Great RV Awning Care and Maintenance Tips You Cannot Do Without
Posted By: admin on 14 Oct, 2019
When the sun is out and you want to spend time outside your RV, a retractable awning is your best friend. It can provide the ideal place to socialize with your fellow RV enthusiasts and engage in fun activities like playing chess or enjoying a drink. And yet awning maintenance takes a backseat for many RV owners when considering the health and longevity of their vehicle. However, considering their functionality and cost of replacement, RV awnings deserve care and attention. Here a few basic but important tips to keep your awning in good shape for years to come.
Important RV Awning Care Tips
Understanding the Different Types of Awning Fabrics
The first step to awning maintenance is having a clear understanding of the various types of awning fabric. Usually, there are two – acrylic and vinyl – and your care regime will depend on the material from which your awning is made. Acrylic fabric is a petroleum-based material similar to plastic. It enables easy air circulation which means it dries fast and you don’t have to worry much about mildew. Though it’s usually water repellant (not waterproof), acrylic can soften at higher temperatures or even melt if exposed directly to flame. To that end, avoid using a grill or taking part in other high-heat activities under an acrylic awning. It is the same fabric used in tents, and you should not touch its underside when wet as doing so allows water to seep through. Vinyl, being highly susceptible to mold, is often coated with an anti-fungal agent.
Note: Mildew is most likely to occur in places with high temperatures and high humidity so never store a vinyl awning when it is still wet. Make sure it is completely dry before rolling it up.
Gently Hose Off Dirt
The water hosing method works for both vinyl and acrylic awnings. Gas or electric pressure washers are ideal for all types of outdoor cleaning and are easy to use. They usually have spray nozzles for different tasks, ranging from 0 to 60° fan patterns; wide (for using detergents), medium (for regular cleaning) and narrow (for stubborn, deep stains). If there are still stains after a good hose down, use a soft brush and mild detergent to gently scrub them off. Too much scrubbing can destroy the waterproof coating and damage the fabric beneath so be gentle. As noted above, allow the awning to dry completely before packing it away.
Limit Exposure to Sun
This may sound counterintuitive, since awnings are meant to provide shade and protect against harmful UV rays, but too much sun can fade and weaken awning fabric, shortening its life. So, limit sun exposure and keep awnings rolled up when not in use. You may also consider investing in an aluminum awning cover for additional protection when it is rolled up.
An Awning Lock is a Must
Awnings rip off easily during travel due to strong winds on highways. Although they can withstand many harsh weather conditions, heavy wind is not one of them. Once rolled up, awnings lock into place and stay secure, but a lock is an extra protection to prevent accidental unrolling when driving. You can also use de-flapper clamps to keep strong winds from ripping and tearing your awning; they also reduce that constant, annoying wind flapping noise.
Invest in an RV Awning Stabilizer Kit
This kit typically consists of screw anchors, spiral stakes and spring-loaded tension ropes and helps increase the strength and durability of your awning hardware. Strengthening the structure by securing it to the ground will protect your awning from damage if the wind kicks up suddenly. When camping at the beach, use the kit’s tension ropes to keep the awning tight and secure.
Beware of Water Accumulation
Whether it’s already raining or you anticipate rain, you must be careful with your awning placement. If left unattended, the canopy can accumulate a lot of water, with no way to drain itself. Water is heavy and causes unnecessary strain on awning tubes, causing them to bend; even worse, the whole structure can break loose from the RV. To avoid such situations, keep one corner lower than the others so water drains instead of collecting.
Your awning is an integral part of your RV, so keeping it in good shape can contribute to your quality of life when you hit the road. With due care and maintenance, you’ll not only enjoy a great RV outdoor extension but also save money on a new awning. These tips are all simple ways to ensure the awnings function properly and last long.