before you start drilling or nailing anything into place. If you rush, it’s more likely that something will go wrong.

By following these tips, you can be sure that your new gazebo will be installed correctly and provide years of enjoyment. Whether you choose a hardtop or soft top gazebo, you’ll be able to enjoy your backyard oasis for years to come.

Comparison chart of HardTop vs Soft Top Gazebos:

Hardtop Gazebos:Soft Top Gazebos:
More expensive than soft top gazebosMore affordable than hard-top gazebos
Heavier and more difficult to installLighter and easier to install
last longer and are more durableNot as durable or long-lasting as hard-top gazebos
Offer more protection from the sun, wind, and rainOffer less protection from the sun, wind, and rain
It can be difficult to find replacement partsEasier to find replacement parts

What is the lifespan of Hardtop Gazebos?

They can be used to relax outside in the shade for more than 10 years, but it depends on how they are built and used. If you take good care of your gazebo, it can last a long time.

You should clean it regularly with mild soap and water, use a sealant every few years, and avoid using harsh chemicals. If you and your family use it a lot or if it’s in an area with bad weather, you may need to replace it sooner.

What is the lifespan of Soft Top Gazebos?

They usually last 2-3 years, depending on how well you care for them. To make them last longer, it’s good to let them get wet in the rain and sun and avoid using harsh chemicals or exposing them to UV rays. You can clean them with mild soap and water to remove dirt, mold, or mildew.

However, the lifespan of the gazebo still depends on factors like how often it’s used, where it’s stored, and other things. If you’re worried about how long your gazebo will last, ask the retailer or manufacturer about the warranty it comes with.

FAQ for hardtop vs. soft top gazebos:

Do hardtop gazebos last?

Yes, hardtop gazebos last longer than soft-top gazebos because they’re more durable and can last 10 -15 years.

Are hardtop gazebos worth the money?

Yes, hardtop gazebos are worth the money because they offer more protection from the sun, wind, and rain. They’re also more durable and last longer than soft top gazebos.

How long do soft-top gazebos last?

Soft-top gazebos usually last around two to three years. They’re not as durable as hardtop gazebos, but they’re much easier to install and offer more flexibility in style and color options.

Are hard-top gazebos suitable?

Hard-top gazebos are suitable because they offer more protection from the sun, wind, and rain. They’re also more durable and last longer than soft top gazebos.

Are hard-top gazebos waterproof?

Yes, hard-top gazebos are waterproof and offer more protection from the sun, wind, and rain.

Should I buy a hardtop or soft-top gazebo?

It depends on your needs and preferences. If you want a more durable gazebo that offers more protection from the elements, then a hardtop gazebo is a good choice. However, a soft top gazebo would be a better option if you’re looking for something easier to install and less expensive.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between a hardtop and a soft top gazebo, it ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both options have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Hardtop gazebos tend to be more durable, long-lasting, and offer better protection against the elements. They also tend to be more expensive, heavier, and more difficult to assemble. Hardtop gazebos are a great choice for those who want a more permanent outdoor structure that will withstand harsh weather conditions and require less maintenance.

On the other hand, soft top gazebos are generally more affordable, easier to assemble, and offer more flexibility in terms of usage and placement. They are also lightweight and can easily move from one location to another. Soft-top gazebos are a good choice for those looking for a more temporary outdoor shelter that can be easily taken down and stored away when not in use.

When deciding between a hardtop and a soft top gazebo, consider factors such as the location, intended usage, aesthetics, privacy, and waterproof features. It’s also important to factor in the maintenance requirements and sturdiness of the structure.

Ultimately, hardtop and soft top gazebos offer unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

We hope this guide helped you understand the differences between hard-top and soft-top gazebos. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section.

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