RV Awning Repair

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To see a big fat hole or a tear in the camper’s awning is disheartening. Don’t agree? Let me explain.

You’re having a wonderful day as you are driving your RV in a pleasant view of natural scenery. The sun has bright and radiant rays, and the birdies are chirping melodiously. 

After a while, you feel like stretching your legs, so you pull your awning out. That’s when you notice a tear. A big turn off, right?

Oh no! It is the first thing that comes to mind. But what can you do when you face such a situation?

RV Awning Repair Solution

The cost of replacing the awning and repairing might worry you, and it may look a bit unpleasant. The questions running in your head are inevitable. 

You may be thinking, do I have to purchase a new RV awning? or Is there a chance to fix the tear or a hole from becoming worse? 

Well, here’s good news! You don’t have to remove the whole RV awning; all you need is some effort and a few supplies to fix it. 

Before jumping to the solution, you might want to know how tears and holes develop in an awning.

What Causes Tears and Holes in an Awning?

Before getting your supplies, let me answer a big question: why and how does an awning rip?

Here are the real culprits behind the torn awning:

  • Poor craftsmanship of your camper’s awning 
  • Inexpensive RV 
  • Excessive loose threads and stings
  • Old or worn out awning
  • Regular sunlight exposure causing fabric thinning overtime 
  • Stick, stones, rocks, and various other sharp debris
  • Snowstorms, thunderstorms, hailstorms, winds, and other severe weather conditions

Interesting Fact

As per the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), several awnings are constructed from acrylic or vinyl. Vinyl awnings gather dirt and dust, but not mildew. 

In contrast, an acrylic awning can handle water because it is weaved in such a way, and it dries fast. However, it is exposed to more mildew.   

What Do You Need?

As compared to other DIY repairs, mending a camper’s awning is an easy project as it does not require much expertise. 

Don’t rush to repair the RV awning. Take a deep breath and think how you can solve this issue. Don’t know? I’ll help.

You’re going to need supplies. But before that, have that RV’s owner manual with you.  

It will tell you the materials for constructing the awning. Now, you can select an appropriate replacement material. 

And these are the must-haves:

  • An awning material for replacement
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Water-resistant glue for RVs
  • A fabric scissor
  • A repair tape
  • Sewing supplies
  • Cleaning solution (water-based) or an awning cleaner
  • Wood or a plastic flat board

Now, we’ll move on to the main thing.

How To Repair RV Awning?

Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to repair your camper’s awning successfully. 

Step 1: Evaluate the Damage

Assess the tear or a hole in your camper. There are different kinds of damage.

  • Small tears: If you see the tear measuring about 3 ft or less, it’s visible and uncomplicated. Patch it quickly to prevent it from going bigger.
  • Small holes: They are sometimes so tiny that you cannot even see them. Raindrops falling on your head will signal you that something is wrong with your awning. With continued usage, these holes can grow eventually and can create more problems. 
  • Large tears: Ignoring a tiny tear on a stormy or a windy day can cause your camper’s awning to rip more. This results in large tears, more than 3 ft. Such tears are sometimes difficult to repair. 
  • Large holes: These holes are often caused when something moves across the awning. The sunlight and rain can pass through the holes easily. 

Once you know the damage, you can fix it quickly. The repair method of small tears and holes is straightforward. However, large rips will need more supplies and time. 

Step 2: Disassemble Your RV’s Awning

You can’t fix your awning while it is bound to your RV. Even if you think you can, don’t take a risk; otherwise things can go worse. So first, detach the awning from your camper. 

Detach it

Have you removed it before? If not, don’t stress out. It is easy. 

Installing an awning might differ as it depends on the company. Several campers possess metal arms on both sides, and the purpose of these arms is to secure the awning to the RV through travel locks.

  • Release the two locks 
  • Veer the cam locks 

it will detach your awning. It’s time to patch things up! 

Remove the pins

Stretch it out. Once it is extended, the end’s cap will be visible to you. Disjoin the cotter pins from the sides of the caps. Caps are loaded with spring, so don’t think about taking them off.  

