Marquee Materials: How Do They Compare?

  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on August 18, 2017 6:13 pm Leave your thoughts
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Marquee material comparison study

Marquee materials all respond differently to cleaning for reasons of a more technical nature. We attempt to compare them...

Marquee materials have various characteristics which lend themselves to being desired for one or other preferential purpose.

As for cleaning, there are distinct benefits of certain materials above others and whilst cleaning is not the only consideration for investing in a particular type of marquee material, it's definitely worth keeping in mind.

Marquee hire, being a high-impact type of work with continual turnover and turn around of structures during the non-stop peak season of summer, cleanliness and maintenance are big management topics.

High standards, especially with the aesthetics of your product on delivery, can lead to that long lasting first impressions, which in the long run can result in many repeat bookings & therefore future profits.

Marquees of various sorts each have their typical covering options, in terms of material.

Traditionally, marquee tents were enclosed in canvass awnings.

In contrast, modern structures like stretch tents are made from custom-made textiles, engineered specifically to perform excellently under varying weather and physical conditions.

What generally are the performance needs of a marquee material?

Marquee materials are expected to stand up to many hazards. Below are just a few needs that a marquee would have to suffice:

  1. Waterproof
    • repelling water is key, you'll want a material that will not absorb atmospheric moisture, nor take on water following direct contact. Saturation of material can lead to a change in tension and weight, leading to structural compromises.
  2. Fire resistant
    • according to health and safety regulations, temporary demountable structures are at significant fire risk, especially in an event environment which has electrical appliances, smoking guests or fuel powered combustion heaters.
  3. Bacteria repellent
    • bacteria and mould are significant environmental threat to textiles, causing discoloration and degradation at a molecular level, impairing appearance and integrity.
  4. Repairable
    • wear and tear is inevitable when hiring marquees. Selecting a canopy material which even when torn can be repaired simply will be valuable to your business in the form of continuity.
  5. Durable
    • storage, delivery, installation, outdoor exposure, varying conditions of weathering, take-down etc. are all facets of a bustling marquee hire trade. You'll want your capital equipment to last long, throughout many seasons preferably in order to yield maximum profit from initial investment. Failures in durability will compromise your financial planning.
  6. Tensile strength
    • marquee canopies by nature of function are held under tension and therefore tensile strength is a key quality. Materials of all sorts exhibit varying performance in this area.
  7. Coatings
    • augmenting marquee material with performance related coating, like lacquer for example, grants enhancement in one key area or another where the underlying material lacks this innate character. Waterproofing is one such quality.
  8. Stain resistance
    • where materials come into contact with one substance or another there is the risk of permanent transferal of colour or markings.
  9. Crease resistance
    • no matter how busy your marquee hire business, your structures will endure significant time locked up in storage. Folded materials if pressed for weeks on end (especially over winter) can develop long term creases, which cause unsightly distraction on installation. A material which doesn't crease easily would grant great advantage.
  10. Colour/Printing
    • with custom design requests from marquee customers colouring and printing on marquee materials could help in delivering impressive finishing touches to your project.

Typical types of marquee canopy material

Manufacturers choose their marquee materials based on their product focus. Below are the most common types of marquee and their material benefits:

  • Traditional peg and pole marquee [canvass covering]
    Peg and Pole Marquee Material

    Peg and Pole Marquees - typically use canvass covering

    • Canvass is an organic covering made from 100% cotton.
    • Whilst giving the benefit of being breathable, the downside is that canvass absorbs moisture very effectively when it comes into water contact, which of course in undesirable for marquee use.
    • In order to be made suitable for event in all weather, the canvass is pre-treated with a proofing substance to make the material impermeable to water.
    • As an additional airtight layer, proofing is vulnerable to being scrubbed off or broken by forceful cleaning methods like using a hard bristle brush or power jet cleaner.
    • Also harsh detergents can chemically breakdown proofing, rendering your marquee material compromised and open to saturation if watered. Reproofing regularly is recommended with canvass coverings.
  • Clearspan marquee [PVC covering]
    Clearspan Marquee Material

    Clearspan Marquees - typically use PVC covering

    • PVC is a manufactured, thermosetting resin which has proven versatile in use across many industries.
    • In application as a marquee material PVC offers many physical property benefits.
    • Made from chlorine (derived from salt) and carbon (derived from oil/gas as ethylene) PVC offers excellent fire resistance due to its heavily chlorinated makeup.
    • The base resin of PVC itself is very tough and varying degrees of flexibility can be incorporated into the resulting product by the addition of additives, plasticisers and chemical modifiers.
    • As a material heavily featured in the leisure industries, PVC has found use in the production of paddling pools, inflatable balls, bouncy castles and of course, marquee canopy materials.
    • PVC enjoys the following qualities:
      • durable
      • non-toxic
      • cost efficient
      • oil, chemical resitant
      • mechanical stability
      • can be custom formulated for unique mix of qualities
      • polar molecular groups makes it easy to colour, print or stick to
      • microbe resistant
      • UV resistant
  • Gazebo [PE covering]
    Garden Gazebo Marquee Material

    Garden Gazebo - typically use PE (polyethylene) covering

    • PE, polyethylene, is the most commonly produced and circulated plastic worldwide. Commonly used to manufacture plastic bags, films and membranes this is a most disposable type of material. It is cheap therefore and offers very little in comparison to the far more durable PVC.
    • Aside from lacking the durability of PVC by comparison, the following are also drawbacks to using PE:
      • UV instability i.e. will weaken under sunlight
      • weak and will stretch under tension
      • warps under heat
  • Stretch Tent [custom made textile covering]
    Stretch Tent Material

    Stretch Tent - typically use custom textile covering

    • Custom made textiles come at a high in-house development cost to manufacturers, but if the R&D process is commercially feasible, then there are potential long term benefits to be gained.
    • Such custom woven materials can be formulated specifically to achieve a designer blend of qualities which make for both a spectacular and safe event experience:
      • 100% waterproofing (Teflon coated in some cases)
      • treated with mould and fungal inhibitors
      • dirt repellent stain resistant and easy to clean
      • fire retardant 
      • printable
      • custom colours

Any good checklists out there for keeping on top of cleaning your canopies?

Take a look at this neat quick guide (by Losberger) for cleaning and storing your marquee tent covers. It covers many pointers which could save you making some costly errors with the handling of your marquee textiles.

Any useful tips to share? Feel free to share a comment below.

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