How To Replace RV Awning FabricAnthony Day
If you have had your RV for a while, then it is likely to have seen some wear and tear over the years - with awning fabric being among the first things to go.
Your RV awning is what gives you the comfort of having a patio area outside of your RV for lounging and BBQs, which is why you want to have it fully operational before you embark on your next trip. Although replacing RV awning fabric is not all that difficult, you do want to follow the procedure carefully to ensure that you get the best possible results.
To replace your RV’s awning fabric, decide on the type of material you want to use and then confirm the size of your fabric. Then take down the roller arm, release the spring tension, and disassemble the roller cap. Replace the old fabric with the new one and then reassemble the awning mechanism.
The RV travel season is right around the corner and if you are preparing for your next adventure, you should always inspect your recreational vehicle to confirm that it is in full working order. After years of traveling in your RV camper, your vehicle is going to get weathered by time and the environment - there is simply no way to avoid some maintenance issues. RV awning fabric is one of the most common repairs that travelers need to tend to. Whether you use yours to give you protection from the sun, rain, wind, snow, or all of the above - this is a component of your RV that you want fully operational before hitting the road. Although a lot of folks tend to take their awning to a professional service shop to have the fabric replaced, you will find that you can do these repairs all on your own, as they are not all that complicated. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to replace RV awning fabric in more detail.
After extensively researching RV repairs, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how to replace awning fabric. My research has shown me that replacing awning fabric is pretty much universal for all common RV types and, unless you have a custom awning, the same procedure should apply to your camper.
When to Replace RV Awning Fabric
After years of use and travel on the road with your RV, there are so many different things that can go wrong with your awning. Although many people do have problems with the mechanisms of their awnings, the most common issues that occur are with the fabric.
RV awning fabrics are generally built to last, as they were designed to be durable enough to withstand a lot of different environmental conditions. However, much like with all fabric materials, RV awnings will get worn out over the years. When you start to see that your RV’s awning is becoming quite weathered, it means that it is a good time to start thinking about getting it replaced.
This will generally be indicated by characteristics such as the canopy sagging and becoming very loose when pulled out. Usually, this is caused by excessive sun damage, however, it can also be a result of heavy rain. Many folks tend to think that their RV awning canopy is great for rain protection, but this isn’t always the case. Light rain is fine but intense rain can lead to sagging over time.
In addition, you should always replace (or repair) your RV awning fabric, once you see that it has got any of the following:
If you are finding that these are very small and are not impacting your trip, then you may be able to skip repairs and replacements for now. However, if you find that they are causing discomfort (especially if they are large), then it is definitely time to change out the fabric.
Can RV Awnings Be Repaired?
It’s quite common for owners to replace their RV awning fabric as soon as they see even a small issue with it. If you are finding that there are small holes, punctures, or tears in the fabric, then you can probably skip replacing it, as there are some repair strategies that you can use to remedy the situation. This can result in you saving a bunch of money on your overall maintenance costs.
If you are having trouble with the mechanism of the awning, then that is a different story and you may want to carefully identify what the problem is so that you can determine whether it is worth the hassle of trying to repair yourself. However, when it comes to fabric repairs, you will find that doing the work yourself right at home is quite easy - especially if you are dealing with smaller holes (less than 3ft long).
Your repairs are going to be a lot smoother if you are working with a clean fabric, so scrub the material thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt and debris. If you have not cleaned the awning in a while, you may have some mold in the fabric, which is going to be best approached with a bleach and water mixture (1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
Once the fabric has been completely cleaned, allow it to sit and dry for as long as necessary before continuing your repairs. After it has dried, you want to identify all of the areas that you want to patch up. You can use the following items to patch things up:
- Gorilla Tape
- Patch Kit (for tents)
Although these should do just fine for most fabric repairs, you may want to take a more thorough approach for larger tears and holes. For anything that is longer than 3ft, we would recommend finding a material that is similar to your RV’s awning fabric so that you can create fabric patches. Cut out patches that are matching in size to the hole and then use waterproof fabric glue to put the patch in place.
Cost to Replace an RV Awning
It can be hard to determine exactly how much it will cost you to replace your RV awning fabric, as there are a number of different factors that influence prices. For the most part, you will probably end up paying anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for most common fabric replacements. However, if you have got a more complex awning set up, then this figure can easily shoot up to $2,000.
With that being said, this is what people tend to pay when replacing their RV awning fabric on their own. If you are planning on taking your RV to be professionally serviced, then you will need to factor in the hourly rate of the shop on top of this.
Standard Size Vs. Custom Size Awning Fabric
The majority of RV owners buy standard-sized recreational vehicles that have pretty universal specs so that they can be easily repaired. A standard size RV awning is going to be cheaper to replace and you can pay as little as $250.
