Is it cheaper to build your own gazebo?

So many of our readers typically inquire from us whether it’s cheaper to build your gazebo or buy a ready-made gazebo kits; being in the industry for over 40 years, we have narrowed down some of the critical considerations to six factors that you should consider when deciding whether a ready-made gazebo or building your gazebo is the best option.

Some of the factors that help our clients and us to determine the best course of action when deciding whether buying a ready-made gazebo or building a custom gazebo narrows down to the client’s budget, the required gazebo size, design, and customization of the gazebo, gazebo building material options, construction skills, and time commitments, reason for installing the gazebo, and finally the long-term maintenance requirements of owning the gazebo.

Throughout this article, we will highlight how each of the above factors influences the decision whether to build your gazebo or buy a ready-made gazebo and why understanding these factors plays a role in influencing the costs and preferences of owning a gazebo.

Gazebo Kits vs Building a DIY Gazebo.

Now let’s examine how the above factors influence buying gazebo kits and building your DIY gazebo.

Buying Gazebo Kits.

We have installed more than 300 Gazebos in California, and most of the gazebo installations are mainly ready-made gazebos that our clients buy from online shops such as Amazon. To make it easier to select the best gazebo kits on Amazon, we have listed a guide on the best gazebos on Amazon to help you narrow down your research.

picture of an installed pre-fabricated gazebo kit

We do recommend buying gazebo kits if you want standard gazebo sizes without complicated size requirements, gazebo parts and designs; this is because most gazebos available online have predetermined sizes and common designs and shapes such as square, rectangle, etc., it will be much easier for you to select the best gazebo for you when researching on a variety of predetermined sizes than searching for a unique gazebo design such as octal or hexagonal gazebo designs amongst standard sized and designs found online.

Buying a gazebo kit is also ideal if you are on a limited budget; this is because ready-made kits are cheaper than building a DIY gazebo, this is because manufacturing companies can reduce the cost because of the economy of scale, and they can source gazebo building materials cheaper because they can purchase the materials on bulk, they also re-use building materials and tools on multiple projects reducing the overall cost of ready-made gazebos. However, it’s important to note that the quality of materials will be lower on ready-made gazebos than on buying them for a DIY gazebo build.

Since gazebo builders are trying to deliver affordable ready-made gazebos on the market, you will mostly find common gazebo building materials such as metal, wooden and plastic gazebos; no gazebo manufacturing companies will manufacture ready-made gazebos that will sit on the shelves since they want the gazebo to move fast, they will make common and on-demand gazebo materials, f you require this materials options, they buying a gazebo kit is the right option for you, however, if you are looking for rare and distinctive gazebo building materials such as fiber, natural stone, stained glass, and recycles wood and metal, then a DIY Gazebo will be the right option for you.

Other reasons why homeowners consider a gazebo kit over a DIY gazebo build are gazebo construction skills and time commitments required to build a gazebo; it takes 1- 4 hours to assemble a gazebo kit, while it might take more than one day to build a DIY gazebo and you might need to hire a gazebo contractor if you don’t have the skills to build a gazebo, gazebo kits are pre-cut and include assembly instruction making it easy to install and assemble compared to the skills and time required to build a DIY Gazebo.

If you require a gazebo for recreational or commercial purposes, then a ready-made gazebo kit is the right option for you compared to a DIY gazebo build; this is because you will find easy-to-assemble and well-designed gazebo kits made specifically for recreational and commercial purposes, with added gazebo accessories and components such as curtains, mosquito nettings, side rails for grilling, etc. and this will reduce the overall cost of owning the gazebo while maximizing the intended use of the gazebo.

The last factor that we can point to a homeowner towards purchasing a gazebo kit over building a DIY gazebo build is the reduced long-term commitments of owning a ready-made gazebo kit if you want a temporary gazebo kit for a specific event, such as a wedding or a party, you can purchase a gazebo for the event and quickly sell it or store it for another day, compared to building a gazebo which is mainly a permanent structure that is expensive to own and maintain compared to a temporary gazebo kit.

Building a DIY Gazebo.

