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The Pros and Cons of a Wood vs. Vinyl Pavilion

Updated: Mar 20

The Pros and Cons of a Wood vs. Vinyl Pavilion

You may have heard the news with our most recent pavilion blog post, but it seems pavilions everywhere have been receiving upgrades from the ‘Parks and Recreation’ variety to elegant structures that grace resorts, backyards, and businesses.

Raccoons and deer still like to rub shoulders with pavilions, but since the update it’s common to see this type of building consorting with pools and homes as well. Pavilions are now the sophisticated choice equal to gazebos and pergolas, and it’s become a popular choice.

You may have already decided that the pavilion is the answer for you, but just in case you’re not positive, check out our overview of the different kinds of open air buildings.

  1. What is a Pergola?

  2. What is a Pavilion?

  3. What is a Gazebo?

Still want a pavilion, but not sure about whether to consider wood or vinyl? Welcome to the pros and cons of wood vs. vinyl pavilions. Below we’ve highlighted the main points to find answers quickly.

Skim the pros and cons of wood vs. vinyl pavilions

  1. Will a wood or vinyl pavilion last longer?

  2. What is the maintenance schedule for wood vs. vinyl pavilion?

  3. Could the vinyl on a pavilion crack or blow off in the wind?

  4. How long will paint on a pavilion last? Will it crack or chip?

  5. Design & Style: making the choice for a wood vs. vinyl pavilion.

Will a wood or vinyl pavilion last longer?

It depends on the quality of the building purchased, but you should gain approximately a lifetime of use with either material. Vinyl has the pro of requiring less major maintenance, but running the chance of becoming brittle with age, or being more easily damaged by a stray rock rock thrown up by a mower. Wood can hold out against those stray rocks a little more, and even with a bit of a beating, keeps that desirable distressed look.

The con for wood is that it will need a major refinish every several years, making it a bigger item on the to-do list.

Takeaway: both have a lifetime of use with good maintenance, the decision is in which kind of maintenance will fit your lifestyle and schedule.

What is the maintenance schedule for a wood vs. vinyl pavilion?

As we mentioned vinyl takes less major care, with only a good power washing needed every 1-3 years. If this seems often to you, it may help to know this is advice tailored for locations where higher temps and humidity grow less-than-ideal amounts of mold. For example, a swampy location may need more upkeep than a dryer place set up higher.

Wood is the higher maintenance material in this wood vs. vinyl relationship, but even so won’t need it often if high-quality wood and paint is used to construct the pavilion. Choosing a manufacturer that prioritizes excellent building materials may cost a little more at the outset, but will get you more return when the building lasts about 7-10 years between refinishes.

Takeaway: Which maintenance schedule works for you? Do you prefer a large project less often, or periodic maintenance every 1-3 years?

Could the vinyl on a pavilion crack or blow off in the wind?

Vinyl is a resilient material when it is still new and only becomes more brittle with age. Even when it is older it isn’t likely to blow off in wind when installed well, though an extreme storm might damage it.  We recommend going with a manufacturer that uses the best materials for pavilions. The cost may be a little higher at first, but a quality pavilion will benefit you for much longer than an average building would.

With the experience Ulrich has gained constructing pavilions, we know firsthand that when top-quality materials are selected and buildings are built with strength and durability in mind, they go easier on a bank account or schedule for the long run.

How long will paint on a pavilion last? Will it crack or chip?

The secret to a long-lasting building is not just in the paint, but in the heart of it, the wood. A superior wood on a pavilion compared to a pavilion built with subpar wood shows a lifetime of difference; because of this we use pressure-treated southern yellow pine on Ulrich’s pavilions for its highly moisture and rot resistant properties. Of course when one begins well, one must keep it up well with a regular schedule for upkeep, mentioned under question #2.

Takeaway: we find that using the cheaper product simply won’t hold out for a lifetime use of a pavilion that has to stand up to the elements.

Design & Style: making the choice for a wood vs. vinyl gazebo?

This one is often considered the most confusing question, but it is actually quite straightforward. Just ask yourself these key questions:

  1. What is the current siding material on my home or business property?

  2. What is the main color scheme?

  3. Which style is going to look best: traditional, contemporary, modern, or classic?

As always, Pinterest is fantastic place to start for great ideas and style inspirations.

Don’t forget to create your own styleboard to figure out whether wood or vinyl will be the start to your dream pavilion. We congratulate you, and if you need extra assistance with options or questions about what works for your property, click here to contact us.

Come on over, and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Park Pavilion courtesy of

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