So your looking to buy a Marquee ? There are hundreds available on ebay, how do you know which marquees are good and which are not very good ?
Here are a few pointers :
(1) There are typically 3 types of cover material available on marquees, they are PE ( polyethelyne ), Polyester and Vinyl. The most expensive material is the Vinyl and this is typically used on commercial marquees due to its very heavy weight, weather resistance and long term durability. Its unlikely that you would buy a domestic use marquee made from Vinyl. PE is the cheapest type of cover material and the majority of ebay sold marquees are made using this material. PE is made by laminating thin strips of polyethelyne material together in a woven lattice and then this woven fabric is laminated on both sides with a liquid coating of polyethelyne. Whilst completely waterproof, this is an extremely cheap looking material which is commonly used on tarpaulins. During windy conditions, PE rustles very loudly and once a tear has established, the material will quickly shred to bits. Polyester marquees are cheaper than Vinyl, but more expensive than PE. Polyester looks soft and it feels like a normal fabric. Its soft appearance is quite deceiving because it is incredubly strong and durable. The best polyester marquees have a PVC coating on the inside that makes the fabric completely waterproof and makes it hang nicely on the marquee.
(2) Always buy a marquee with tubes of diameter at least 38mm. Anything less than 38mm and the tubes will bend and break in windy conditions. Not only check the diameter of the tubes, but also the thickness of the steel used in the tube. Decent marquees are made from at least 1mm steel. Its quite common for discount marquees to be made from 0.6 to 0.8mm steel. Check carefully when reading the specification of the marquee on the ebay listing. If there is not detailed spec, beware !!
(3) The best marquees come with steel fabricated corner joints. The cheaper marquees use plastic joints which snap during the marquees first use. Unless you want to be constantly buying replacement joints, always buy a marquee with metal joints.
(4) Unless you dont mind the wind blowing through the corners of your marquee, check that the cover is fitted with velcro connections along the entire length of the leg panels and side panels. This will prevent any ingress of rain and wind and make the difference between sitting in a very warm and cosy marquee and sitting in a cold shed !
(5) Some sellers provide free privacy curtains with their marquees. These will be perfect if you wish to hide a less than beautiful corner of your garden or want to provide complete privacy in your marquee. Check if the seller is offering this for free. Most dont come with privacy curtains.
(6) Make sure your seller is a professional manufacturer and not "Fred in his Shed". There are plenty of traders that sell marquees but once you have bought the product wont provide any customer support later down the line. Professional sellers always hold stock of spare parts which will be sent out to customers without delay if there is ever the need. A marquee with a broken part is basically scrap so ensure your seller will provide the necessary back up later on if required.
We hope this brief guide is of use. We will always be delighted to offer advice on marquees if you ever have any questions.
The Swithland Team.