However, if you bought a custom RV or you have personally customized your awning, then your repair costs can fluctuate significantly. The reason why this can be so hard to pinpoint is that costs will vary depending on the size of your RV awning, as well as its material type. Prices for this can vary from $100 to several thousand.
The best way to determine the cost of your custom size awning is to get in touch with an RV dealer or fabric specialist so that you can get a quote for your specific awning needs.
What is RV Awning Fabric Made Of?
When you buy an RV, these days, the fabric is usually going to be made out of two main types of materials - acrylic and vinyl. Both of these fabrics are great for RV awnings as they have been designed to protect against all kinds of weather conditions such as rain, sun, wind, and snow.
However, although these are both reliable materials, you will find that you may prefer one over the other for your RV awning.
Acrylic Vs. Vinyl Awnings
If you are going to replace your RV awning, then you are probably going to be faced with the question of choosing an Acrylic or Vinyl material for your setup. Although these materials are both intended for the same kind of use, we have found that acrylic fabric is more reliable for RV travel.
Vinyl fabric awnings are known for being less heat resistant than acrylic. You will have less protection from the sun, which is what most people use their awnings for. The reason for this is that Acrylic awnings are more breathable than vinyl options, allowing better airflow - while, at the same time, offering increased durability.
However, one of the best characteristics of an Acrylic awning is that you can roll them up when they are wet without much damage being caused to the material. Whereas this will lead to mold and mildew with a vinyl awning. The main benefit of vinyl is that it is 100% waterproof - unlike water-resistant acrylic.
How to Replace RV Awning Fabric
If you have determined that your RV awning fabric needs to be replaced and you have decided on the kind of material that you want to use, you can begin the process of physically replacing the fabric.
1. Determine if Your Awning is a Standard Size
Before you go out and buy the first awning fabric that catches your eye, you want to figure out exactly what size your material is so that you are not wasting time and money.
Grab a measuring tape and get an accurate measurement of the length and width of your awning fabric. If you have not made any customizations to your RV or its awning, then you should have a standard size.
2. Take Down Awning Roller
You want to take out your awning roller so that you can disassemble it from its mechanism. If you have got an automatic/electronic awning, simply use the controls to fully extend the fabric out.
On the other hand, if your RV is equipped with a manual awning roller, pull it out completely. You may find that it is considerably easier to elevate your awning by sticking each side up on a platform or block to keep it level for the next steps.
Then remove the primary bolts that are holding the awning in place so that you can disassemble all of the components.
3. Remove the Roller Arm and Release Spring Tension
Next, you want to come to the backside of the awning so that you can remove the roller arm. You can do this by using a screwdriver on the side of the awning mechanism. Remove the bolt attachment to release the arm from the awning.
As you unscrew the arm, hold the bracket tight. Then begin to rotate the bracket until the spring comes undone. This will undo the spring tension in the awning mechanism.
4. Remove the Roller Cap
Once you have removed the roller arm and released the spring tension, you can remove any of the screws and bolts in the roller cap to continue the process.
As you undo all of these components you must keep all of them organized so that you know exactly how to reassemble the parts.
5. Unroll and Remove Original Awning Material
Now that you have dismantled the awning mechanism, you can unroll the actual fabric. Simply roll it out of the awning slowly to ensure that it is not caught on any mechanics.
6. Carefully Measure the Old Material
Now that you have got your awning fabric fully rolled out, you want to do a final measurement to confirm that everything is in order. Use a measuring tape to get a precise measurement of the material so that you can make comparisons with the new one that you have purchased.
7. Cut New Material to Size (If Necessary)
If you bought an awning material that was factory-made and designed for the measurement of your RV, then you can skip this step.
However, if you have got a custom size awning or simply could not find an option that was identical to your RV’s, then you may need to cut the new material yourself so that it fits properly. Using the measurements that you took of your awning fabric, cut the new material exactly to the size of your old one to ensure that it matches.
8. Install New Material
With your new material in hand, find the connection points of your fabric and slide them into the mechanism of your awning. Once you have got the connection points of the awning aligned with the channel of the awning, you can begin sliding the material into place.
Sometimes the sliding process of the material does not run as smoothly, which is why it is advisable to add a lubricant to the awning mechanism before you do this - making the process easier.
9. Reassemble Roller Cap and Mechanism
Using all of your nuts and bolts from your roller cap, begin reassembling the mechanism in the reverse order that you did when you unassembled it.
Tighten all of these components firmly so that your awning is secure when you begin using it on your trips.
10. Reinstall Awning Roller on Your RV
Lastly, reinstall the awning roller back onto your RV. There should be two bolts that held the primary awning mechanism in place so that it locks onto your vehicle. Make sure to tighten these tight as well so that your awning is completely secure.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day