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How to Easily DIY Repair Or Replace an RV Awning

The lifespan of an RV awning is going to differ for everyone. Depending on how well you maintain your awnings, what kind of weather and climate you camp in, and what environmental factors affect your campsite, your awning could last 5-15 years or just months. At some point, however, you will likely need to know how to DIY repair or replace your RV awning.

But don’t worry: we’ve been there, done that, and are here to help!

How Long Does An RV Awning Last?

Two big factors that can lead to an early RV awning replacement are sun and wind. Strong UV rays can have a significant impact on the life of an RV awning. And if you don’t get your awning retracted in time, wind gusts can mess it up fast!

Common Causes of Damage:

  • Ripped seams
  • UV-destroyed stitching
  • Brittle awning fabric
  • Holes or rips from branches
  • Accidental opening as you drive
  • Misaligned roll-up

All of these causes and more can have you facing awning repairs or replacements from 1 week to 5 years after purchase.

Can An RV Awning Be Repaired?

Sometimes, rips and tears may be more destructive, making the awning impossible to repair. Hopefully, you can catch yours before the material or supports are to the point of needing replacement. 

Most likely, if a rip is less than three feet, you can repair the material. So, if that’s the case, start your troubleshooting by judging the size of RV awning repair needed below.

replacement Tough Top awnings
If repairing your RV is not an option, replacement is quick and easy! These are our new Tough Top Awnings.

How Do I Fix My RV Awning?

Make an awning inspection before any camping trip. Start any inspection by washing the awning on both the underside and topside. Usually, a rooftop vantage point helps you clearly assess the damage. Depending on the damage the fabric may need to be removed from the roller.

Small Holes and Tears

Repairing small holes or tears is best accomplished with tape. You can use clear tape in long strips to hold the fabric together. Don’t use just any tape however, later on, we recommend a few types of tape to use. Alternatively, tent patch kits work great for awning fabric as well.

For small holes and tears, tape repairs can sometimes last years, depending on what caused the damage. Over time, awning fabrics or stitching weaken in the sun and will become weak. If this is why a tear formed, it’s more than likely that it will get worse. Sometimes, it’s just a stick that tore a hole, and the awning is still in good shape.

Awning Tear
This awning weakened in the sun and starting to naturally tear. Tape in a few places kept it usable for 2 years after the first tear.

Large Tears and Rips

For larger rips and tears the fabric may need to be removed. A repair will likely need to be accomplished with additional fabric. Find matching fabric to cover the tear, and use heavy-duty glue that is compatible with your fabric. Usually, this is a vinyl cement.

HH-66 Vinyl Cement, 8 oz. can – RH Adhesives
  • Bonds in Tough Conditions – You can apply our American made…
  • Sturdy and Flexible – Our highly regarded HH-66 Vinyl Cement…
  • Repair Multiple Types of Vinyl – Use HH-66 Vinyl Cement for…

Sometimes, if the stitching thread is not UV-resistant enough, it can fail first. This happened on one of our motorhome awnings, and we were able to have it restitched. You need to replace it with a UV-resistant and durable thread.

tom replacing repaired rv awning fabric

But if the damage is too significant to repair thoroughly, you might have to replace the entire awning fabric piece. 

Each type of awning fabric replacement will be different depending on the manufacturer. Doing an online search will yield how-to videos you can follow to DIY awning fabric replacement.

​If you’re looking for new awning fabric, we highly recommend Tough Top Awnings. We replaced our 5th wheel slide toppers and awning and LOVE the new fabric! They even offer a discount for Mortons readers!

Tough Top Awnings Coupon Code: “MORTONS

Awning Arm Repairs

Most damage to awning arms requires complete replacement, as they’re usually made of aluminum and don’t ‘bend’ well. Attempting to straighten aluminum usually results in a crack. Replacement complexity will depend on the type of awning your RV has. Given that there are so many different types of awnings we cannot cover each here, but again a google and youtube search usually will yield good DIY results.

Pro Tip: Consider These Cool Girard RV Awnings That Have No Support Arms for your RV.

What Is the Best RV Awning Repair Tape?

If your repair is only a small hole there are a few dedicated awning repair tapes that work pretty well. We recommend Better Boat marine tape but a few common RV brands offer options as well.

Sale
Repair Tape Fabric Repair Boat Covers Canvas Pop…
  • REPAIRS TEARS & RIPS IN AWNINGS, CANVAS, TENTS & MORE: Our clear…
  • WATERPROOF & WEATHER RESISTANT: Our fabric repair tape works as a…
  • ULTRA-DURABLE & FLEXIBLE YET TEAR RESISTANT: Our clear fabric…

For larger repairs, a larger stronger tape is recommended. We highly recommend gorilla tape weatherproof clear 4-inch wide tape. This stuff is super sticky and strong and holds up to all weather conditions and water. Its more expensive per foot but its worth it.

Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Tape, 4″ x 8′,…
  • PERMANENT: Creates a permanent bond that instantly seals out air,…
  • INDOOR / OUTDOOR USE: Gorilla waterproof patch and seal tape…
  • EXTRA THICK: Has an extra thick adhesive layer and UV resistant…

What Types of RV Awning Fabrics Are There?

There are lots of different styles of awnings but most awnings are constructed of one or two types of material, making it pretty easy to find replacement materials if needed.

