Hardtop Vs Soft-Top Gazebo

Gazebos are a great addition to your garden. They not only enhance the overall vibe of the outdoors but also increase the value of your property.  When you plan to install one gazebo in your yard, along with many other considerations, you must also think about what type of roof you want for your garden house, a hardtop or a soft top. As both these tops have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, you must first know them well before making a final call.

Let’s talk everything about hardtop and soft top gazebos so that you can make your final decision easily and quickly.

Hardtop Vs Soft Top Gazebo: What Are These?

Before jumping into discussing their differences, let’s first find out what a hardtop and soft top gazebo is for even better understanding.

For starters, as the name suggests, a hardtop gazebo is an outdoor garden structure with a solid, hard roof on the top. These are popular among users because of the durability and the shed it offers. Constructed with concrete, metal, wood, or vinyl, a hardtop roof stays in place tightly and doesn’t move even in the heaviest of wind. However, as this top is super heavy [depending on the material, a hardtop roof might weigh up to 600 lbs.], it is not portable at all. Users with year-round properties usually prefer hard roof gazebos because of such stability and protection.

On the other hand, in simple words, soft roof gazebos are SOFT. By “soft” we mean that they are exclusively made from fabric, like polyester, and very mushy. Because of such characteristics, the soft roof gazebos are extremely lightweight and hence, portable too. Besides, the gazebos with this type of roof are easily foldable, which means that you can enjoy greater flexibility than the hardtop ones.   

Another notable feature of a soft top gazebo is that they can be assembled and disassembled pretty easily. For this reason, these are an excellent option for renters and short-term residents.

Hardtop Vs Soft Top Gazebo: The Differences

The main difference between a hardtop and a soft top gazebo is in their state. While a hardtop one is usually used on custom-made gazebos for better safety and stability, soft top roofs are incorporated in pre-built gazebos for better portability and flexibility. However, this is not the end of differences. Let’s talk about how these two types of roofs differ from one another in detail to know more.


One of the most significant differences between a hardtop and a soft top gazebo is their cost. As hardtop roofs are usually made from expensive materials like wood, metal, concrete, and other solid components, they would cost you a moolah to install on your garden structure. Depending on the size and materials used, the cost of a hardtop can range somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 [just the roof, not the complete gazebo].

Also read: Gazebo Cost Guide: How Much A Gazebo Would Cost You

However, the cost of a soft top gazebo is significantly less. Fabrics like polyester and canvas are not as expensive as the solid materials, and therefore don’t cost you like a hard top one. Keeping in mind the size of your framework, this type of roof would hardly be around $300 and $700. If you have budget issues, soft top roofs can be an excellent option for you.

A Cheap Soft-Top Gazebo
A Cheap Readymade Soft-Top Gazebo

Waterproof Features

The waterproof feature is very important for a garden structure. It keeps the raindrops away and ensures that you are not drenched when it’s raining and you are in your gazebo. While talking about the waterproof aspects of a gazebo, we must state that hardtop roofs are best at stopping water from getting in. Along with the solid construction, these tops also have baked enamel coating that stops water droplets from getting in the framework. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining cats and dogs; these roofs won’t leak water and therefore, won’t expose you to the rain.

Similar to the hardtop roofs, the soft top ones would also protect you from the rain, but not as well as the hardtop gazebo. Even when the fabric is water-resistant, over time, it will start to suffer from wear and tear. Then water and even snow will start to reach inside the structure making it not as safe for you. 

Hardtop gazebos are always your best pick if you want the best protection against natural elements.

Better Sun Protection

As like as a water-resistant feature, hardtop gazebos also provide incredible protection against the blazing sun. The solid roof not only blocks the sunlight and the UV rays to pass through but also makes sure that the interior of the structure remains cool and comfortable by keeping away the heat. However, you must remember that this coldness depends on the roof construction materials greatly. While a polycarbonate keeps the gazebo coolest, darker woods are not as successful as repealing heat.

The same cannot be said about soft top ones. Although the fabrics used in this roof type can prevent the sunlight from entering the interior to an extent, they are not as heat repellent as the hardtop ones. These gazebos will surely become hot on a hot summer day and make you very uncomfortable inside them.


When talking about maintenance, we must tell you that a hardtop gazebo is virtually maintenance-free. As the materials used to make this roof are solid, sturdy, and durable and also have a baked enamel coating, they do not suffer from wear and tear quickly and easily. 

Nonetheless, soft top ones require extensive maintenance. Because the fabrics used for these roofs are not as durable and strong as the hardtops ones, they tend to get affected in the smallest of inconvenience, like heavy rainfall or tears, and therefore, require regular upkeep.


A strong and sturdy gazebo roof is very important, especially if you are living in a cold region. This is because when it snows, the snow accumulates on the roof. This makes the roof extra heavy and exposes it to the danger of falling down. However, when you have a hardtop gazebo, you don’t have to worry about this. Considering the construction material and the sturdiness, a hardtop gazebo can support 600 lbs. to 2,400 lbs. of snow at a time and keep you safe underneath.

While the hardtop roofs are sturdy by nature, soft top ones are not. In fact, they are so flabby and wobbly that it is always advised to uninstall them before the snowing season starts. It cannot carry the weight of the snow and hence, will collapse in no time.

A Readymade Hardtop Gazebo
A Readymade Hardtop Gazebo


Hardtop gazebos are more durable. Period. As these roofs do not suffer from wear and tear quickly, there are fewer chances that they would break or crack anytime soon. Also, their strong and sturdy construction adds to the durability even more by ensuring great stability- these gazebos won’t wobble or fall in the strongest of wind and stand still on your outdoors.

When it comes to durability, soft top gazebos are not the best. These structures are usually built lightweight with even a lighter roof, which is not strong enough to withstand any wind or storm. If there is a strong wind, there are high chances that your gazebo would also go with it.

Final Words On Hardtop Vs Soft Top Gazebo

It is very clear that hardtop gazebos are better than the soft top ones. They offer a whole lot of benefits to the users including durability, protection, and safety. Therefore, if you want to incorporate a structure in your yard, a hardtop gazebo would be the best for you.

Then again, as we have mentioned before, if you are a tenant or short-term resident, getting a soft top framework is going to be an excellent choice for you.

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