When it comes to outdoor living spaces, gazebos are a good facilitator to add some shade and comfort to your backyard. They come in more robust structures than average patio setups such as a patio umbrella. Altogether they motivate you to stay outdoors at your backyard oasis more often and longer. Gazebos can come in different shapes and types depending on the user’s preference. Some gazebos are made more permanently, some are easily removed and shiftable. Based on the top cover materials, gazebo can be classified as soft-top and hardtop ones.
Now if you are wondering if they are interchangeable, meaning can you make a soft top gazebo to hardtop to be precise? For your easy relief, yes, you can do that, but there are some criteria that need to be fulfilled before you are to change them! Read thoroughly if you want to convert your soft-top gazebo to a hardtop. Along with that, this content covers types of hardtop gazebo material, step-by-step conversion process, what benefits you will get on a hardtop gazebo, and many more. Expert opinion is a must for making a soft-top gazebo to a hardtop one.
- Changing a soft-top gazebo to a hard-top one requires the correct material, tools, and process.
- Hardtop roofing uses asphalt shingles, iron, steel, aluminum, and plastic sheets.
- The corners of the hardtop gazebo should be placed carefully to prevent any leaking.
- Hardtop gazebos provide a better user experience than soft top gazebos.
Converting A Soft Top Gazebo to Hardtop
Converting a soft top gazebo to a hardtop means the overall roofing materials of that gazebo will change from soft top to hardtop. Soft top gazebos are usually made of polyester, polyethylene, and sunbrella-made fabrics. They are also good for protecting you and your patio furniture from sunlight, air, and rain but they can never match the hardtop roof’s efficiency.
If you have a soft-topped gazebo and you want to replace it with a hardtop one then you will not require to make it from scratch. Depending on the structural strength, and beam condition, if you sense that it can hold a hardtop roof’s weight then you can replace them at a later anytime.
Types of Hardtop Gazebo Materials
Before jumping into the “hows”, you have to select what type of hardtop material you want your soft top to replace with. Like the soft-top materials variation, hardtop materials too offer some variation to choose from. Depending on your favorite, budget, and as per the base structure ability, you choose either any of them from below:
- Asphalt Shingles: These are pretty common for gazebo hardtop roofing. Asphalt shingles are square strip shingles, made of base mat or organic material (cellulose fibers) or inorganic material (glass fibers). They can easily match your home’s colors. It’s also extremely easy to install and reasonably inexpensive.
- Steel: Steel is an excellent option for hardtop roofing your gazebo. They are heavier in weight and hold enormous strengths within. They are powder coated to avoid rusting and work well in any weather. It’s generally more expensive as they are mined precious mineral substances.
- Corrugated Iron Sheet: Corrugated Iron Sheets are a common preference for roofing your hardtop gazebo. They come in different shapes and colors. They fit well to roof the corners with precision. These iron sheets are rust-preventing and comparatively less expensive to use.
- Aluminum: The lighter, little brother of steel in aluminum is much cheaper and easier to work with. Like iron sheets, they can be cut and customized by a much simpler tool. Another great choice for roofing your soft top gazebo into a hardtop.
- Polycarbonate Sheets: Twin or multi-walled sheets are durable and strong against any weather impact. Their transparent versions are second to none for naturally lighting your gazebo further. They are also economical and easy to maintain.
Soft Top to Hardtop Gazebo: Step-By-Step Process
With proper planning, required resources, and a little skill in cutting-attaching-drilling-nailing you can change a soft top gazebo to a hardtop by yourself. Before starting the work, make sure you have the below materials in your hand and then follow the steps as well:
- Hardtop gazebo kit
- Measuring tape
- Measure The Gazebo: Measure the overall roofing section and note down the length, width, and height of the portions. It will help you to analyze what amount of material you need and what will be the measurements. Good workmanship of any structure making starts with the right measurement.
- Order The Kits: Now that you have measured the gazebo upfront, and have a list of what type and amount of materials you need, you can order them straightway. If your previous gazebo company has options for replacement materials, then simply send them your preference and the measurement of your gazebo. Many other company also has the same feature. Otherwise, you can buy all the necessary items separately.
- Prepare The Materials: Some materials may need to come in the shape for attaching. Metal sheets need to be prepared as per the required size, asphalt shingles need to be in order by size and color. Prepare all other materials in shape wherever it is needed. After you are sure that, all the materials are ready to be attached, it is time for the main task.
