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How to Take Care of Your RV Slide Out Awnings

RVs with slide outs are amazing because of all the extra space they offer. But with that extra space comes extra work. One important thing to stay on top of is RV slide out awning care. Proper care will ensure your slide out awnings last a long time and keep your RV nice and dry on the inside.

What Is an RV Slide Out Awning? What’s Their Purpose?

An RV slide out awning is a tiny awning that covers your slide out when you extended it. Some people call them slide toppers. These small awnings extend automatically when you deploy your slides. Their job is to prevent debris, dirt, and water from getting into your RV through the slide seal.

rv slide out awning

Benefits of RV Slide Out Awnings

While slide out awnings aren’t necessary for your RV, they are a handy addition. They won’t eliminate the possibility of water leaks, but they definitely help. An RV slide out awning has a slight angle that funnels water away from your rig. Without it, the top of your slide is totally flat and a perfect place for water to pool.

Another benefit to a slide topper awning is added protection. Falling debris may land on your slides and might cause damage. Having an awning gives them a little extra cushion from the impact. The debris is also more likely to slide off the awning rather than sit on top of your slide. This means less work to climb up on the roof and sweep everything off.

Plus, awnings over your slides will protect the top of the slide from UV light. This can help protect your seals so they last longer as well.

If you’re out camping in the heat and sun, another bonus is some extra shade. The RV slide out awning will block some sunlight to keep your rig cool.

Drawbacks to Slide Out Toppers

There are a few downsides to these awnings. First, in windy conditions, they can flap and make lots of noise. This can be very annoying for campers trying to sleep.

In rainy conditions, they can sometimes pool water in their center. With the right breeze, this pool of water can slide off the awning and splash down on an unsuspecting passerby.

Finally, it is another thing to maintain and take care of.

Why You Need to Take Care of Your RV Slide Toppers

Your RV slide toppers take the brunt of the elements. Wind, rain, falling debris, and sun can all damage your awnings. This means you need to maintain them to ensure they last longer. While it isn’t too much of a hassle to replace them and they aren’t too expensive, it is still much better to take care of them to prevent problems.

RV Slide-Out Awning Care and Maintenance Tips

Since awnings offer so much protection and convenience for your rig, here are some maintenance tips.

Clean Them Regularly 

When you clean your RV slide out awnings regularly, you will avoid a lot of headaches. After a windy day, sweeping off your awnings is a good way to prevent the build-up of leaves, dirt, and grime.

cleaning slide out

If you have neglected your slide awnings for a while, don’t worry! For really dirty slide out awnings, a brush with water and dish soap should do the trick. This will cut through even the worst of sap and grime. Just remember to be gentle so you don’t tear your slide topper during cleaning.  

Regularly Inspect for Tears Before Retracting Slides

Before retracting your slides,  get into the habit of checking your slide out awning for tears. If you bring the slides in with a tear, you may worsen the damage. If you notice a tear, use awning repair tape for the small ones. This will stop them from tearing even more and needing to be replaced.

Retract Slide Outs During High Winds

Another way to protect your RV slide out awnings is to pay attention to high winds. When the wind is whipping, there is potential for your awning to tear or for large debris to damage it. 

Retracting your slides during high winds will protect the awnings from flapping and ripping. It will also help prevent slide leaks during heavy rainstorms.

Replacing RV Slide Out Awnings

Even with regular cleaning and care, awnings can wear out and need replacing. Fortunately, this process is pretty simple, and you can even do it yourself. We replaced our RV slide-out awnings with new fabric from Tough Top Awnings after wind and the elements caused the edges to tear. 

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

We took our slide topper measurements and ordered the fabric. With the help of some friends and a couple of ladders, we were able to replace the awning toppers ourselves. You can learn more about this DIY process in the video above. Or, plan a visit to Tough Top Awnings if you’re passing through the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area on your travels!

Use discount code MORTONS to save 5% on your Tough Top Awning purchase.

Having an RV slide out awning is a great way to protect your rig from the elements and keep things running smoothly. But your slide toppers need a little love, too. By following these tips to care for your awnings, they will last much longer. And that will make you a happy camper!

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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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Dalton Bourne

Saturday 26th of March 2022

To remove the slide out from the RV, the best way is to delete everything in that area so that deleting the entire slide is easier and more convenient. Put away your day bed, curtain, or anything else that weighs you down. This way, it's easier when you're outside and ready to take the slide off.

Ronal Owens

Thursday 1st of July 2021

Thank you for this post, I'm a beginner so I don't know how to change my tarpaulin. Your video tutorial is very easy to understand.

Mortons on the Move

Friday 16th of July 2021

You're welcome! Glad you found the information helpful.

Dalton Bourne

Saturday 26th of June 2021

Once the slide out is removed, re-engineer your RV by placing the support beams. These beams should be welded out properly where support is greatly needed to balance out the taken space. RVs with slide outs are usually engineered to have a balanced weight all over even when the slide outs are not used. Make sure to redesign your RV with the right support. Repair the flooring if needed and you may be creative in putting up the support.

Dalton Bourne

Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

There are some steps to remove your slide out. Most sliding mechanisms are motorized and located below the main slide. Use pear and let open the cover extend to the maximum point. Use the block of wood and interceptor to support the width of slide. When the slide is maximized, release the slide from the handles. Move the slide out an inch at a time, until it can be stored in your timeline. After the plate slide is removed, redesign your RV by placing supports.

Paul and Lynn Yeso

Monday 18th of January 2021

Caitlin and Tom, Love all your great advice! Hope to see you again down the road. Anything on your radar?

Mortons on the Move

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Hey guys! Good to hear from you. Were currently in the southwest but will head east at some point this winter. Will be back in Michigan for the summer, then probably back out west next fall.