Your RV awning has an important task. It is there to protect you from the sun, the wind, the rain and sometimes even the snow! Your RV awning adds value and space to your outdoor living, with screened rooms, patio mats, exterior accessories and more to create the perfect atmosphere. Your awning can be considered one of the most important RV exterior accessories so let’s learn a little bit more about awning types, awning care and maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape.
As with most RV exterior accessories, there are a variety of awning materials and styles to choose from. Let’s run through each of the options.
Acrylic RV Awnings
One of the most common types and materials of RV awnings is acrylic. Acrylic is very breathable, providing good air circulation and the ability to handle all the elements … plus dust, dirt and bugs! Acrylic RV awnings dry quickly but, while they are water repellant, they are not waterproof. Much like the fabric of a tent, water will seep through if the awning is touched from below. Acrylic awnings can also become stretched, making it extra important for them to be secured in windy conditions.
Vinyl RV Awnings
Vinyl RV awnings are a more durable option than acrylic. The sturdier fabric is waterproof and resistant to scratches and fading. The heavier material will also protect from UV rays, pollution and road grime. One downfall of vinyl awnings is that they are prone to developing mould and mildew, as well as collecting dirt and dust. This is easily handled with some basic maintenance, which we will cover in a moment.
Slide-out RV awnings are designed to protect your rig’s slide-outs from water, leaves and debris. Typically made out of the canvas, slide-out awnings are easy to care for but watch out for water that may pool on the roof.
Patio Awnings & Add-A-Rooms
Also known as sheltered awnings or vertical arm awnings, patio awnings allow you to add square footage to your RV with a level of privacy not found with other awning options. Patio awnings often have an add-a-room option that consists of a roof, walls and entryway to create a room for sleeping, eating, storage or just full protection from the wind and rain. Add-a-rooms can be complicated to assemble and, without windows, can have reduced airflow.
Typically used on tent trailers, bag RV awnings are made of vinyl and roll up into a weatherproof case/bag which slides into your awning rail. Legs and supports are attached to the front rail for support when the awning is up and are folded into the bag for storage when travelling. Take special care to make sure that your awning is dry before rolling it up into the bag to prevent mould and mildew.
Easy to operate, RV box awnings mount directly to the side of your RV. With the push of a button or a simple hand crank, the box awning opens and the support arms extend for adjustment.
While your RV awning is meant to protect YOU from the elements, you must also exercise some care to protect your awning from Mother Nature. If your awning is not properly cared for, wind, rain and sun can have you looking for an RV awning replacement!
One of the simplest and most important aspects of caring for your RV awning is keeping it clean. A once over with the garden hose should do the trick for regular cleaning. Trickier stains and spots can be worked on with a soft brush and RV awning cleaners. Remember to be gentle! Too much scrubbing can wear down the fabric and reduce the waterproof coating.
When cleaning your awning or while using it in the rain, be sure to prevent water from accumulating and putting an unnecessary strain on your awning. Keep one corner of your awning slightly lower than the others to allow water to run off and reduce the weight and pressure on the fabric.
NEVER roll up or put away an RV awning while it is wet! A wet awning is a breeding ground for rot, mould, stains and odours. If you simply must roll up your awning in order to travel, be sure to open it up again to fully dry once you have reached your destination.
Keep your awning stable when the wind picks up with an RV awning stabilizer kit and wind clamps or de-flappers. Stabilizer kits usually include tension ropes and stakes to reinforce the strength of the awning’s supports while awning clamps will protect from big gusts while also reducing the annoying “flapping” sound created by the wind.
No one wants their awning suddenly extended when they’re driving down the highway! Keep your awning closed and secure when travelling with an awning lock.
If your RV awning does become damaged or torn, there are a variety of DIY patch and repair kits available. For more complicated fixes, it is always best to turn to an experienced, trained technician.
RV Part Shop has everything you need for your RV awnings, from cleaning and repair to accessories and replacements. With fast, FREE shipping and no-hassle 30-day returns, we will make sure that you are back on the road and protected!