By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Left on their own, small vinyl RV awning tears can get bigger. Fixing a small tear in an area, barring a person’s physical limitations, is easy. You may already have what you need for a fix. It’s called “RV GOOP” and is made by the same outfit that developed “GOOP” for shoe repairs.
Pick a day for the job when weather (both rain and winds) will allow you to keep the awning unfurled for several hours. Rolling up an awning with uncured vinyl cement in place is a surefire way to ruin your whole day next time you need to deploy it.
Using a soft cloth (a cotton sock works great) and a bit of soapy water, clean an area an inch or so around the tear. Rinse away all soap and allow the area to dry. Using fine sand paper, GENTLY buff the tear and a small area around it to rough up the surface of the awning for better adhesion. Simply rough up, DON’T tear down deeply.
Apply a layer of GOOP and smooth it out over the tear and out from it an inch or so. A popsicle stick is a good tool, as you don’t want to get this stuff on your fingers if you can help it. Repeat the process so that both the top and bottom side of the awning has a layer of GOOP on it.
If you’re working with a larger tear that doesn’t stay fairly well closed on its own, you’ll want to “patch” it. Hit up the local upholstery shop for a scrap of vinyl material to match the color of the awning (it may take two colors to match both inside and out). Follow the same steps in preparing the repair site as above.
Cut the patch to extend an inch in all directions from the tear. Apply GOOP to both the awning and the back side of the patch but don’t apply the patch for two to five minutes; this time allows the GOOP to begin to air cure and will allow for better adhesion. Firmly apply the patch to the awning.
In all cases, allow plenty of time for the GOOP to cure before rolling the awning into travel mode. GOOP recommends a 24-hour set-time, but higher temperatures may help with cure time.