Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Awning tear? Don’t despair—fix it yourself!

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.

##RVDT1787

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Lori
8 months ago

Stabilisers are great IF they’re used properly, like guy-lines on a tent. just enough tension on them that they don’t pull things out of shape with normal use, but are tight enough that they support the structure under stress. 🙂

Edd M Langdon
8 months ago

We were driving on a highway in Pennsylvania through a major construction area with K-blocks on both sides of a 3 lane area. We were in the left lane when we felt a bump and started to fishtail. Long story short a Penske rental truck had side swiped my trailer. The awning took the most damage and the canvas was scraped thin with holes in a few areas. Because it was rolled in the damage was near the camper. I taped the holes from underneath and then used flex seal to paint the awning at the role from end to end. It has been almost three years and about 25000 miles and it is still holding. (Caution you probably shouldn’t do this where the canvas rolls on itself)

Gail
8 months ago
Reply to  Edd M Langdon

So happy you were able to fix it! What a scary road experience!

Drew
8 months ago

I taped up a very small tear on the outer edge with Gorilla clear tape a year ago- it’s still fine.

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago

We watched our awning being replaced, and the hassle that is actually removing and replacing it tells me I will NEVER remove and replace an awning – EVER! Just sayin’.

Scott
8 months ago

I saw a clever fix to keep the awning dry when it is rolled up up either at camp or when at home between trips. A vinyl house gutter with the thinner edge placed in your rain trough that is attached to the edge of the camper and the larger open edge is extended over the rolled up portion of the awning. It does not completely cover the entire rolled up section but the open edge does extend down past where rain would run off. 12 Foot sections of this gutter type are available at Lowes/ Home Depot with a junction to add additional length cut with a hack saw to cover your awning. Be sure to account for addition length to cover the roller mechanism AND do not leave it in place when you drive…it might fly off, not that I may have done this once.

Tom
8 months ago

I always hear “Don’t put the awning away wet!”. How often have you unrolled the awning, either to clean it or to use it, and found that it is already soaking wet? There is no end protection on most awnings to keep water out of the roll when driving in the rain. Even parked in it’s regular spot, behind the house, it has been wet when I have unrolled it.

The good news is that there has never been any mold or mildew on it when I have unrolled it. I’m not sure how to prevent water moisture from entering from the end of the awning, then sitting there until I unroll it at some later point in time.

Jeff M
8 months ago

My awning has a motor to extend. I think I would retract the awning to the point where the tear was on the roller, then use that at the “work table.” I haven’t actually had to try this and it would depend on the size of the tear. But might be much easier than disassembling the awning.

Snayte
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff M

This is what I did. I actually just applied a strip of eternabond since the area I needed to fix was in the all white section.

Lori
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff M

Yeah, disassembling the thing seems a bit excessive if you don’t have to.

Ran
8 months ago

I’ve tried that tape twice on my slight tear, and it is exposed to sunlight when rolled in. However, it does not stand up to the sun very long. About a week later it started peeling back, even after numerous attempts to clean it first. Finally got a replacement topper that is marine grade and is much better quality. Gotta be careful parking on street next to a light pole, especially when there is s light slope!

Don
8 months ago

Interesting, but there is no “tape” that’s going to provide a really lasting repair. When our entry awning ripped a couple of years ago, I repaired it with heavy duty waxed button thread, sewing the rip closed with a baseball stitch. No tape to deteriorate or lose it’s grip, and it’s at least as strong as the original fabric.

Dan
8 months ago

Good tip on lowering the awning on one end if it’s gonna rain. Can’t forget to roll it back up before you move it.

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