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There are a number of different materials available for marquees, below is a guide to the most common.

What marquee materials are available?



Polyethylene (PE) – the Original range available from Gala Tent

PE marquee material
  • ripstop, woven material
  • UV stabilised and fire rated
  • plastic coated on both sides for strength
  • high quality, low price point
  • heavy-duty, plastic-like material
  • weight of 240gsm – one of the heaviest, and therefore toughest, PE ranges on the market
  • easy to clean

Shop for PE marquees here

PVC – the Elite range available from Gala Tent

PVC marquee material
  • 100% heavy-duty PVC material
  • weight of up to 650gsm
  • UV stabilised and fire rated
  • most durable material in the range
  • glossy finish
  • easy to clean
  • sidewalls connect together using Dutch lacing and heavy-duty Velcro

shop for PVC marquees here


Poly-PVC marquee material
  • PVC coated polyester
  • water resistant
  • UV resistant
  • fire rated

Ripstop PVC

  • PVC coated finish and a cross-hatch weave
  • hard-wearing material
  • waterproof
  • more expensive than the alternatives


  • made from 100% cotton or poly cotton (a mix of cotton and polyester)
  • tough and resistant to tearing
  • attractive, natural look
  • not waterproof and can rot if not dried properly
  • more difficult to make fire resistant

PVC vs PE marquees

Gala Tent specialise in PVC and PE marquees, these are two of the most popular choices for marquees. The material you choose will depend on:

PE marquees are more affordable than PVC. Find out more about how much the materials cost here.

PVC has a glossier and more luxurious finish than PE, making PVC marquees ideal for upmarket events such as weddings. It is also highly-durable and has a long lifespan, even when being used regularly, so is a popular choice for commercial events. PE is more often used for domestic events such as garden parties. Read more about which material is best for which events here.

Both materials stand up well to a range of weather conditions, however, PVC is the ultimate, all-weather material as it is completely watertight and extremely hardwearing. You can find out more about the best marquees for different weather conditions here or read our expert guide to waterproof and weatherproof marquees.

Steel vs aluminium tent poles

Tent poles are a key factor when choosing a tent. The materials used can affect things like weight, height of the tent and strength, so it’s important to be aware of the key points.


Pros: rigidity, cost, strength

Cons: weight

Steel poles can withstand high winds, making it perfect for bad weather seasons. This strength comes with a weight penalty, meaning the poles will be more challenging to transport.  However, it is a more cost-effective choice.

Steel poles are plated to resist corrosion but will need to be maintained or it will rust over time.


Pros: durability, lightweight, rust resistance

Cons: cost

Aluminium is a lighter metal than steel and in order to strengthen aluminium it is combined with a second metal to create an alloy. Aluminium resists rust better than steel, requiring less maintenance. The aesthetic look of aluminium frames is also another reason it is popular for marquees.

Because of its aesthetic, weight and durability, aluminium can come with a more expensive price tag.

Budget for marquee

The price ranges for our PE and PVC marquees are as follows:

PE (Original)

£189.99 – £1,799.99

PVC (Pro Elite)

£336.98 – £2,799.98

Marquee event

What will you be using the marquee for? The following table advises on the best marquee material for a range of events:


Recommended marquee material

Garden party/domestic event

PE – it is lightweight yet high quality and able to withstand rain and wind, also affordable and cheap to replace the covers should they get damaged.


PVC – a hard-wearing, heavy-duty, luxurious material with a glossy finish.


PVC – suitable for repeated use, with the benefit of easy cleaning between uses. It also has a luxurious, silky appearance which is popular for corporate events.

Commercial use

PVC – the best investment for frequent commercial use such as hiring out for events. The thick, heavy-duty material will withstand all weathers, taking the stress out of year-round use

Weather conditions

We all know the British weather is unpredictable, but you can rest assured that marquees from Gala Tent – in all materials – are designed and manufactured to be water- and weatherproof. But in general, we’d recommend the following when selecting your marquee material:

  • For occasional, domestic use in the summer months a PE marquee will be fine and keep you dry during any downpours.
  • For a special event, even in summer, it’s advisable to invest in a heavier duty material like PVC. These offer excellent weather resistance and have a more luxurious appearance.
  • For regular commercial use all year round, our thickest and hardest wearing marquees – made from 100% PVC – are recommended. The material will protect you from all weathers and provide insulation during colder months.

What else to consider?

What does denier mean?

When choosing the material for a marquee you are likely to come across the term ‘denier’. Denier is the measurement used to measure the thickness of fabric fibres. In general terms, the higher the denier, the thicker and more durable the fabric.

What linings are available for a marquee?

Marquees are available with or without internal linings. Linings can transform a marquee into a stunning venue and help create a unique atmosphere for weddings and parties. Gala Tent offer fire retardant satin linings which can be draped from the roof and side panels of our marquees.

What are the poles used in Gala Tent’s marquees made from?

We use a tubular pole framework made from steel that has been carefully treated with white powder coating. The powder coating finish does not use toxic galvanized or zinc coated paint.

Want to find out more?

Buying a marquee FAQs

A guide to heavy-duty, hard-wearing and long-lasting pop-up marquees

How to choose a marquee for your garden party