Soft- Vs. Hard-Top Gazebo: Which To Choose?

Gazebos are great for providing shade, protection from rain, and a place to take a rest in your yard. If you’re planning to get one and aren’t sure whether to go with a soft or hard top, we’re here to help you. We have researched both types of gazebos to help you make the right choice.

Soft-top gazebos are usually made of fabric. They are available in a variety of designs and colors. This type of gazebo is affordable but not as durable as a hard-top gazebo.

Hard-top gazebos are often made of aluminum or metal. They are the best choice when it comes to protection from heavy rain since they’re durable. They are also resistant to damage caused by moisture. However, they’re more expensive than soft-top gazebos.

Both types of gazebos have their advantages and disadvantages. The decision on which to choose depends on your preference. Continue reading as we discuss both types in greater detail to help you decide which is best for you. In this post, we will cover their advantages and disadvantage and answer some frequently asked questions.

collab photo of a soft top gazebo and a hard top gazebo, Soft Vs Hard Top Gazebo: Which To Choose?

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Soft-Top Gazebos

Soft-top gazebos are made mostly of soft fabric. They are ideal for outdoor use since they offer excellent protection from sunlight.

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This type of gazebo is lightweight, portable, and foldable. This type is great when you’re traveling because you can take it anywhere. Also, a soft-top gazebo is attractive and  makes a nice dramatic entryway for a garden.

Click here to see this soft-top gazebo on Amazon.

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A soft-top gazebo provides shade for the family. Here are some other advantages of a soft-top gazebo:


Soft-top gazebos come in a variety of colors and designs, so you have a choice if you’re looking for a style that will fit your preference. These gazebos are also perfect for different occasions, because they blend in well in garden and yards.

Easy To Set Up And Move

Some soft-top gazebos have canopies that can be removed during periods of rain or bad weather. Because they’re made of soft, lightweight material, they are foldable. You can take them with you when travel.

Less Expensive

Soft-top gazebos are generally less expensive than hard-top gazebos. This is because their materials are less costly.

Easy To Maintain

These types of gazebos are very easy to maintain. Since they are not made from hard materials like metal, they do not need paint. You can clean them by washing the fabric of the canopy.

horizontal view gazebo garden modern type


Despite all the pros, soft-top gazebos have disadvantages. Here are some of them:

Susceptible To Damage

Since soft-top gazebos are mostly fabric, rain and moisture may eventually damage them, including those that are water-resistant. Also, they are usually not durable enough to resist damage brought by strong winds.

Can’t Keep Out The Heat

Although a soft-top gazebo can provide shade on a sunny day, it can’t keep out the heat. The material of a soft-top gazebo is not as heat-resistant as that of a hard-top gazebo.

If you’re looking for an outdoor gazebo that can provide shade while giving you sun protection, soft-top gazebos are not the answer.

Not Sturdy Or Durable

These are the main drawbacks of a soft-top gazebo. Although they are less costly than the other types, they are not as sturdy or durable. They are not the right choice for snowy locations.

Hard-Top Gazebos

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One of the most popular sheds that homeowners want to own nowadays is the hard-top gazebo. Their materials are commonly metal or aluminum.

Click here to see this hard-top gazebo on Amazon.

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Here are some reasons why hard-top gazebos are popular:


One of the best advantages of using a hard-top gazebo is durability. Since these gazebos are made from metal or aluminum, they are sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.

Resistant To Weather Damage

Strong winds, heavy rains, and even snow are not problems if you own a hard-top gazebo. Their materials can resist any damage caused by these weather conditions. They are also resistant to moisture damage.

Attractive Appearance

Just like the soft-top gazebo, this type offers a wide range of colors and designs that you can choose from to complement the style you want to achieve. You can also paint them to get the look that you want.

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Here are some of the cons of using a hard-top gazebo:


Hard-top gazebos are more expensive than soft-top gazebos. This is because the material that is used in making them is more costly than the fabric soft-top gazebos. Hard-top gazebos are not ideal if you’re tight on budget.

Not Travel Friendly

Hard-top gazebos are usually permanent. They’re installed in a certain location because they are not portable and foldable, unlike the soft-top type. Some homeowners even use cement to install them on so they can withstand heavy winds.

How Long Do Soft-Top And Hard-Top Gazebos Last?

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The lifespan of a soft-top gazebo will depend on the type of fabric used and its maintenance. A gazebo made of good quality fabric, if untreated, can last for two to three years, while one made from low-quality materials can last for only six months to one year.

Hard-top gazebos, on the other hand, can last about ten years. This long lifespan still depends on the material, the weather, and how well the gazebo is maintained.

How To Maintain A Soft-Top Gazebo

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To prolong the lifespan of your gazebo, maintenance is key. Soft-top gazebos are not as durable as hard-top ones. However, if properly taken care of, they can provide you with shade and beauty for a long time.

Remember to clean your gazebo frequently. If you notice that there is rust on the metal parts, you should sand the parts carefully.

If your fabric top has a stain on it, you need to clean it as soon as possible to prevent the formation of bacteria that could eventually damage the fabric. Wash it with soap, water, and a sponge. Do not wash the canopy fabric in a washing machine because the machine can damage it.

Remember that fabric tops are not waterproof, so you should remove them during times of rain and strong wind.

How To Maintain A Hard-Top Gazebo

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Although hard-top gazebos are known for their durability, they still need maintenance to keep them in good condition while providing you with shade and beauty.

This sort of gazebo can survive rain, snow, and strong wind, but you should secure it to reduce the harm that these factors can cause.

Also, check on your gazebo at least twice a year to make sure there are no cracks that can lead to damage to the whole structure.

Additionally, you should check the gazebo for mold. If you notice that there are parts where mold is accumulating, grab a damp cloth and wipe the areas clean.

You can also repaint the gazebo when the color starts to fade. Lastly, keep the gazebo roof dry as possible to prevent mold buildup.

How Much Wind Can A Gazebo Withstand?

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Gazebos are perfect for outside occasions, so the weather conditions are very important. It is vital to know when a gazebo is too risky to use if you’re planning for an event.

Before deciding on whether to use your outside gazebo or not, make sure to check the weather forecast and wind conditions. A gazebo’s resistance to wind strength will depend on the type and its durability.

A typical heavy-duty gazebo that is properly installed and secured can endure winds up to 34 mph. If your gazebo is permanent, it can withstand stronger winds. Gazebos that aren’t built to last, including soft-top gazebos, will likely collapse in high wind.

In Conclusion

collab photo of a soft top gazebo and a hard top gazebo

Both soft- and hard-top gazebos have pros and cons. Both are stylish and offer excellent shade from the sun. You can also use them on any occasion since they serve as an instant venue for small gatherings.

There are factors to consider before choosing a gazebo. Think about your needs, the location, and your budget. Hard-top gazebos are more durable but more expensive than the soft-top ones. The final decision will be up to you.

If you find this article helpful, be sure to check out these related posts:

How To Keep Outdoor Curtains From Mildewing

Should You Cover Outdoor Furniture? [Breakdown By Season]

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