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This page I wrote for my old rv website RVforSaleGuide.com before discovering the Vanabode as the best travel vehicle for long term fun. People still like big rv's despite the much greater cost and trouble to operate, so here's what I know about them.
RV Awning Repair, Replacement, and Parts
My RV Awning Guide provides more information on the overall ownership and care of an awning. Repairing one doesn't have to be messy quick fix using cheap tape. RV awning repair usually means a tear or a hole in the fabric of your rv awning. Awnings protect you and your rig from the rain, wind, sun, and heat. Proper maintenance is a must and taking care of a rip or tear immediately is imperative for the longevity and pleasure you get from your awning.
An rv awning is one of the most utilized accessories on an RV. Not only does it extend your living space it also provides shade on the outside and inside which is especially helpful during the summer months. You can purchase rv awning fabric tape for a temporary fix to your awnings small tear or hole so that the tear does not get any larger or the hole get any bigger.
Clean the rv awning gently but thoroughly to prep the area for the tape adhesion. The tape is a quick fix until you can have your awning replaced. While you are either cleaning your awning or fixing a hole or tear it is a good idea to check the entire surface of all of your door and window awnings for any weak spots and thread bear areas. Just go ahead and tape those spots too for extra security while your new rv awning is on order.
Here are some maintenance tips to keep your awning beautiful and functional. When it's time to set up your awning it is good advice to keep one side a little bit lower to allow for water runoff. The weight due to water pooling can cause damage to the fabric. If you are going to be away from your RV for most of the day it is wise to go ahead and close it up. This way if there are any wind gusts while you are away your rv awning won't be torn and mangled and possibly hanging off your coach. Awning tie downs are another good precaution when camping. They can prevent damage from a sudden storm or wind gusts as well. If the mechanics on your rv awning give you the option of positioning the awning arms straight down on the ground or keeping them attached to the bottom bracket, keep them attached to the RV. You will get better support keeping them attached.
Understandably the weather does not always cooperate when you are camping. But to avoid mildew and other stains to your rv awning, don't roll your awning up when it is wet. But if you have to then at the first chance you get unroll the awning to let it dry completely. Typically, awning fabrics last about 10 to 14 years but bad weather conditions such as high winds and storms as well as human error could prove disastrous. If your awning fabric repairs are more serious than a tear or small hole then one very important tip is to never attempt to remove the spring loaded end caps as you could sustain serious injury.
RV awning repair tape is a good item to keep in your rv toolbox. All awnings require a little maintenance every now and then to ensure proper functioning and for the fabric to stay looking like new. Lubricate the awning hardware parts using a silicone based product. This will keep dirt and dust from adhering and damaging the hardware components. When you clean your fabric use a mild soap and rinse it with water thoroughly. This should be done to both the top and underneath of your awnings to remove smoke too. Tape can also be used for your canvas chairs, tents, and rain gear - rv awning repair.
RV Awning Replacement
If you find yourself needing to replace your camper awning fabric here are a few things to consider. The color of the awning might seem a bit vain but when the awning is completely set up you want it to compliment your rv, coach or camper. You don't want a teal and pink awning just because it was discounted, do you? You want your new rv awning replacement to be an all weather type also. The highest quality awnings are waterproof, breathable which will keep the heat in the awning away from you, have UV protection, and are mildew resistant which means that they are easier to clean. A strong tensile strength that has the highest tear resistance is a plus because you never know when the weather is going to turn bad. Most awning fabrics are either vinyl or acrylic. And to finish off, the seams along the edge should either be bonded and have no puckering of material or frays.
There are two ways that rv awning replacement fabric is sold, either universal lengths or custom lengths. Custom lengths are a special order and are between 8 feet and 25 feet. Universal lengths start at 14 feet and increase in one-inch increments reaching 21 feet. There are three primary measurements to take before ordering your new awning. You will need to measure the length of the support bars, the length of the horizontal support bar to the outside edge and the get the distance between the diagonal support bars. If you are going to do the work of replacing your awning yourself make sure you have plenty of space, as you will need to completely set up the rv awning before getting started.
