RV awnings provide you and your family or friends with shade from the sun, wind, and rain while also providing a nice shady spot for you to sit back and relax in, further expanding your space. But what happens when these units are torn or start to look a bit worn out? With our various replacement parts, fabric, and more, you can get it back up quickly and easily.
Now, how long are RV awnings supposed to last?
Generally speaking, you can expect the awning fabric to last between 5 and 15 years, but this number can change based on a few factors. First, what is the awning made of? Some awning materials are more durable than others and can stand up better to weather, moisture, and wear. And while taking proper care of your awning will certainly prolong its life, the material you start with can make an impact. Second, how often do you use the RV awning and how long is it exposed to the elements? Basically put, the longer it’s out in the elements, the shorter its life will be. Finally, when not in use, is your awning out or retracted? By keeping your RV awning retracted, you can keep dirt, moisture, and other elements from getting into it and causing issues. Just make sure that the awning has been cleaned and is completely dry before retracting it, as any debris or moisture that is kept in there can create mold and mildew which would need to be dealt with once the awning is opened up again.
So, how do you know if you need awning replacement fabric?
There are a few signs to look out for that will let you know you need a replacement.
Cracking: if the awning fabric has cracks or rips, it can be patched up temporarily, but this is only going to delay the inevitable. If the material has cracks or tears, then it will likely get more sooner rather than later, which will only cause you more problems. Instead of waiting for this to happen, you can get a replacement fabric that will give your awning a face lift and prevent further damage.
Splitting seams: The seams on your awning fabric hold it together and hold it to the awning arms and bars. If these seams start to split, then it’ll mean trouble for your awning. If there is a splitting seam and water pools close by, the seam could tear further, creating an even bigger problem that could then repeat the next time it rains. So, if you’ve noticed a tear, it’s best to replace the fabric and keep yourself from experiencing any of that trouble.
Mildew build up: Mold and mildew won’t cause the awning to stop working, but the smell that comes with mold and mildew is very hard to completely remove. The mold and mildew can also cause health issues for you and your friends or family and can spread to other areas of the RV.
The awning has stretched over time: When water pools on your awning, it can cause the fabric to stretch out in that area. When the awning is stretched out, it makes it easier for the water to pool there again, which creates further stretching. While this can be fixed temporarily, the damage is already done and it is best to replace the fabric and prevent water from pooling there in the future.
Your awning fabric is out of date: If your awning looks like it was created the year your parents were born, chances are it needs to be replaced, even if only because it looks a bit outdated. Change can be a good thing and changing out your old awning for a newer model keeps it in good shape and gives your RV an update.
How to Choose an Awning Replacement Fabric
So, you’ve decided to get new awning fabric. But what kind should you get? For awning fabric, there are two kinds of fabric available, acrylic and vinyl, each with their own pros and cons. Acrylic fabric is breathable and woven so that it allows the air beneath the awning to remain cooler. It dries quickly and repels water, all while retaining its color for a long time. On the other hand, it can be difficult to clean and is often not waterproof. Vinyl fabric is waterproof, easy to clean, and simple to repair when necessary. Vinyl is also often the cheaper option. On the other hand, it isn’t as breathable as acrylic and the area under the awning will be a little warmer.
Once you know what kind of material to go for, you need to know what size to get. While the width of most replacement awning fabrics fit for almost all OEM awnings, both manual and electric, the length can vary. To find this size, measure from arm to arm, not the length of the fabric itself. This is because awning fabric is measured in this way as well and will be about 10 inches less than this size so that it fits in your awning area correctly.
Do You Need an RV Slide Out Topper?
Well, first off, what is a slide topper? A slide topper doesn’t provide shade like a normal RV awning would. It also doesn’t extend when the slide out isn’t extended. Instead, its job is to keep out any water, dirt, or other elements that could get into the slide from above. By covering the top of the slide out, it keeps things out. This in turn keeps the RV slide out working better for longer and keeps you from having to go up there and clean it off before setting down camp. They also protect the slide out from UV rays and twigs, which can get stuck in the moving parts of the slide and cause a lot of trouble. This then extends the life of the slide out. Now, you may not ever have to face these issues if you camp in areas that don’t have these elements in it or if you don’t camp very often. But if you’re like most campers, you’ll be under a tree at some point, and those branches and leaves can cause a bunch of stress if they get caught up in there.