RV awnings are a great option to have on RV. They provide a shady, dry place to enjoy the outdoors during camping. However, RV awning maintenance isn’t typically at the forefront of your mind when you’re thinking about the health of your RV. With normal usage and routine cleaning, an awning can last the lifetime of an RV.
Let’s take a look at the most important things to remember about taking care of your RV awning.
Don’t Roll Up a Wet Awning
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your awning is to roll it up wet – and then store it that way. If moisture is allowed to collect and remain on the fabric, mildew and dry rot will likely take hold and ruin the fabric in short order. Let your awning air dry before you pack up to leave the campground. If it rained hard for some time while your awning was extended, give it extra time to dry. Usually it’s still quite humid for a day or two after a hard rain. High humidity will lengthen the time it takes for your awning to dry completely.
Know the Type of Awning on Your RV
RVs awnings are usually made of two types of materials: acrylic or vinyl.
Acrylic fabric is a woven cloth that lets air circulate through the fabric. This air circulation allows the fabric to dry quickly when it gets wet. Acrylic fabrics are water repellent, but not waterproof.
Vinyl awning fabric is mildew resistant, but not necessarily mildew proof.
Clean and Protect your Awning in Three Easy Steps
Stains, mildew and leaks can all be avoided with a few simple, easy steps:
- Clean: Wash the awning with a high-quality cleaner designed to work well on outdoor fabrics and vinyl.
- Protect: Once thoroughly cleaned, treat the awning with a surface protectant.
- For fabric awnings, use a commercial-grade fabric guard.
- For vinyl awnings, select a high-quality surface protectant.
- You want a spray that’s soil resistant, water and stain repellent and, most of all, long-lasting.
- By periodically reapplying a protectant spray, your awning will stay cleaner longer and dry much faster. And since protected awnings are less likely to be damp when rolled up and stored, mildew and stains are less likely.
While you’re cleaning your awning, take a few minutes to do a thorough inspection of the fixture’s hardware. Since the bottom brackets support a majority of the load, be sure to check the lag screws in the awning brackets to ensure they’re tight. When you roll the awning out, take note of any warping of the roller tube, which can make storage difficult. Do a quick inspection of the arm pivot holes, looking for any broken rivets or enlarged holes in the handles, and make sure the awning rail is securely mounted to the side of the RV. Maintaining each of these fixture elements individually will help keep your entire awning functioning properly at all times.
As with all aspects of your RV maintenance schedule, continued care and upkeep of your awning is one of the best ways to ensure its quality is maintained for as long as possible. By cleaning and inspecting your RV awning every couple of months, it will provide you and your family with many years of use.