The same factors that we have used to determine If buying a gazebo kit is ideal over building a DIY gazebo are used to determine whether starting a DIY gazebo build is the right for you; mainly, we sit down with the clients and go through the below factors in order narrow down the best course of action between purchasing a gazebo kit or building a gazebo.

The first consideration is the budget; we recommend building a DIY Gazebo if you have a considerable amount you would like to invest in a gazebo; this is because most of the costs associated with building a gazebo, such as research, design, and materials, are higher on a DIY gazebo compared to a ready-made gazebo kit, due to economies of scale manufacturers can reduce this costs on ready-made gazebo kits. In contrast, on building custom gazebos, you will need to finance these costs for your gazebo build.

Another factor that pushed clients towards building a DIY gazebo is special size and designs based on the placement options and available space in their backyard; ready-made gazebo kits come in standard sizes that might not be a good fit for such cases.

You may also want to use readily available materials in your garage, such as leftover metals and wood from your other project. Since the cost of gazebo building materials takes up the highest costs of owning or building a gazebo, this will lower your costs of building one, another factor that drives homeowners towards building their gazebo is if they have special requirements on their gazebo building materials, such as using unique and distinctive building materials, which can increase the value of the home compared to standard building materials associated with buying ready-made gazebo kits.

If you have woodworking or metalwork skills, we highly recommend building your gazebo, and labor costs are what drives people towards purchasing ready-made gazebo kits; however, if you have woodworking or metalwork skills building your gazebo will be cheaper, you will also be able to split the costs of building the gazebo into manageable expensed by purchasing only required building materials, making this a good DIY project that can be split over a specific duration especially if you have a limited budget.

Another factor that might lead a client to opt to build a DIY gazebo is the intended use of the gazebo; for instance, if you need a customized gazebo for particular purposes such as bathtub placement, or a spa gazebo, it will be challenging to find a ready-made gazebo for such purposes. If you do find there will be a limited option to choose from, for this reason, you will need to build a custom gazebo that is specifically made to fit in your gazebo accessories and placement options.

Lastly, and this is important, a gazebo adds value to your home if it’s a long-term structure. For example, a brick gazebo is considered of high value than a wooden or metal gazebo; for this reason, if you are looking to increase the value of your home, you should consider a permanent structure that compliments you home, and for these reasons; we recommend building your gazebo.

Is it cheaper to build your gazebo?

The cost of building your gazebo is higher than buying a prefabricated gazebo kit; costs such as labor costs, sourcing materials, and professional services associated with building your gazebo projects are high when building your gazebo, compared to purchasing a ready-made gazebo kit that has shared some of these costs due to manufacturer economies of scale.

However, you can reduce the cost of building your gazebo if you have materials that account for 50-70% of the overall costs and also if you have the skills and time commitments for labor costs which account for 20-30% of the gazebo constructions costs, if you don’t have the materials and don’t have the skills required to build a gazebo, the costs of building your gazebo will be higher compared to buying prefabricated gazebo kit.

Other costs associated with building a gazebo include foundations building costs which account for 5-10% of the overall cost, roofing costs which account for 5-10% of the overall costs, electricals, and plumbing, which costs 2-5% finishing, and decorations which account for 5-10%, permits and inspections which account for 2-5%, and miscellaneous costs which account for 1-3% of the overall costs.

Some of the cost saving with buying a pre-fabricated gazebo kit includes materials because they are optimized, and you will not be left with leftovers and labor costs since ready-made gazebos are easier to install since they come with simplified installation instructions; hence the installation costs will be much cheaper, electrical and plumbing as ready-made gazebo kits come with pre-installed structures for electrical and plumbing such as PURPLE LEAF Enclosed Gazebo Kit, which comes with gutters and electrical wiring accessories including lights. Other costs include finishing, decorations, professional services, architectural planning, and services associated with building your gazebo.

Blake Nudell

Author: Blake Nudell

Blake is an expert in residential construction with a passion for gazebos. Licensed contractor with a BS in Construction Management. Certified Outdoor Professional & Concrete Paver Installer. Founder of Gazebo Haven. Married to Joanna, a trusted interior designer. Dedicated to top-quality outdoor craftsmanship.

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