Pop up camper awnings are typically less sturdy than, say, an awning on a 40-foot coach. Which means that if you are looking at purchasing a used popup camper and it needs a new awning don't be discouraged. If the awning hardware on the camper is not broken or missing pieces, is sturdy and strong then replacement is of minimal concern. With any camper this project might seem daunting when you need to replace your awning but with the proper steps taken you will find your inner handyman revealed with your rv awning replacement.
Camper Awning Fabric
When purchasing your rv awning fabric the sewing of the material is very important. Ultimately you want seamless edges that are bonded together with no sagging. This will keep your awnings looking good for years. Cheap conventionally sewn fabrics are susceptible to puckering edges as well as stretching and over time with heat, cold, wind and rain your fabric will fade, tear, a become thread bare. If you are purchasing an awning to add on to your new or used RV then the better quality fabrics will give you more life from your rv awning. Awnings are the most utilized rv accessory you will purchase. Awnings reduce the sun’s heat from entering through walls and windows.
Vinyl awnings mildew especially if you are in a wet and humid climate. Never wrap and store your rv awning fabric when it is wet. It has to completely dry on both sides before storing. Some awning hardware have a weather guard protecting the fabric. Each time you open your awning you should inspect it for stains and mildew. Wash and rinse thoroughly any stains with a mild soap and a soft brush. When the awning is completely opened check the awning brackets as well for any loose lag screws as well as the arm pivot holes for any enlarged holes or broken rivets in the handles. Is the roller tube warped?
Quality acrylic fabric will last more than 10 years and make your rv more enjoyable. RV awning fabric is usually made from vinyl or acrylic. Not only do rv awnings protect you from the suns damaging rays if you purchase a high quality fabric treated with UV protection. This UV protection is applied to the acrylic strands before weaving. A good quality awning should also be water repellent so that you and your pets don't get wet while it is raining. Breathability is another important factor in rv awning fabric. This allows hot air to pass through the acrylic fabric which gives you a cooler environment. Some fabrics trap hot air making you feel like you're sitting under a heat lamp.
Recreational Vehicle Awning Parts
You've got the knobs, locking pins, handles, rods and pull straps, tie downs, tension assembly and rafters, brackets and fabric. Of course if you just need to replace the rv awning fabric you can go from cheap to expensive depending on the quality you want to pay for. For a temporary fix you can purchase a special tape to seal the rip in the awning fabric until your new piece of acrylic fabric is delivered.
The load bearing pieces of an awning are the bottom brackets attached to your rv with lag screws for secure mounting. Do you see any enlarged arm pivot holes or broken rivets in the handles? Make sure the awning rail is securely mounted to the side of the RV. Look up at the roller tube, is it warped? This will be noticeable when you roll out the awning. What about the awning end caps? Are they securely mounted without any broken rivets? Opening an end cap is very dangerous due to the spring action inside, so don't attempt this. Awning brackets attach to the rv and if this is faulty then your awning is probably falling off the side of your rv or very soon will be as you are driving down the interstate. Aluminum brackets are a little more expensive but worth it for the strength and aesthetics it brings to your rv.
If your awning is manually operated then you need something to pull the awning out and down with which would be a strap and a pull pole. Locking mechanisms have a lot of moving parts like gears and springs and if this is faulty then you need to find parts that match your model. If the locking mechanism is faulty then what is likely to happen is while driving down the interstate the roller tube will begin to freewheel. The wind will cause the awning to unravel and blow around ferociously. This is a traumatic situation and you will have damage to your awning and especially your rv. A cinch strap secures both arms of the awning securely to help prevent the arms coming loose while traveling down the road.
