One of the enjoyable parts of camping in an RV is creating an outside patio with an awning, no matter the location. This fabric cover provides shade and protection from elements so that you can extend your living space into the outdoors. Evening dinners, afternoon siestas, and friendly conversations ensue under its umbrella.
But with constant use, an awning will show wear and tear. Is there a way to fix small problems in your awning before they become major issues? Well, we’ve put together a concise RV awning repair guide to help you keep your awning in good shape and prolong its life.
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.
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 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.
Large Tears and Rips
For larger rips and tears the fabric may need to be removed. Likely a repair will 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.
- Bonds in Tough Conditions – You can apply our clear vinyl...
- Sturdy and Flexible – Our highly regarded HH-66 Vinyl Cement...
- Repair Multiple Types of Vinyl – Use HH-66 Vinyl Cement for...
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Pro Tip: Want to install an awning onto your truck camper? We uncovered Truck Camper Awnings: An Imperfect Encyclopedia of Your Options.
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.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace RV Awning Fabric?
You can easily order vinyl or acrylic fabric to replace irreparable awnings. Both 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.
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.
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!
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