After almost a week of overcast skies, the sun finally appeared. I was excited to finally unfurl our RV awning! Out, out, out it went. And then … you guessed it! An awning tear. Sunlight glinted through the small rip, confirming my distress. A tear. Now what?
Find the right awning tear fix
I knew that the small tear had the potential to become a bigger rip and also a bigger problem. So, I got right to work. Well, by that I mean I talked to other campers in our park and asked what they recommended or had successfully used. Then I researched online and ordered this awning repair tape. Why this one? Well, our awning is multi-colored. This tape is transparent and waterproof. It is weather and UV-resistant, as well as non-yellowing. It also had thousands of helpful reviews, so I was convinced.
The tape arrived quickly, and Hubby and I set to work. First, we cleaned the awning in place. For instructions on how to do this, check out my previous article here.
Remove the awning
Once the awning was clean and dry, we began removing it from the RV. This was easier than I thought. Still, it took both Hubby, our adult son, and me to lift and safely detach the awning from the RV. You really need at least two people to safely do this—one on each end of the awning. It’s heavy, but we managed. While most awnings are similar in design, it’s best to check with your owner’s manual, RV repair shop, or awning manufacturer’s recommendations for removal.
Apply the tape
We were fortunate to have parked the RV beside a paved concrete pad, so we used it as our “work table.” We placed our awning on the concrete and closely examined it for any additional holes or rips. Then we addressed the rip. After carefully bringing the ripped edges together, we applied the tape—first to the top side of the awning, and then on the underside, pressing to remove any air bubbles and to secure the tape. We reattached the awning to our RV and looked to make sure the tape was securely adhering as we retracted and extended the awning several times. So far, so good.
Preventing RV awning tears and rips
They say, “An ounce of prevention….” So here are suggestions for keeping your RV’s awning in good repair:
- Extend the awning only when you need it. We keep our awning rolled up unless it’s hot and sunny. We’re hoping this will extend the awning’s life by protecting it from harmful UV rays that can weaken the fabric.
- Keep it clean. We try to wash our awning at least twice a year and watch for signs of mold or mildew in between washings.
- Retract the awning in windy conditions. Wind will put excess pressure on extended awning fabric that is already stretched (stressed). We’ve seen even small wind gusts rip an awning apart. It’s just not worth it. If we plan to be away from our rig for an extended period of time we’ll retract the awning as a precaution.
- Lower one awning end in the event of rain. This prevents accumulating rain from pooling on the awning and stretching the fabric. Some newer rigs have an awning feature that will automatically lower one end of the awning when it rains. Nice, huh?
- Don’t retract a wet awning. I know that sometimes it just can’t be helped. But for most situations, it’s best to wait until the awning is completely dry before you roll it up. Why? A wet awning can mold or mildew, which may shorten the life of the fabric. Working with a wet awning may cause the fabric to stretch and weaken, so avoid that, as well.
- Secure the awning when traveling. This seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve all seen the “oops” videos of rigs rolling down the road with their extended awning still attached—at least for a while, until it flies off altogether.
- Watch where you park. Falling sticks, tree nuts, and even animals can poke holes in your RV’s awning. Parking away from trees can help protect and extend your awning’s life.
- Consider awning stabilizers. We don’t have these, but have been looking into getting some. Friends say they love their tie-downs because they really help support the awning. I am concerned that a stabilizer could exert more pressure to the awning’s metal supports. I want to hold off getting any tie-downs until I know more.
- Periodically check the awning. As you might imagine, fixing a small hole or tear is much easier than a larger rip. And fixing that small tear may very well prevent a larger and more costly rip from happening.
No awning will last forever, no matter how well you care for it. Hopefully with a few precautions and maintenance tips yours will enjoy a long life.
Have you ever repaired an RV awning? Join the discussion over in my forum.