How to Make RV Awning Last Longer


RV traveling is a fun activity. You get to travel to different places, stay on the road for days, and pull over to enjoy the scenery. Having a cup of coffee under the shade of your awning while enjoying the sight of nature in your camping spot is picture-perfect. To do so, a durable and damage-free awning is what you’ll need. RV awning is beneficial for an outside extension, protecting you, your things, and your RV. 

How to make an RV awning last longer? Cleaning, air-drying, using an RV awning protector, and securing against moisture, strong winds, and rain are the ways to make RV awnings last longer. Building support by the use of different devices is also effective in prolonging the awning’s life.

Maintaining your awning is an easy task if you know how. From regularly cleaning to purchasing protection cover, these tasks don’t need an expert to accomplish. This article will discuss tips and tricks in caring for your awning and give you an idea of what additional materials to purchase for its support. This article will also talk about why there is a need for an awning to last a long time and its benefits in your RVing journey. 

Maintenance of RV Awning

Keeping the awning clean and moisture-free before rolling it up saves you from having a damaged one. It is essential to have a scheduled cleaning once or twice a year to avoid dirt build-up that may damage the awning’s fabric. These are simple yet effective steps in cleaning your awning while protecting the material as your top priority. 

Keeping your Vinyl Awning Mildew Free

Image Source: “Tango Hotel at Site 90” by istargazer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

A vinyl awning is made from quality materials that are mildew resistant but not mildew-proof. Exposure to moisture and humidity may cause a build-up of mildew. The vinyl material is suitable for high-temperature campgrounds because it also resists UV light. 

To clean the awning, you may follow these simple steps. First, dilute a solution of soap or bleach and water, then spray it onto the vinyl. Let the solution absorb for 20-30 minutes. Then, rinse off with water. Always remember to let it air dry before storing. For tougher stains, a solution of water and white vinegar or baking soda would soften the stain. This is followed by scrubbing lightly onto the vinyl using a soft brush. And finally, rinse off with water, then let it dry before storing.

Hard scrubbing is not recommended in cleaning vinyl material because it may strip off the awning’s UV protection coating. A pro tip is to use a surface protectant that helps in repelling smudges, dust, and stains that may attach to it. It also prevents fading and cracking of the vinyl material and is effective as an additional UV blocker.

Taking Care of your Acrylic Awning 

Acrylic or fabric awnings are made from woven cloth, making them breathable and a good choice for providing a more excellent shade. The fabric makes air circulate in the material, making the shade cooler. It is highly water-resistant. However, over time, the water-resistant finish wears off because of too much exposure to heat and water. When water resistance is lost, the fabric becomes more prone to damage and later results in a water leak.

A solution of soap and water goes a long way in cleaning awnings for lightweight stains and dirt. The first step is to spray the solution on the fabric and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then rinse off with water and let it dry. For heavy stains and dirt, the use of a commercial cleaner for awnings is advisable. Scrub the solution gently on the awning using a soft brush. Then, rinse off with water and let it dry before storing.

To prolong the acrylic fabric’s life, a fabric guard helps restore its water repellency and fight water and oil-based stains. Spraying it on your awning generates additional protection against harmful elements that may damage the awning. 

Air-dry Awning before Rolling it Up

Image Source: “Oliver Awning” by Serolynne is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

After cleaning, the awning should be air-dried first before rolling it up. Let it dry by exposing it in the air and under the sun until no moisture is felt when touched. Air-drying helps prevent molds and mildew development. Dry surfaces do not cultivate germs and bacteria, especially when the awning is folded. Dirt and dust may easily attach to the awning when rolled up wet, especially when the RV is running. If an awning is dried before rolling it up, dirt and dust will not stick to it easily. 

Avoid the Hassle: Maintain your Awning

Instead of going through all the hassle of repairing and paying for services, it is more practical to  maintain your awning and prevent any further damage to it. Replacing a damaged awning with a new one may cost you a lot. A replacement ranges from $1500 for medium size to $2500 for larger sized awnings. You would not want to spend that much when you can spare a few bucks for your awning’s maintenance. Take it as a vital part of maintaining your RV.

Maintaining an awning is an easy task that every RVers should know. A cleaning service ranges from $20-$40, but a self-initiated cleaning doesn’t cost much. The maintenance is simple. Plus, it saves you time and money. 

The awning is always used in an RV trip. So the more you use it, the more you should take care of it. It protects things inside and outside of the RV. Harmful UV rays may cause damage to different electrical appliances, so an awning does an excellent job in protecting them. When the sun is at the awning side, it helps shelter the RV and you from the heat. And during rain, you can always stay outside under the awning’s care to enjoy the sight of the campground.

Securing your RV Awning against Damage

An RV awning is made of either acrylic or vinyl fabric material designed to battle the heat, wind, and moisture outside the RV. However, prolonged exposure to these elements may damage it. It is a plus if you can find additional protection to the awning, and these tips may help you with that.

Protect Awning from Harmful UV Rays

Image Source: rvshadeshop.com

Just like how we protect our skin from the sun, awnings need one too. RV awning material is made to withstand heat. However, over time, the fabric becomes damaged because of too much exposure to it. Here are some tips you can follow to make your awning last longer against the harmful UV rays. 

Extend the awning with a sunshade. There is an accessory track on the top bar of the awning where you can attach a sunshade. The sunshade is good when the RV faces the sun, filtering the harmful UV rays. You can put it at the top and side of the awning for added strength against the wind and privacy material when staying outside your RV.

Strong Wind is the Enemy of Awnings

Image Source: “Our Tassie Campervan” by Traveling together is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Awnings are talented. They often dance and follow the direction of the wind. However, strong wind is the enemy of awning because it can make it flap, shake, and rip its fabric. Strong wind lessens the strength of the awning and its attachment to the RV. So it is essential to not leave them out in the high winds. Always watch the weather forecast to know when to avoid using them. 

If you still need that awning despite strong winds, creating awning support is recommended to strengthen its grip. You can provide an anchorage using an anchor kit or tie it down with stabilizers to prevent it from flying. Another tip is to enhance your support by attaching support poles to the awning legs. For the fabric, use anti-flap kits to protect against ripping the fabric when flapping against high winds.

Proper Position of the Awning during Rain

Image Source: “TCT_Spring_2010 2872” by terrybone is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Summers are great, and so are rainy seasons. You may still need to use an awning during the rain when you stay outside of the RV, so knowing how to properly position it is a must. Position the awning with one end lower than the other to avoid pooling water. Doing this lets the water flow directly to the ground and avoids creating a heavy load which can cause damage to the awning fabric. It also prevents the water from staying too long in the awning, which tends to absorb in the acrylic material and damage it.

Using RV Awning Protector 

Image Source: “M.A.N Campervan” by peterolthof is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 

You bet that an awning is safe when it is stored while you are driving? Well, it is not. The awning material can get as much damage from being used as it is stored and rolled up. The use of a protector cover may come in handy to secure its safety while not in use.  An RV awning protector covers the awning material while it is rolled up. It is a long cylinder with an opening that is placed over the rolled-up fabric. Its job is to protect the awning from any flying objects while on travel. It also serves as a case and gives shade from the sun, and prevents moisture and dirt from entering the fabric, which may cause mildew buildup.

Conclusion 

The maintenance and care for an RV awning are simple yet make a big difference in its performance as an RV extension. Regular cleaning and prevention from damage are the key. Take care of your awning as much as you take care of your RV. In doing so, you are prolonging its life and its service that may last for many years. Plus maintaining it saves you from the hassle and breaking the bank for a replacement.

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