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Reality Check -Stitching vs Welding in marquee roofs

Sometimes the claims of some companies in the marquee sales industry go beyond honest marketing with outlandish statements such as 'PE material is the same as bullet proof vests' and arrogant statements such as 'and don't believe anyone who tells you different' without actually offering any evidence to confirm their claims. At DIY Marquees we try to take a more positive approach to marketing and an evidence based approach to our marquee design.

With the above in mind we are producing a series of Reality Check articles displaying the pro's and con's for readers to see why we design marquees the way we do:

There are two methods of joining marquee material together, it is either stitched or it is welded using a high-frequency welder.


In the 80's as well as manufacturing marquees the King family were pioneers in waxproof clothing. If you used good quality cotton the wax from the waxed cotton material would melt in to the stitching making it completely waterproof. In man-made fabrics this does not happen, in good quality breathable clothing the stitching seams have a form of tape melted on to the reverse to make the stitching waterproof.

Marquees use man-made fabrics like PVC, PE, poly/PVC or even nylon. Melting tape on to the reverse is impractical and prohibitively expensive so if you use stitching in a marquee leaks. You are essentially piercing many holes in the material that will allow water to drip through or to get in between the layers of PVC and become mouldy.

There are some companies who state that stitching doesn't leak it is just condensation. This is nonsense. In a marquee most condensation forms on the metal framework - if you ever sleep in a marquee put your bed underneath a gap in the framework!


High frequency welding is like melting the two layer of material together, done correctly it forms a completely waterproof seam that is actually stronger than the remaining sheet of material.


A good illustrative comparison between stitching and welding is inflatable structures. Most inflatables (like bouncy castles for example) are stitched together, this requires constant inflating as the structure loses air through the stitch holes. Some inflatable structures can be inflated and left up without any further inflation, this is because the seams are welded together and so completely air-tight (like being waterproof in a marquee).


If you receive a marquee roof that is described as 'commercial' but has been stitched together -unless the joins are made up of multiple overlaps (like traditional canvas tents) then send it back, it is not fit for purpose.

Thanks for reading.

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.