Of all the features that make your RV more homelike, the awning is probably one of the best. It gives your fifth wheel or travel trailer a patio, with shade from the sun and shelter from the rain so you can enjoy time outside even in harsh weather. Because it's so cool, you should take the steps necessary to maintain your awning properly, which'll ensure you get the most use out of it for years to come. You can do a lot of maintenance yourself, as we talk about in the information below, but if you need any assistance with awning repair, or just need additional parts and service before your next trip, schedule an appointment at Get-Away RV. We're in Abbotsford, BC, proudly serving the areas of Langley and Surrey, British Columbia.
In order to take care of your awning, you need to know what sort of awning it is, and what its functions are. Most likely, your awning is either made of vinyl or acrylic. Acrylic fabric is woven from a petroleum-based product. Like tent fabric, acrylic is resistant to water and mildew, but it can melt if flames or direct heat come into contact with its surface. On the other hand, vinyl awnings aren't naturally resistant to mildew, but many of them are covered in an anti-fungal coating that prevents mildew growth. Because of this additive, don't put in too much elbow grease when cleaning your awning, or else you might scrub this coating off.
Various problems emerge with different awnings, and they can do costly damage if you don't keep on top of them. Different treatments are required for each type of problem, so be sure you're checking for these conditions frequently and treating as needed.
Similar to mold, mildew is one of those sneaky nuisances that makes its way into your fabric and slowly ruins it. Mildew only grows in the right conditions. If this fungus has a warm, moist environment with poor air circulation and organic material for food, chances are, it will spread fast. If you roll up your dirty, wet awning and leave it that way for any period of time, well, you've just created an ideal environment that meets all these conditions, especially when it's hot out. Because of this, never roll up and store your awning when it's wet. Even if you're stepping away from your travel trailer for just a day or so, use mild soap and a light brush to carefully wash your awning, rinse it, and then let it dry before you roll it and store it. If you do notice mildew, use a commercial cleaner that's made for cleaning your awning. Petroleum-based products can ruin your awning, so try staying away from them.
Your awning is mostly safe from sun rays when it's rolled up (especially if yours has an aluminum cover), so make sure your awning is put away as often as possible. On sunny days when you're not using it, roll up your awning so it doesn't get unnecessary exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet light will weaken your awning's material over time, and after it tears or the bead breaks loose from its extension hardware, your awning needs serious repair.
Like sun rays, wind can literally tear your awning apart, so try to avoid using it if winds are over 20 mph. You probably don't want to sit outside anyway when winds get up that high, so be sure to roll up your awning and not expose it unnecessarily to the elements. If you do need to use it during wind gusts though, hold down the corner of your awning with screw anchors and rope to minimize damage.
There are so many ways that your awning gets damaged, and with proper care, you can avoid them and get a lot of life out of your awning. However, if your awning has lost the battle with the elements, or is just plain old, you'll want an experienced professional to do some repairs. At Get-Away RV, we have all the parts and services you'll need to get your awning and RV in pristine condition, so don't hesitate to stop by our dealership in Abbotsford, BC if you'd like our help!