How To Fix My RV Awning: An Easy Guide For Campers
Having an awning over your RV is a must-have: it gives you a quick and easy shelter from sweltering heat, sudden downpours, and light snowfall. However, these conditions can quickly take a toll on your RV awning, so as an RV owner, you’ve probably searched for “how to fix my RV awning” online.
Luckily for you, we've created this step-by-step guide on how to fix your RV awning.
Why Do I Need To Know How To Fix My RV Awning?
Knowing how to fix your RV awning is an essential skill for any RV owner to have for two reasons. First, being able to repair your RV awning means that you will be able to perform repairs even if you are on the road. It won't matter also if you're far from an RV repair shop; you can either fix the damage yourself or you can at least place a patch job that will hold until you can get professional repairs done. This means that you won't ever find yourself with damages in your awning while on vacation, and you won't need to bear with a leaky awning or one that lets in the sunlight!
The second reason why you need to know how to fix your own RV awning is that you'll be able to save money. RV awnings regularly get damaged because of wear and tear as well as exposure to extreme weather such as strong winds, heavy rains, and blistering heat. Knowing how to fix your RV awning means that you'll be able to do your own repairs and not have to pay a repairman to do them for you.
Common Causes of RV Awning Damage
Here are some of the most common causes of RV awning damages:
- Poor awning quality – if you have a cheap camper, the awning can be made from cheap materials that will break, rip, or tear easily.
- Weather damage – extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy rains, and even hail can damage your awning.
- Sharp-edged debris – stones, rocks, or even branches can catch on your awning and cause damage.
- Age and general wear and tear- even if you take of your awning, it is natural that the awning material will wear away and weaken over time, causing rips and holes.
Does Awning Material Matter?
Yes, the material of your awning matters when it comes to the strength and durability of your awning. Most awnings are made from either acrylic or vinyl. Acrylic awnings are more flexible and resistant to water but are susceptible to mold and mildew. Vinyl awnings are strong and durable but gather up dirt and grime more easily. However, vinyl awnings become brittle more quickly when exposed to harsh and extreme weather conditions.
Types of RV Awning Damage
The degree of the damage to your awning will dictate how much work will go into repairing the awning and whether you can do the repairs quickly while on the road. Here are the three types of awning damage:
- Small Holes – small holes can come from being caught on sharp edges or animal damage. In some cases, the holes are so small that you won’t be able to spot them quickly. You’ll probably notice them once your awning starts leaking when it rains, or sunlight starts to pass through. Small holes are the easiest to repair and can be fixed within minutes. Don't leave them too long or they might get bigger and more difficult to repair.
- Small Tears – for RV awnings, small tears are those that measure less than three feet. They are more visible compared to small holes, but they are easily managed as long as you fix them as soon as possible. Tears can come from getting snagged on sharp edges, animal damages, or even loose threads on the edges of your awnings that have been pulled.
- Large Holes – also known as gouges, large holes are more visible compared to small holes, and they are more difficult to repair. Large holes will make your awning unusable because they no longer offer protection from the weather. In some cases, large holes in your awning mean that you need to replace your awning completely.
- Large Tears – any tears bigger than three feet are considered large tears. These are difficult to repair while on the road, and you will need tools and even professional help to repair large tears. As with large holes, if the tear is large enough, you might need to replace your awning completely.
Repairing Your Awning In 5 Steps
While the specific steps in repairing your awning can change depending on the size of the damage, the condition of your awning, and the tools you have on hand, here are the five basic steps that you need to perform for awning repair:
- Assess the Damage - First, inspect your awning to see all the damaged areas and determine what kind of repairs you need to perform. If the damages are small, you’ll likely be able to repair your awning quickly and easily. However, with larger tears and holes, you’ll need more time, tools, and practice.
- Remove the Awning - Remove the awning from the side of your camper since you won’t be able to repair it properly while it’s still attached to your vehicle. Consult with your owner’s manual on how to remove your awning properly. Once the awning has been removed, lay it on the ground and stretch it out completely so that you can repair it properly.
- Fix Small Holes and Tears - Before repairing the small damages in your awning, clean it thoroughly with a water-based solution and allow it to dry fully. After it has dried, place clear repair tape over the small holes and tears on the awning surface, making sure that the tape is placed flat on the surface of the awning. Repeat the process on the other side. Smooth out the tape with your hand to remove any air bubbles trapped inside.
- Fix Large Holes and Tears (if possible) - If your awning has any large holes or tears, these damages cannot be repaired with clear repair tape. Instead, you will need an awning patch kit and tools such as a screwdriver, awning glue, and fabric scissors. Measure out the exact dimensions of the tear and cut out a piece of replacement fabric to the exact measurements. Adhere the patch to the hole or tear using the glue, making sure to cover the damaged area completely. Allow the glue to dry out completely.
- Reattach the Awning - After all the repairs have been completed, reattach the awning to your RV.
If you're an avid camper, you rely on your awning for protection and safety, so you need to know how to fix your RV awning properly. Now that you know the answer to, "how to fix my RV awning," you can go anywhere in your RV knowing that you can easily fix any problems with your awning. However, keep in mind that RV awnings are not built to last forever. Over time, you'll need to replace your RV awning so that you can enjoy your outings with a strong and reliable awning.
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