- Familiarize Yourself: Upon receiving your required kits and materials make sure to recheck the receive list to see if anything is missing. Once you start working on that rooftop, any missing piece can put a complete hold on your work. Unpack all the small kits and count them if everything is in order and to your knowledge. You have to be very clear about what are doing, when, and how.
- Remove The Old Roofing: Next, you have to remove the older soft top roofing. Beware of any wear and tear in the process as you can reuse the fabrics for any other work. After removing, inspect the overall structural integrity of the gazebo. If any defect or unusual is found, then replace or repair that portion.
- Attach The Side Beams: Begin by attaching the support beams to the sides of your gazebo. If your kit didn’t come with beams, you could use 2×4 lumber cut to size. Your previous support beams may not be worthy to hold the new heavier roofing. Change them with the sturdier one as per the measurement. In some cases, the beams can be iron made. Attach them in separate blocks and reattach the smaller blocks into a single one. Make sure to attach them with the support columns tightly to ensure better structural integrity. Draw holes on the beams where it is required and attach them using nuts and bolts.
- Place The Tops: Now that you have readied the roof skeleton, it is time to cover them. Take one by one cover tops and place them in their designated places. It can be either asphalt shingles, metal sheets, and blocks. You may have to use a drill or clips to attach them to the skeleton. Make sure that the concerns are placed and attached properly. With every piece of cover you attach, the roof will slowly take place in shape before your eyes.
- Re-measure And Adjust (Optional): Upon placing the covers, re-measure and observe the overall roof structure from every angle to see if any misplace or loose parts. As the covers are removable, you can adjust them right away to their correct position.
- Test & Enjoy The Gazebo: If you have done all of these correctly and everything seems in place and satisfactory to you then it is time for some tests. Spread water over the roof to see if there is any leaking. You can also use sunlight as the background to identify any unwanted holes. If everything meets your expectation, throw a chair and relax. You have done a tremendous job!
5 Benefits of Hardtop Gazebo Over Soft Top
Gazebo alone can be a masterpiece patio setup in any backyard. Their presence in any backyard creates an additional blissful sight to have. Apart from their primary task of facilitating its user to enjoy their outdoor leisure time, they have some additional benefits such as:
- Strength: Gazebo with a hardtop holds more strength than a soft top gazebo. This can provide you with an extra layer of protection from sunlight, rain, and harsh weather.
- Customization: Soft top gazebos fabrics are built and used in the format. Meaning there is not much room for the user to do some customization. But in a hard top gazebo, you can preselect, change and customize any piece as per your desire.
- Better Privacy: A hardtop gazebo can be a better shelter in your backyard. Unlike a traditional open-sided gazebo, some hardtop gazebo has solid walls and a roof, making it more private and secluded. This can be a perfect spot to enjoy some peace away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
- Durability: hardtop gazebos are made strong from scratch. Roofing materials such as steel, iron, and aluminum sheets are well durable to sustain against harsh weather for a longer time. You don’t have to replace them for a long time once installed.
- Enhanced Aesthetic: Many people choose to add a hardtop gazebo to their yard for its enhanced aesthetic. A gazebo instantly makes a backyard more inviting and provides a focal point for outdoor entertaining or simply enjoying the outdoors.
Twin-wall or multiwall polycarbonate sheets are the best roof panels for a gazebo. They are durable, color-design-size optimizable, easy to source, don’t get rust affected, and more importantly, the least expensive option out there.
Yes, hardtop gazebos can stay up all year. Because they are made of hard, durable, and weather-resisting materials such as steel, galvanized iron, aluminum, and plastic sheets.
Hardtops are more durable and last longer compared to soft tops. They can handle stronger winds and heavier rains and they don’t require as much maintenance.
To put it simply, yes you can convert a soft top gazebo with a hardtop material by following some simple steps. All you have to do is to ensure that your soft top gazebo is able to withstand the weight of the new hardtop roof that you are about to install. And to do that, you will need to follow some steps such as removing the old roofing cover, measuring the gazebo to order the required amount of kits, and placing them over the gazebo to have a new hardtop roofing. Hardtop roofing will provide you with better strength durability, aesthetic appearance, privacy, and better customization options to adapt.
I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.