Gone are the days when marquees could only be fitted out with coconut matting on level ground. Now we can offer flooring in any colour, vinyl to create the effect of wood and supply a dead level floor regardless of how bumpy or sloping the ground is underneath. Don't get me wrong, coconut matting is still an ever-popular option, particularly for events seeking a rustic feel and it works wonderfully with our tipi installations.
All marquee floors begin with a plastic membrane to keep moisture and various ground-dwelling creatures at bay. It's a nice idea to have grass as the floor to keep it natural (and Pinterest is packed with lovely marquee pictures with grass flooring) but in practice we've yet to experience this, certainly not at any formal party or wedding. Many Pinterest photos were taken in the USA or Italy where the weather is a tad more reliable than ours unfortunately!
The entry level flooring option is to have coconut matting (coir, hessian, seagrass, call it what you will) or what we term 'stock carpet'. Stock carpet is likely to have been used at an event previously but this doesn't mean it'll arrive covered in wedding cake, hog roast and holes made by stiletto heels. Our stock carpet is light brown and dark grey but occasionally we have other colours such as dark green. Matting is the nice natural, goldy/beige colour which many brides adore, not the green/orange striped stuff you see from time to time.
Raspberry coloured carpet? Why not...
The next step up is to have new carpet. This is a bit more expensive but it means a) it'll be brand new and lie perfectly flat and b) you can choose any colour you wish. We supply a lot of cream/champagne carpets at weddings over the summer. A favourite shade of ours is coffee because it provides contrast with the linings and doesn't mark as easily. White carpets come with plastic film attached which can be ripped off at the last minute.
Now we're talking! Solid flooring is great not only because it makes walking around inside the marquee easier and stabilises tables, it also reduces the impact on the grass underneath by allowing it to breath and protecting it against excessive footfall.
The first tier of solid flooring is plastic tile flooring which sits a little under an inch off the ground but makes the surface nice and firm (stiletto lovers go mad for it). It doesn't eliminate bumps or slopes and should really be seen as a 'surface hardening' solution only. The next tier is our most popular solid floor option: wooden boarded floor. This sits higher than plastic flooring which keeps your carpet (and feet) away from any nasty rainfall and puddles and is ideal for eliminating smaller bumps and dips. Finally, we have steel sub-flooring and cassette flooring (the Rolls-Royce of marquee flooring) which can eliminate slopes and dips, span hedges and streams and so on.
We don't supply matting or stock carpet for use with solid flooring, it has to be used in conjunction with new carpet.
Mow that lawn Mr Gardener...
Bear in mind that unless you opt for a solid floor system, your marquee floor will only be as good as the grass that's underneath it. If the grass is ankle length then the matting/carpet will feel springy underfoot and the flooring won't look dead level. The shorter the grass can be mown the better (rolling is always a good plan too). Make sure the final mow is three or four days before the marquee is installed as blades of cut grass get everywhere, including on our shiny white marquees. You can always mow around the marquee once it's installed.