Unscrew the bolts

Lastly, search for the tag bolts and unscrew them too. The awning is removed wholly from the RV. If you’re searching for microscopic tears and holes, take your time to observe it.

Step 3: Mend Any Small Tears and Holes

It is excellent news if your awning has small tears and holes. It is in decent shape, and fixing it will be a straightforward task. 

Here are the things you’re going to need in this step:

  • A cleaning solution 
  • Waterproof glue 
  • Repair tape

This is what you will do:

Remove the dirt and debris

First, we will need a cleaning solution. Ensure that it is non-abrasive and water-based. 

With the help of a cleaner, wipe all the dirt, mold, and mildew away. Make sure to wipe the backside too. 

As you are cleaning, go slowly because you don’t want to damage the awning more. Pulling will increase the tear or a hole.

Allow the awning to dry

Let it dry for a few minutes. If it is still wet, use an absorbent towel or a washcloth and gently dab the wet areas. Also, place any flat item underneath your awning to balance.

Repair the torn fabric

Use a repair tape to join the torn fabric. The tape will keep the torn pieces in position. Replicate the same procedure on the opposite side. 

Ensure firmness of the tape

To keep the adhesive tape sticky for a longer time, remove any bubbles and air pockets from the repair tape by hand. 

Step 4: Mend the Bigger Tears and Holes

Catching the damage early will save your awning from more significant issues. If you haven’t patched it up soon enough, you will require different patching materials such as sewing supplies, a screwdriver, and a measuring tape.

Instead of rushing and turning your awning into a horrible patchwork quilt, slow down and find the material that is of exact or somewhat close to your awning’s color.        

To mend more problematic tears and holes, this is what you have to do:

  • With a measuring tape, measure the height and width of a tear or hole. 
  • Add 2-inches more to the numbers you have obtained above.
  • Cut your patching material by using fabric scissors or a knife. 
  • You can stitch or use an adhesive glue (waterproof), like in the 3rd step, to stick your mending material to your awning.
  • If you prefer to use waterproof glue, let it dry.
  • If you stitch your mending material to your camper’s awning, ensure that you find no visible or loose strings. Cut it if you see any.

Step 5: Reinstall Your Renovated Awning

Pat yourself for fixing the torn awning. Your RV’s awning is patched up and would look much better, regardless of the amount of effort it needed. 

Now, it’s time to fix it back on your RV. 

To reinstall the awning back, you will have to perform similar procedures you did in 1st step, but this time in reverse.

Follow the Manual

Make sure that you’ve all the bolts and screws. Find all the tag bolts that were once attached and use them as your guideline to fix the awning. Moreover, if you’ve flipped your awning several times, ensure to check its correct position.

Set it Accurately

When you are attaching your awning, be sure that you fit it correctly to get optimal weather protection and shade. If the awning is not appropriately set, the chances of getting new tears and holes will increase significantly.

Don’t Remove End Caps

While you are attaching your awning, make sure not to take the end caps out. There is no purpose to take them out unless you want to replace the awning.  

Tips to Maintain Your RV Awning

Since it is back into its fantastic shape, how can you prevent future holes and tears? Follow these handy tips:

Handle it Dry

Before handling, always make sure that your awning is thoroughly dry. Stretching or rolling your wet awning will create a strain on your fabric.

In Harsh Conditions

Roll up your awning in severe weathers such as thunderstorms, windstorms, and hurricanes. 

Don’t Make it a Rainwater Pool

Allow the water to drain off from a single side of your awning. If it does not usually happen, adjust the angle in such a way to develop a runoff hill. However, if excessive rainwater pools up on your awning’s top, the fabric can weaken and stretch. 

Keep Checking Your Awning for Repairs

Inspect it for any damage after a couple of months. Remember, small tears and holes are cheaper, faster, and easier to fix than big fat tears and holes.      

Conclusion

An awning is not constructed to last forever. Weather and environmental damage can create holes and tears. If you do not have a habit of checking your awning, the holes and tears can grow. 

The lucky part is either you are dealing with small holes or tears or the big ones you can mend them yourself. Take care of your RV’s awning, and with routine maintenance, a lot of tears and rips can be avoided.