Pros for slide toppers
- They protect slide out wiper gaskets and seals from sun damage.
- Protect the top of the slide out when twigs, leaves, nuts, seeds, etc., fall on the RV.
- Protect the slide out from snow and ice.
- Adds protection from rain, shielding the seams, joints and moldings.
- Saves time when leaving the campground (don’t have to climb onto the roof to clear slide top of debris).
- Keeps RV cooler by shading the slide out from sun (think of this like an umbrella, by adding shade).
- Flies and other insects won’t get inside the RV as easily, because it helps block the upper wiper seal.
- Eliminates debris from getting into slide top gaskets, binding up the slide when retracted/extended.
- Extends the life of the slide out roof, seams and moldings.
- Provides a more “finished look” to the RV and increases its value.
What you need to know about slide out toppers
Let’s take look at what RVers say about slide toppers
- As with many things RV-related, there are as many opinions as there are RVers. Here are some cons we’ve heard:
Cons for slide toppers
- The shade flaps in the wind and makes a lot of noise inside (depending on weather conditions).
- A strong wind can pull the awning off—just another unnecessary cost. (Wind damage is covered under insurance for all awnings and toppers.)
- Snow can stretch the awning fabric and it won’t look or retract as well. (However, it protects the slide out.)
- A cordless leaf blower or a broom will clear the slider top for much less money and potential hassle.
- The installation introduces more holes that have the potential to leak. (Not an issue if sealed correctly.)
- Not all RVs are constructed with the necessary structure to support them. (This is not the case unless there is something in the way or not enough room above slide out roof.)
What do the “professionals” say?
- We strongly endorse the functionality, durability, and looks of the slide covers.
Time lapse video of a slide out topper being installed
More from Dustin
Dustin owns and operates California RV Specialists, an independent RV repair shop located in Lodi, CA. He thrives on sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm of RV repair and maintenance with his team, customers, and virtual friends. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel where he shares what’s going on in the shop and the product offerings in the store. Dustin is also very active on Facebook. Join his group, RV Repairs and Tips – What’s in the shop!
Dustin proudly operates the business alongside his wife, Ashley; but the true pair that run the show are their Boston Terriers, Arvie and Hitch.
It seems to me that the awning material would create a perfect habitat for spiders to string up a nest in the corners. And maybe some other creepy crawleys might like to meander under there as well. I think it would be impossible to see who you have living there with an awning. Maybe some could survive the journey when you bring the slide in? Anyway, I like to sweep the top off while I am still able. A year or two from now, an awning might look like a good thing. Right now an awning seems more problem in a heavy rain, or high wind than it is worth. I’m with the nay sayers…for now.
Slide outs are great. The only down side is you have to remove it to reseal the top slide out seals. As of this note, mine are in need of sealing as water that is penetrating the inside surface is now getting into the top seals.
I wouldn’t buy a rig without them.
I have a purpose-built mop/broom used to sweep the slideout tops while standing on the ground. If warranted the wife and I can verify the results or the need to sweep using Duo on our cell phones. Works well. Plus I am able maintain the full length of the top seals, something I suspect is more difficult with an awning in the way. I’m sure toppers are a labor-saving device, but open at both ends, it’s possible that some debris will find its way in but not out.
Both our RVs had them. Very glad about that. Thank you, Dustin!
On my last trip to Germany, I noticed the typical slide room topper was a rigid panel rather than a roll-out awning. The rigid design overlaps the outer wall when the slide is retracted and forms the typical angled ‘roof’ when the slide is extended. To my ignorant eyes it looks like a much better and simpler design.
Has anyone marketed such a design here in North America? And if so, what might be the pros & cons between rigid vs awning style? For sure, adding awning style slide toppers is an expensive proposition.