RV awnings are a nice luxury to have for the summer months, when a little shade could mean the difference between cool comfort and sweltering misery. Unfortunately, those same summer months are subject to monsoons, thunderstorms and other unpredictable weather patterns that threaten awnings which may be useful — but are also know to be somewhat delicate.
If you ever find yourself wondering how to repair an RV awning, this guide will help you understand, in simple terms, how you can get your RV and awning back into working order.
It’s important to address any issues with your awning immediately and to check one’s awning at the beginning of each season for any tears or holes. It’s far more convenient to discover awning damage during a pre-trip check, rather than when you’re out in the elements when water begins leaking through the imperfect fabric. Obviously, these holes or tears will allow water and debris to leak through. Not only that, but a good gust of wind could easily increase the size of a tear or hole, making it more difficult, if not impossible, to complete your necessary RV awning repair.
First, assess the tear to see if you can repair it yourself. If it’s under three feet in length, one can simply repair it using a long piece of clear awning tape.
RV awning repair tape is easily available at hardware stores, in RV supplies retailers and through Camping World and Amazon. Prices vary, but on average, the tape will be more than $5 and less than $20. Note that most tapes are 15 feet long, but some are wider than others, so you may want to buy thicker tape for a higher price if you hope to cover a hole with the tape, or even to cover multiple nearby tear with one strip of tape. If this tape isn’t strong enough, you might consider using the more powerful, but considerably more expensive ($55 on Amazon) Eternabond tape. This will hold a tear together more effectively, but it isn’t transparent, so you won’t want to use it for larger tears.
Most of these RV awning repair parts will also be contained in a tent repair kit ($5 – $20, available at most camping or outdoor stores). In a pinch, you can use one of these to repair an RV awning with just as much success.
If, on the other hand, the tear is longer than three-feet in length, you should purchase fabric of a similar color and consistency as that on your RV awning to simply patch the tear. This method works well for both long tears and for holes, as you can use a smaller square of the fabric to cover the hole. For a matching fabric, contact the retailer that originally sold you the RV, or the company who manufactured it. When all else fails, check a fabric store.
Use fabric scissors to cut a square or rectangle of the matching fabric to the appropriate size to fit your hole or tear. To actually use the fabric, you’ll need some sort of heavy duty glue. The ideal type for this purpose is a water-resistant RV-glue, like this Amazing Goop, available for $8 on Amazon.
Once the square is properly applied using this glue, use your fabric scissors again to cut any loose edges or excess material, in order to make the patchwork appear as clean and unnoticeable as possible.
Tips on How to Repair RV Awning
Now that you know the basics, let’s get into a few specifics. To repair or replace an RV awning, the process will generally be very straightforward, but there are few things you should consider to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
Before putting down your tape or fabric or glue, remember to wash the awning, so you don’t trap any dirt that might compromise the integrity of the adhesives. Give yourself some time to do this, as you’ll first want to wipe the surface down with a water-soluble, non-abrasive solution before using a towel to dry it and then letting it stand until completely dry.
This eBay blog offers some helpful insight into applying your tape or glue:
To apply the awning tape, the user should push the tear together while the fabric rests on a flat surface, and then apply a length of tape. The user must push out any trapped air bubbles. If the user positions the tape incorrectly, it is best not to pull up the tape and then reposition it. Rather, leave the tape where it is and then apply another piece. Tape should go on both sides of the fabric at the location of the tear.
Don’t hesitate to use a little extra tape to effectively cover the entirety of the tape, and don’t rush the process for any reason. You don’t want the tape to be sloppily applied and burst open the second another good gust of wind strikes your awning.
To repair RV awning tears, there are also many YouTube videos and other online guides that can help take you through the process using visual means if you’re having any trouble.
RV Awning Replacement
If the fabric is covered with holes ,or even a single tear so long it can’t be held tightly in place using glue, it may simply be time to replace your RV awning. Luckily, although the new awning can be costly (from $200 up to $500), it’s generally pretty easy to install a new one, whether or not you possess any mechanical knowledge.
Make sure you know the size of awning you need before going through with any purchase. An ill-fitted awning might block your windows and doors, or simply be impossible to install. LoveToKnow explains how to figure out the size of awning you need:
The top railing/track is attached to the top railing shell frame of your RV, so this spot marks the top of your measurement.
Measure from the ground all the way to that top railing – this is the height.
To measure width, start at a point beyond the edge of the door where there are no windows or compartments that the awning will block or obstruct. Measure the same distance to the other side of the door where there are no obstructions as well. The total side-to-side distance is your width.
Keep in mind that when you measure width, you should look at the floor line of your RV because that’s where the bottom brackets are going to be attached. There shouldn’t be anything that could complicate the attachment of those bottom brackets.
Once you have an awning that will fit your RV, take your measurements once again to be sure. Attach the awning railing to the roof of your RV using the screws, bolts, washers, etc. that came with your awning and making sure not to strip the screws. Next, unroll the awning and slide the arms into place before adjusting the tension using the knobs on either side of the awning. Finally, put down the legs and mark where they touch the ground for future reference. You can place the bottom brackets that may come with the awning on the legs at this point for added support.
LoveToKnow further lists a few tips on how to make your latest awning last:
- Use an “awning deflapper” to add tension to the awning in the middle, preventing wind damage and tears.
- Secure everything using a few tie-downs and stakes.
- Use silicone spray to keep the metal tension arms, knobs and legs from rusting or locking into place.
- Use vinyl cleaner often to keep it spotless and free of mildew.
- Adjust the height of the awning so one side is slightly lower, allowing water to roll off easily rather than pool in the center and create tears.
Go forth and enjoy your awning!