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Tips For RV Awning Maintenance

Awnings are great features to have on any motor home. There are many different types of RV awnings and they usually serve different purposes. Door and window awnings offer shade and also keep rain away from the RV windows or the entry door. On the other hand, slide-out awnings usually help to protect the top part of the slide out from water and debris. The patio awnings can also extend the living area of the outdoor world.

Awning Maintenance

The awnings on a motor home will provide several years of reliable and trouble-free operation only if you take enough time to do a little cleaning and preventive maintenance. Here are the tips for extending the life of RV awnings:

Understanding the awning fabrics

The first step to maintain your awnings is understanding more about the types of awning fabrics. The fabric used on the RV awnings is mainly of two types, vinyl or acrylic. Acrylic fabric refers to a woven cloth that enables air to circulate through the awning fabric. The air circulation will allow the fabric to dry faster when it gets wet. The acrylic fabrics are usually water repellent, they are not waterproof. If you’ve ever experienced tent camping then you know that you should not touch the underside part of the tent when it is wet. Touching wet fabric allows the water to seep through the fabrics. The same thing applies to acrylic awning fabrics. Vinyl awning fabrics are mildew resistant. Mildew may form on the dust and dirt that collects on vinyl fabric. The mildew shall be worse in high humidity, high temperatures and when the fabric is stored when it’s still wet.

Inspect the awning fabrics

When you open your awnings each year for the first time or if the awning has been stored for quite some time, you will have to inspect the fabric for any signs of stains or mildew. To prevent any dirt from imbedding in woven fabric of acrylic awning fabrics, you should just hose the fabric off on a regular basis. Always avoid scrubbing the acrylic awning fabric. Scrubbing might remove the water retardant finishes. For stubborn stains, just blot an approved cleaner on the fabric with a soft cloth or sponge.

Use appropriate cleaners

For mildew or more difficult stains on vinyl awning fabrics, use aftermarket commercial cleaners made just for the awning fabrics. One technique that seems to work quite well is spraying the outside and inside of the awning fabric using an appropriate cleaner then roll it up. You should then let it sit for a few minutes. This normally distributes the cleaner over the whole surface of the fabric and it gives the cleaner enough time to work. Open the awnings and rinse both sides of the fabrics thoroughly. It might be necessary to scrub the stubborn stains using a brush on the vinyl awning fabrics before rinsing. You can also clean the awnings hardware with the same cleaner that you used to wash the RV. You should never use abrasive or oil-based cleaners on the awning fabrics.

Awning Maintenance

Check the awning materials before repair

Inspect the awnings fabric for excessive wear or any tears. Talk to your RV dealers about the materials to use to patch or repair the awning fabric. When the awning is out, just inspect the hardware. The bottom awnings brackets usually support most of the load. Check the lag-screws in the awnings brackets for a secure mounting. You should also inspect arm-pivot hole for any broken-rivets or enlarged-holes in the handles. You should also check for warped roller-tubes. If the roller tube is warped, then it will be noticeable as you roll the awnings out. Also inspect the end-caps for a secure mounting and any loose or broken rivets. Make sure the awning-rail is mounted securely to the side of your RV. Never attempt remove the awnings end caps because spring tension might result in serious injury

Be prepared for bad weather conditions

Besides cleaning as well as inspecting your awnings, there some things that you need to keep in your mind when you are using the awnings, particularly the patio awning. You should always lower 1 side of the awning in order to allow water to runoff because the weight from the water pooling that’s on the awning cloth might cause extensive as well as costly damage. Wind gusts that are over 20 miles/ hour might also cause damage the awning as well as the motor home. You should also never let the awning unattended. In case everybody is leaving the campground then you should ensure that you keep the awning in travel position. Before you go to sleep, ensure that you store the awning very well. Even when you’re at the campground you must use awning tie downs in order to prevent sudden damage that might be caused by either a sudden storm or high wind gusts. You can position the arms of the awning straight down or stake the arms to the ground. However, you’ll get great support if they are attached to the lowest awning brackets that are on the side of the RV. It’s very easy to prevent your awning from getting damaged than to repair it.

Proper cleaning is essential

To clean your awning, just hose it off. This works for acrylic as well as vinyl awnings. In case there are some dirty spots immediately after cleaning the awning, clean them one by one using special soaps that are specifically made for washing RV awnings with a soft brush. Ensure that you are gentle when cleaning the awning because excessive scrubbing will wear away the water resistant coating and the fabric that’s beneath it.

Awning Maintenance

Avoid the UV rays

Moreover, minimize exposing your RV awning to UV rays. This might seem counterintuitive But too much of sun exposure might weaken down the fabric and also shorten your awning’s life. If you are not using your RV awning, ensure that you roll it up. Furthermore, you can consider purchasing an aluminum RV awning cover in order protect it when it is rolled up.

Get an RV stabilizer

You should also invest in an RV stabilizer kit. The stabilizer kit consists of numerous spiral stakes as well as some tension ropes which can be very helpful if you have got your RV awning open in windy conditions. The parts also offer your RV awning some stability, particularly if sudden wind blows by.

Keep Your Awning in Great Shape!

It is very true that your awning isn’t as essential to your RV’s functionality because of some of its components. However, keeping your RV awning in good shape can greatly contribute to your quality of life when you are on the road. Maintain your awning properly, and you will be rewarded with a good outdoor experience and you will also not invest on another awning. The above tips should assist you to ensure that your RV awning lasts for long.



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