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Best materials for marquees
There are lots of different materials used to cover marquees, here are some pros and cons of each:
Pros: Essential for use on traditional marquees, thick and tough material, good resistance to tearing
Cons: Problem when wet, F/R issues
I don’t claim to be an expert on using canvas for marquees as whenever we tried sourcing canvas to make covers we had trouble finding any that was flame retardant. It’s been used for centuries all round the world so there’s no arguing with the benefits of it, it’s very strong durable material. The only problems arise when it becomes wet, it becomes much heavier to lift and could rot if left damp over a period of time.
Cons: Doesn’t last, creases easily, noisy in wind, F/R issues
PE is the entry level for marquee material, it is the same material used in tarpaulins and groundsheets. It’s very cheap, it will keep you waterproof but the material isn’t very tough so won’t last long. It’s also very difficult to get flame retardant PE material.
Pros: Cheap, more durable than PE
Cons: Not as durable as PVC
Polyester with a PVC coating makes a more durable material and so you are more likely to be able to re-use a Poly/PVC marquee than a PE one.
Cons: Can be difficult to clean, stretches
PVC fabric is far superior to PE and Poly/PVC, it is more durable and consequently your marquee will stay waterproof for longer. Without a laminate coating it can be difficult to clean PVC back to its original new appearance.
Ripstop PVC with laminate coating
Pros: Very durable and easy to clean, holds eyelets very well
Cons: Expensive to buy
When you see the professional large marquees 9-30m wide this is the type of material they use. Generally 500-700gsm fabric but I have seen some 800-900gsm fabric when a blackout layer is used in the middle (generally used in hotter European countries than ours). The material has a polyester (terylene) mesh core with every 10th thread larger to resist ripping. The laminate coating means companies can clean the fabric thoroughly so it appears as new but the laminate coating does make the fabric more expensive than standard PVC.
As a point of reference we use 500gsm (Commercial range) and 650gsm (Deluxe range) ripstop PVC with a laminate coating. We could make our marquees cheaper by using PE, Poly/PVC or standard PVC but the reason we’ve been in business for over 30 years is by supplying a quality product that won’t let people down. In our opinion laminate coated ripstop PVC is the best, that’s why we use it.
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