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Are Gazebos Waterproof? (A Comprehensive Guide)

Gazebos are beautiful and versatile outdoor structures that provide a perfect sanctuary for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoying nature. However, one crucial aspect to consider when selecting a gazebo is its waterproofing capabilities.

But, are gazebos waterproof?

Well, yes and no! It depends on a few factors, such as the structure type and the quality of the materials used. However, we can’t deny that a waterproof gazebo is the ultimate temporary shelter option for various outdoor activities and events.

Are Gazebos Waterproof

In this article, we’ll go through the different styles of pop-up gazebos and the process of waterproofing one made from fabric. 

Understanding Gazebo Types and Waterproofing

Before delving into waterproofing, it is essential to understand the different types of gazebos and the materials used in their construction. Gazebos come in various designs and sizes, such as wood, metal, and vinyl.

Each type has its own unique features and characteristics that affect its waterproofing potential. It is crucial to choose a gazebo that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

Are Gazebos Waterproof?

Permanently constructed gazebos are generally built to be waterproof. Pop up gazebos, however, may not always offer the same protection from falling wet stuff! But, there are some pop of gazebos which are waterproof as well.

There is generally 2 common pop up gazebo types.

These include the hardtop and the soft top. As the name suggests, the hardtop variant has more stable roof covering.

They can be portable but are used in cases where they are not erected and dismantled as often. Such as in a garden or longer term camping trips, etc. These types are used for shade as well as shelter from the rain.

Soft tops, on the other hand, can be packed into handy carry bags and simply pop out whenever or wherever required.

The latter doesn’t always have a waterproofing ability. Their main purpose is shade, but with better quality materials comes the extended option to shelter its user from rain. The waterproofing aspect of any gazebo lies mostly on the following criteria:

  • The overall quality of the materials used.
  • How the materials are constructed. Eg: double layered, stronger stitching, etc.
  • How they are treated to deflect moisture. Eg: coated with sealants.

Are Fabric Gazebos Waterproof?

Some fabrics used to construct a gazebo may allow it to resist water. The most common material used to make gazebos is polyester. In general, polyester isn’t the best material for deflecting water, although it can be treated with sealants that help increase its ability to do so.

Are Fabric Gazebos Waterproof
Are Fabric Gazebos Waterproof?

Depending on the quality and the subsequent price of the gazebo, the polyester can be lined with another water resistant material such as PVC. This makes the outer layer much stronger and more durable against weather elements. The extra stitching also helps to resist the risk of tearing. 

How to Make a Fabric Gazebo Waterproof?

Regardless of the type of fabric or canvas used to cover a gazebo, they generally don’t last longer than a season or 2. At this point, the protective waterproof coating begins to wear off. This leaves the gazebo bare of essential use. Sure, it may still help to reduce the damage caused by the sun’s rays, but the water will no longer be able to be deflected.

How to Make a Fabric Gazebo Waterproof
How to Make a Fabric Gazebo Waterproof?

A gazebo that doesn’t resist water can be further damaged by becoming moldy and brittle. So, waterproofing your gazebo is essential for the purpose of shelter and the overall condition of your gazebo. Never fear, though, if your gazebo is beginning to show signs of leakage and wear, there is still hope. 

Let’s look at what it takes to waterproof the fabric of your gazebo. 

What you will need:

  • Ladder (to help remove the canvas before treatment).
  • Medium grit sandpaper.
  • Rust inhibiting spray paint (stops rust forming).
  • Large tarp (used to protect the ground whilst treating).
  • 2-3 cans of waterproofing spray depending on the gazebo size (Nikwax, Star Brite, Scotch Guard, Kiwi Cam Guard, etc.). 
How to Make a Fabric Gazebo Waterproof (easy steps)

