If you own an RV or have rented one in the past, you know they're a great feature to have on your motorhome or trailer. There are several types of awnings and they serve different functions.
Window and door awnings provide shade and keep the rain away from your RV windows or entry door. Slide-out awnings help protect water and debris from any slideouts on the RV and patio awnings can extend the living area for the outdoors.
If you are careful and take care of your awning it will provide you years of reliable, trouble-free shade and protection.
Some preventive maintenance and cleaning will save you lots of money and keep that awning in tip-top shape. Take a look at some of our best tips to help maintain your awnings life expectancy.
Understand Your Fabrics
The first step to maintaining the longevity of your awning is to understand the two different fabrics you may encounter, acrylic or vinyl. Acrylic fabric is a woven cloth that lets air circulate through the fabric. This air circulation allows it to dry quickly when it gets wet. Acrylic fabrics are water repellent but NOT waterproof. Touching an acrylic awning when wet will cause it to seep through the fabric. Vinyl awning fabric is mildew resistant but not necessarily mildew proof. Mildew can form on the dirt and dust that collects on the vinyl fabric and can be worse in high temperatures, high humidity and if the fabric is stored when wet.
Open, Inspect, Clean
If your RV has been stored for awhile and you're opening it for the first time, you will need to inspect the awning fabric for any signs of damage, mildew or stains. As mentioned above vinyl awnings will mildew, prevent dirt from embedding itself inside acrylic fabrics, a simple hosing on a routine basis should prevent this. Remember to never put your awning in while it is still wet.
If It's Torn, Patch It!
When you have your awning rolled out, inspect it for any tears or excessive wear. If you notice anything, talk to your local RV dealer, they will be able to recommend some materials to use to repair or patch the awning fabric.
It is always good to check the awning hardware from time to time. If there are any brackets, bolts or anything loose that probably shouldn’t, take the time to tighten them back up. Replacing an awning can cost upward of $1500, so doing everything you can to make sure it's working properly is your best bet.
Rain is not your friend
While awnings are definitely great for escaping the rain and taking shelter, it doesn’t mean you should keep the awning out when the weather is bad. Excessive wind or water build up on awnings can cause serious damage so make sure to roll them in before the wind or rain become too much for the awning to handle. As soon as the weather clears up, make sure to unroll the awning and let it dry before storing it again.