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Marquee Terminology and Jargon:

The marquee industry can be confusing in many ways, hopefully this article helps explain some of the terminology and jargon used in the industry:

Apex: This refers to the highest point of a marquee. A marquee framework is usually assembled using A-frames, the apex is the top of the A-frame

Carpet: The carpet flooring used in a marquee is similar to that found in exhibition halls. Seen as giving a better finish than matting (see below) so often supplied as a premium product

Carport roof: A style of roof that does not cover the end gable at all essentially just covering the two sloped sides of the roof. Structurally not as strong or flexible as an envelope roof (see below)

Curtain linings: A finished shape of material held in place with a tie back to hide the metal legs of a marquee. Curtains are usually decorative and as such not large enough to cover the window panels

Eave: The join between the sides and roof of a marquee

Eave braces: Additional metal braces added from the eaves rail to the first purlin to prevent the majority of water pooling to occur

Eave rail/bar/purlin: The metal bar than runs from the top of one leg along the side of the marquee to the top of the next leg

Envelope roof: A style of roof that covers the sloped sides of the roof and the gable at either end (as opposed to a carport roof listed above). Covering the ends of the marquee makes an envelope roof stronger and also allows for greater wind resistance using individual end panels (see below)

Flat/Shaped lining: A fitted lining with no additional material (as opposed to pleated or rouched, see below)

Gable: The triangle at either end of the marquee that starts at eave height and runs up to the apex

Gable upright: A metal upright at the end of a marquee used to hold wall panels in place. Often not structural

Georgian windows: The most popular style of window for marquees. Usually consisting of a square or rectangular pattern printed on a clear window panel with an arched top. 'True Georgian' refers to the arch being cut out from the wall panel for a superior finish rather than having the arch printed on to a completely square or rectangular panel.

Ground bars: Metal bars that run round the perimeter of a marquee joining the bases of feet together to create a ring making the structure more rigid and therefore stronger. Although this makes the marquee stronger the structure still needs anchoring down

Interchangeable side/end panels: All end panels and side panels are the same size and can be used anywhere on the marquee. A marquee without interchangeable side/end panels would usually have a one-piece end wall panel and a one-piece or multiple-piece window panels on the side. Interchangeable side/end panels make the marquee more wind-resistant and flexible and so are usually found in better quality marquees

Matting: A term used to cover several different forms of marquee flooring:

  • Coconut matting: The most popular floor in commercial marquees
  • Polypropylene matting: A relatively new product imitating coconut matting without natural fibres
  • Breathable matting: Used in budget marquees

Marquee length: The distance from the first A-frame to the last A-frame. The length of a marquee is generally (but not always) the longest side

Marquee width: The span of the A-frames used in a marquee. Generally (but again not always) the shorter side of a marquee

Modular: A marquee that's length can be extended or shortened by set distances

Panoramic windows: Completely clear window panels with no pattern. Often panoramic window panels will just have a narrow strip of white PVC around the edge for fixing purposes leaving as large an area clear as possible

Pelmet: A flat drop (8-15cm) of lining material that hides the join between the roof lining and wall lining to give a nice finish. An alternative to swags (see below). Usually in ivory but can be in different colours

Pins: Marquee stakes eg pin the marquee down, knock the pins in

Pleated linings: Gathered lining giving lines of fabric running the length of the lining (ie from the ridge to the eaves or from the eaves to the floor)

Purlin: Horizontal metal spacing bars connecting each A-frame in the roof of the marquee structure. An apex-purlin would be one at the apex/ridge, an eave purlin would be one at the eaves (see above) and a mid-purlin would be between the two

Ridge pole: The bars (usually purlins, see above) running along the apex of the marquee

Roof angle: The angle the roof structure takes above horizontal. In commercial marquees this is usually 20 degrees. In narrower or budget marquees this is usually 30 degrees

Roof braces: Metal bracing that adds strength to the roof structure. Can be vertical bracing, horizontal bracing or both

Roof lining: A fitted lining used to hide all of the metalwork in the roof of a marquee and give a nicer finish

Rouched lining: A style of lining with horizontal tucks to give a slightly gathered finish. Popular in the 80's and early 90's but currently out of fashion (think of meringue wedding dresses)

Simplex design: An intelligent design of marquee to limit the number of different poles used in construction

Swags: Gathered lining material that replace a pelmet (see above), popular with weddings. Usually in ivory but can be in different colours

Tie downs: Kits formed of marquee stakes and ratchet tie downs usually sold in pairs. Used to anchor marquees down on soft surfaces

Wall linings: Fitted linings used to cover any wall (not window) panels. Can be flat, pleated or rouched

Welded seams: A method of waterproof joining PVC using high frequency welding equipment. Any quality marquee would have welded seams rather than sewn

If you can think of any terminology we have missed or you are stuck with something not listed above then please get in touch, we will always do our best to help.

We are always happy to offer more customised advice for your event, please contact us giving a few details of the event you are planning (type of event, space available, number of guests and diagrams/photographs of the site if possible) and we will be more than happy to advise on your options.

If you would like to use or quote any part of this article please contact us for permission or licencing.