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

Navigating the intricate world of marquee terminology can be a daunting task, especially when some suppliers aim to confuse potential customers. To alleviate this confusion, here’s a breakdown of the materials commonly used in marquee manufacture, listed in order of durability:

  1. PE (Polyethylene) – Typically ranging from 80 to 240 grams per square meter (gsm), PE is commonly associated with tarpaulins or groundsheets. While it offers waterproof properties, it can produce noise in windy conditions and may not be entirely waterproof due to the necessity of sewing seams, which can potentially leak.
  2. Poly/PVC (Polyester/Polyvinyl Chloride) (500d) – Poly/PVC serves as a middle ground between PE and pure PVC. Often misunderstood due to marketing tactics, the “500d” designation refers to 500 denier, not 500 grams per square meter. This material is polyester coated with PVC, providing a level of durability but not as robust as pure PVC.
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – Ranging from 300 to 650 gsm, PVC is widely regarded as the premier marquee material. With a lifespan roughly double that of PE or Poly/PVC, PVC can be high-frequency welded to create completely watertight structures. However, the quality of PVC varies, with the strength derived from the core material rather than the overall weight. Therefore, a well-known brand’s 500gsm PVC may outperform a lesser quality unbranded 650gsm PVC.

At Portland Marquees, we exclusively utilize Duracoretex™ PVC due to its proven durability compared to similar non-branded products of similar weight.

Despite the importance of quality cover materials, it’s essential to recognize that the strength of a marquee extends beyond this factor. Often, additional structural bracing provides greater benefits than minor increases in roof material thickness. We’re always available to provide personalized advice for your event. Simply reach out to us with details such as the type of event, available space, number of guests, and site diagrams or photographs, and we’ll gladly assist in exploring your options.

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