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PE, Poly-PVC, 500d, PVC, what does it all mean?

It can be confusing with all the various marquee jargon and terminology used in the marquee industry. It can be even more confusing when some suppliers look to actively confuse potential customers.

So here is a list of the materials used in marquee manufacture roughly in order of durability:

PE (80-240gsm -grams per square metre). People usually recognise PE as the material used in tarpaulins or groundsheets (which are normally around 80gsm). A waterproof material that works well but can be a little noisy in the wind and should not be classed as 100% waterproof as all seams have to be sewn (which can leak).

Poly/PVC (500d). Polyester with a coating. A halfway house between PE and true PVC. Often (sadly intentional by some marketing) the 500d is mistaken for 500gsm but it is not - the 500d stands for 500 denier and is not as thick or heavy duty as 500gsm. 500d simply refers to the thread used in a woven fabric, it is not an indication of the compactness of the threads and certainly not an indication of the strength or weight of the material.

PVC (300-650gsm). PVC is seen as the ultimate marquee material and in various thicknesses is used throughout the marquee industry. It has twice the expected lifespan of PE or poly/PVC and can have high-frequency welded seams to make a completely watertight structure. There are many different qualities of PVC - the strength of PVC comes from the initial core material not the overall weight so often a very good quality branded 500gsm PVC may actually be superior to a poorer quality unbranded 650gsm PVC.

At DIY Marquees we only use Duracoretex™ PVC as it has proved itself more durable than other similarly weighted non branded products.

Despite the above list we cannot emphasise enough that the strength of a marquee does not just come from the quality of the covers, in fact this is often overplayed by people who specialise in marketing rather than erecting marquees. Additional structural bracing will often give greater benefit than any small incremental increase in the thickness of roof material.

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.