TNT’s New Tent Tops are Tougher Than Ever Before
When you really take the time to break down the quality of a party tent, it all boils down to two things. In one hand, you’ve got the quality of your metal components, including tent poles and frame elements. And in the other hand, you’ve got tent tops, and the fabric used. And this is a crossroads for party tent quality. Do you go with PVC coated fabric, or PVC laminated fabric?
A regular consumer off the street wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between PVC coated fabric and PVC laminated fabric. Sitting them side by side, there’s very little to differentiate them for the untrained eye. One looks nicer than the other, and … well … that’s pretty much it. But if you work in the event and party rentals world, your eye is anything but untrained.
So what exactly are the differences between PVC coated fabric and PVC laminated fabric? Which process is better, and why? And will your event and party rental business really benefit directly or substantially from using one over the other? Let’s explore PVC coated fabric versus PVC laminated fabric and find out!
PVC Coated Fabric vs. PVC Laminating. What’s the Difference?
To the layman, vinyl quality seems as straightforward as looking at how many ounces that vinyl has. Clearly, a 16 ounce vinyl tent top is going to outlast a 14 ounce vinyl tent top. But the vinyl’s grade isn’t the only factor you really need to consider when looking at a tent top’s quality.
How the vinyl is applied to a tent top’s base fabric plays a substantial role in determining the overall quality of that tent top. And there are really only two widely practiced methods of applying that vinyl. Either you’re coating the fabric in vinyl, or you’re laminating it.
PVC coated fabric is lathered in a sort of vinyl paste. It’s consistent all across the fabric. Think of a cookie coated in chocolate; you can’t see the cookie underneath, because the chocolate is amassed on the outside.
Meanwhile, PVC laminated fabric is essentially covered in vinyl film that’s pressed on. You’ve seen laminated pieces of paper before, right? It’s essentially the same process, only the paper is tent fabric and the plastic exterior is, of course, vinyl.
So Which Process is Better?
Now here’s the rub: both of these processes are great. They both have their pros and cons. But as a general rule, PVC coated fabric is significantly better for larger party tents, while PVC laminated fabric is better suited (in some ways, anyway) for smaller tents.
It’s more expensive to produce PVC coated fabric than laminated fabric, but those costs are definitely outweighed by the tremendous quality boost you get out of it. PVC coated fabric resists physical damage better. It performs better in extreme cold, too. And coated fabric is a lot easier to clean, and tent repairs and welding are much simpler as well.
The lamination process is generally a lot cheaper, and will provide a comparable level of protection in smaller party tents, making it an ideal process for pop up tents and other smaller tents. But once you start getting into the 20-footers, the additional cost of the PVC coated fabric is easily offset by the huge gains in longevity.
Since Tent and Table made the switch to PVC coated fabric for our larger tents, we’ve seen a major reduction in scratches and pinholes. The new tent top material is a bit more expensive, but it lasts a whole lot longer and looks a lot nicer. We think our customers will appreciate these improvements in big ways.