Step By Step Guide to Make Gazebo Waterproof

  1. Remove the canvas from the frame of the gazebo. This may require unhooking some clips or velcro to free it up. Start from one side and work your way around the top supports first. Proceed with any leg attachments to finally endure that they can be removed without hindrance.
  2. Pull and maneuver the fabric from one side over the top and slide it down the other side, completely detached from the frame.
  3. Go back to the frame and have a good look at its condition. If you notice any rust, give each area a good scrubbing with sandpaper. Try to work in smaller circles and leave a smooth finish. 
  4. Follow up on the affected area by applying some rust inhibiting spray. Simply shake well, hold around 6-8 inches away from the application area and spray. Once you are satisfied that all rust has been spotted and treated, leave it to completely dry whilst working on the canvas cover. 
  5. Spread the tarp out on the ground and lay the gazebo cover on top, with the outer sides facing upwards. If you notice that the cover is so big that you can’t reach the center from standing around the outside, then roll one or multiple sides up to create extra space. This will mean you’ll have to complete the process in smaller segments.
  6. Shake the can of waterproofing spray, and hold it 6-8 inches from the canvas at a 45 degree angle. Spray in a sweeping motion. Start from one of the top corners and work your way to the other top corner. 
  7. Continue from side to side and work your way down the canvas to the bottom of each section. 
  8. If you had to roll any of it up, unroll once all reachable areas are complete and continue the process on the now unrolled canvas. 
  9. Make sure to apply a heavy coat and let it dry completely before repeating the process and giving the canvas a second coat.
  10. Allow the canvas to dry out again before reattaching it to the frame in the reverse steps you took to remove it.

Benefits of Waterproof Gazebos

Investing in a waterproof gazebo brings a multitude of advantages.

First, it provides protection from rain and moisture, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space all year round. Whether it’s a light drizzle or heavy downpour, a waterproof gazebo keeps you dry and comfortable, providing an extension of your living space.

Additionally, waterproofing your gazebo enhances its overall lifespan, saving you money in the long run. By effectively repelling water and preventing moisture-related damage, you will avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Lastly, waterproof gazebos offer enhanced comfort and usability, allowing you to make the most of your outdoor sanctuary, regardless of the weather conditions.

Maintenance and Care for Waterproof Gazebos

1. Regular Cleaning and Inspection

To maintain your gazebo’s waterproofing and extend its lifespan, regular cleaning and inspection are vital. Clean the gazebo’s surfaces using a mild soap solution and a soft brush or sponge.

Avoid abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that may damage the sealant or coating. Additionally, inspect the gazebo for any signs of wear, peeling, or cracks in the waterproofing layer. Promptly address any issues to prevent water damage.

2. Repairing and Reapplying Waterproofing Treatments

Over time, the waterproofing treatment on your gazebo may wear off or become less effective. When you notice signs of deterioration, such as water pooling or increased leakage, it is time to repair and reapply the waterproofing treatment.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for reapplication, ensuring a thorough and even coating to maintain optimal protection.

3. Seasonal Considerations for Gazebo Maintenance

Different weather conditions may require additional care for your waterproof gazebo. During the winter months, remove snow buildup from the gazebo’s roof to prevent excess weight and potential structural damage.

In regions with extreme temperatures, consider using weatherproof covers during the offseason to protect the gazebo from prolonged exposure to harsh elements.

Regularly inspect and maintain your gazebo following seasonal changes to ensure its longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the gazebo water resistant?

It can be waterproof depending on the materials used and how the gazebo is manufactured. Some models have a canvas outer but are lined with an extra layer of PVC to ensure no leakage occurs. Furthermore, the water resistant coating can degrade after as little as a season or two, so a new sealant coat will need to be applied.

Can you leave a gazebo out in the rain?

A gazebo can be left out in the rain if you’re sure it is resistant to water and moisture. Otherwise, there is a risk that the excess moisture can damage the gazebo by forming mold, which causes tearing as well as weakening the material in general.

Do gazebos leak?

Not all gazebos are weak. Some are manufactured in such a way that they are classified as water resistant. These would usually have a canvas or polyester outer layer lined with a PVC layer for extra strength against moisture. However, even if a gazebo is guaranteed not to leak, the protective water resistant coating will only last a season or two before degrading. Therefore, a new coat must be applied via treatment sprays.


It’s easy to think that a gazebo will be water resistant. You make the purchase based on the structure having a roof. However, the roof section is generally for shade purposes, and water proofing isn’t guaranteed unless stated.

A little research must be done to ensure this is the case if that is the intended purpose. We hope this article has helped to trigger some thought surrounding gazebos and their ability to be water resistant. We look forward to seeing you at the next one. By for now!

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