When setting up your awning it is good advice to keep one side a little lower to allow for water runoff. The weight on the fabric from water pooling can cause damage as can wind gusts over 20 miles per hour. When camping use awning tie downs to prevent damage from a sudden storm or wind gusts. If you have the option of positioning the awning arms straight down on the ground or keeping them attached to the bottom bracket, keep them attached to the RV. You will get better support keeping them attached but mind your head.
If you find a glitch in your rv awning mechanics it is best to get it fixed right away. Otherwise, one broken part can lead to another and next thing you know the entire awning is useless. Remember, it is easier to prevent damage than it is to repair it. For a smoothly operating awning (we don't use one becuase we use a Vanabode) keep up with your rv awning parts.
RV awning lights add decoration and invite conversation from campground neighbors. RV awning lights add a festive decoration to your rv and they can also act as an ice breaker for getting to know your neighbors. You can buy lighting from cheap, tacky, plastic novelty-type lanterns up to solar lights to clean low profile strip lighting. A couple of concerns would be if the lighting is bright enough or dim enough for you, are the lanterns safe from fire and/or wind, and if they can be stolen. You might think, who would want to steal rv awning lights right off of my rv? But it happens.
When the sun goes down there is no need to lock yourself or your family inside watching TV. The use of rv awning lights helps keep the enjoyment with your family and friends outside on your porch for hours. RV awning lights hang from the pull strap slot of your awning rail. When you have your awning completely set up and ready to enjoy you can start hanging the lights.
Some lanterns and globes require using clips that slide into the awning rail and then you hang the lights on the clips. The low profile light strips get directly inserted into the awning rail without the need for clips. The plastic novelty type lights are usually made with a thick plastic which doesn't allow much light to shine through. Some people are concerned about lanterns being a fire hazard. However, the bulb wattage in these lights are so low that that is not a concern. But it is always recommended to read the box and make sure your awning lights are UL approved for outdoor use. The cords on the cheaper awning light sets are thin too and get twisted around easily. If you don't buy enough clips then you will have a problem with the electrical cord hanging and always being in your way.
The low profile rv awning lights do not get in your way and there is no issue of lanterns or globes breaking or falling in high winds.
RV Awning Porch Mats and Carpets
RV awning mats add more functionality to your outdoor rv living space. RV awning carpet not only adds a homey feel to your traveling experiences but completes your outdoor living space for all sorts of uses. RV awning mats really turn your campground space into your personal porch. The mats are very similar to a rug but they are usually made with heavy duty plastic material that is weather proof.
With a good quality heavy duty rv awning mat you should have no problems with it curling up or blowing around due to the reinforced corner tie downs. This prevents anyone from tripping when walking onto or across the mat. Awning mats are a great blanket alternative to take with you when going to the beach, park or sporting event. Some mats are even treated with a ultraviolet stabilizer to slow damage from sun exposure. To get the most years from your rv awning mat inspect it's edges. They should be trimmed using a heat gun and heavy duty stitching.
There are quite a few types and styles of rv awning mats. Not only are they great for rv camping but you can use them either outside your home or inside a spare room. There are several sizes ranging from a small 6 feet by 9 feet all the way up to an 8 feet by 20 feet. RV mats come in designer rv decal patterns, reversible, outdoor themes, racing checks and you can even get one that matches your rv awning colors. It seems like there is no end to the color coordinating or sportsman fetish themes.
One of the conveniences of using an rv awning mat is that you can walk out of your rv and onto your rv porch barefoot without tracking dirt or mud back into your coach. Some mats come in a bag so that after you fold and roll them up they are neatly contained. This way you can store it away without damaging it. If you plan to keep your mat rolled out for a long period of time over grass then you might want to consider buying a mat that is breathable so it won't kill the grass.
Cleaning rv awning mats is easy. Brush or sponge mop your mat with just a little bit of dish soap and a couple of gallons of warm water over the entire surface. Afterwards, just use a garden hose to rinse it thoroughly. A good quality woven mat will drain and dry quickly. There is no question that your rv awning adds living space to your camping trips. Why not make that space more comfortable and useable with an rv awning mat.