Vinyl

The biggest benefit to having a vinyl awning is that it’s entirely waterproof. Rain will run right off it, but let the awning dry thoroughly before rolling it up, as trapped moisture is the perfect environment for mold. The cost of vinyl replacement can run from $150 to over $1,000 depending upon the size and thickness of the material.

rv awning destroyed torn
This awning topper might be prolonged by trimming the torn edges and taping them, but most likely, the sun damage is too much, and it will need replacing.

Acrylic Fabric

Acrylic fabric is a less commonly used material for RV awnings, as it’s breathable and comes in many colors and patterns. Soaking rain can drip through the material, and it rips easier than vinyl, but many RVers like its durability. Its replacement cost is comparable to vinyl, with prices ranging from $200 to $1,200. 

Woven Acrylic awning fabric

Pro Tip: Want to install an awning onto your truck camper? We uncovered Truck Camper Awnings: An Imperfect Encyclopedia of Your Options.

What Is the Best RV Awning Fabric?

We recommend Tough Top Awnings as our top choice for fabric replacement. In researching the company and fabric more, we were assured that Tough Top only uses high-quality vinyls that are waterproof, UV-resistant, mildew-resistant, and designed for high wind and rain. This sounded great for the variety of camping conditions we find ourselves in.

Plus, their products come with a 5-year warranty, should last 10 to 15 years, and are made in Brush Prairie, Washington, USA. Tough Top Awnings also provides estimates right on their site after you fill in some measurements and specifications, plus any accessories you need for your installation.

While we recommend Tough Top Awnings for your vinyl needs, we like Shade Pro for acrylic. This company has also established a fantastic track record of excellent quality products and customer service. 

new rv awning replacement fabric

How Much Does It Cost To Replace RV Awning?

Prices are going to vary according to the quality, material type, and size of your awning. This is the same for your slide toppers. Vinyl and acrylic fabrics cost about the same per square yard, varying from $150 to $400 for slide awnings and $450 to $1,200 for full awnings, depending on size and thickness. 

You’ll find vinyl is a common material for slide awnings, while acrylic fabric seems to be the more popular choice for front awnings. 

We recommend Tough Top Awnings for your vinyl needs and Shade Pro for acrylic. Both companies have established a fantastic track record of excellent quality products and customer service. 

RV Awning Replacement Fabric Discount Code

Get 5% off your RV Awning or slide topper order!

Use code “MORTONS
at checkout or over the phone.
Visit ToughTopAwnings.com to view products and pricing

rv awning replacement

Can You Do An RV Awning Replacement By Yourself?

Yes, you can!

You’ll need two people and two ladders for the finishing touch when reattaching your awning. But beforehand, slide the awning material back into the notch on the roller, then roll it up (include the aluminum cover if there is one). 

Next, place a ladder on either side of the roller attachment on your RV. Using two people, shoulder the rolled-up awning and climb the ladders in a synchronized fashion until both parties can attach their awning ends back onto the recreational vehicle. Once firmly installed, test it by unrolling and rolling the material to ensure everything is in place.

How to Replace RV Awning Fabric – Step-By-Step Video

In the video below, we walk through the step-by-step process of measuring for, ordering, and installing new RV awning replacement fabric. We also share how to install the RV slide topper replacement fabric:

You’ll see in the video how easy the process was to replace all of our RV awning fabric ourselves, and how pleased we are with the results! BIG thank you to our friends Peter & John of The RV Geeks for helping us with this installation!

This installation was done in March of 2019, and the fabric has been holding up great ever since. (This article was last updated December 2023)

How Easy is it to Replace RV Awning Fabric? - Replacing A&E Awning & Slide Topper with Tough Top

How Do You Reattach an Awning on a Camper?

You’ll need two people and two ladders for the finishing touch when reattaching your awning. But beforehand, slide the awning material back into the notch on the roller, then roll it up (include the aluminum cover if there is one). 

Next, place a ladder on either side of the roller attachment on your RV–using two people, shoulder the rolled-up awning and climb the ladders in a synchronized fashion until both parties can attach their awning ends back onto the recreational vehicle. Once firmly installed, test it by unrolling and rolling the material to make sure everything is in place.

Pro Tip: Maintenance is important! Find out How to Take Care of Your RV Slide Out Awnings.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent and Avoid RV Awning Damage

Of course, the best way to keep your awnings in good shape is to practice good maintenance. Keep your awning clean by scrubbing both the top and underside with a four-part water to one-part bleach solution at least a couple of times a year. Washing will also help you spot any small tears and repair them before they become big problems. 

When opening or closing a manual awning, take time to roll it properly so no edges get caught. And always close your awning before leaving a campsite for several hours. The biggest culprit to awning damage is the wind! 

Pro Tip: Keep cool with one of these 7 Best Drive-Away Awnings for Campsites.

motorhome with awning out
Continually cleaning your awning will help prevent damage.

Is It Worth Doing a DIY RV Awning Repair?

If you revel in using outdoor space as a second ‘living room,’ RV awning repair should be at the top of your skills list as an RV owner. It doesn’t take much to keep your awning in good shape, and the payoff is worth it. Not only will you gain more useful camp space with your awning extended, but your family will find protection from the elements and room to spread out. And you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg or find an RV repair facility to make it happen!

Do you have an awning on your RV? Drop a comment below!

Disclaimer: Mortons on the Move partnered with Tough Top Awnings for this video and post. We receive commissions on any sales referred through our discount code, at no extra cost to the customer.

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Jaiden Jenkins

Monday 11th of December 2023

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