How To Replace An Awning On A Travel Trailer or RV?


Few could argue the importance of an awning on an RV when you’re out camping in the sweltering heat. At the least, it is a nice luxury to possess for the comfort and coolness it provides. But something you cannot argue against is also that awnings are known to be a bit fragile. The same summer which brings the sweltering heat the awnings protect you against can also bring thunderstorms and unpredictable weather which can damage the awing.

How to replace the awning on an RV
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So, let’s say that your awning is damaged, either due to such unpredictable weather or just normal wear and tear.

How do you repair or replace your awning?

The first thing to consider is if your awning needs a replacement in the first place, or if it can be done with just a repair.

  • A repair would definitely be more cost effective if possible. For this though, you have to maintain your awning regularly and keep checking it after the start of each season or after a few trips.
  • If it is damaged in any way, it is always helpful to notice and address it immediately.
  • You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere when your awning starts leaking because of the rain. So check for damages before use.
  • Also, if your awning is already damaged and you fail to address it early, the holes and tears can increase in size. This can make it more difficult to repair your awning and you might need a replacement.

Now, let’s consider the fact that your awning has faced irreplaceable damage and has to be replaced. How do you do so in the first place? Can you replace the awning yourself or do you need help from a professional?

How to Go About Replacing the Whole Awning?

If the fabric of your awning is covered with holes and tears, or maybe it has a tear too long for a tape to handle. Then you need to replace your awning.

We’ll talk about the cost aspect later. Trailer and RV accessories are known to be expensive; so you may want to choose to go with repairs first. Apart from the cost, however, it is pretty easy to replace an awning without any professional help or even having prior help yourself.

  1. The first step is to buy the new awning that you need. For this, you should know the size of the awning that you need beforehand. It’s not a good idea to have an awning which is not fitted properly. It might be really difficult to install and could occlude your windows and doors.
  2. You have your new awning now. The next step is just to install it. If you’re thinking about the most crucial part of the installation process, it comes here. It is making sure that your awning railing is attached to the top of your trailer or RV. For this, the previous step is pretty important – if you have an awning of the right size, this step should be simple enough. With the measurements taken, place your railing with care and attach the screws. Note to use the screws which came with the awning and not any other ones. Also, a thing to note is not to use a power drill to tighten the screws. It might reduce the structural integrity of the awning.
  3. Ensure that the awning railing is secured, then pull down the awning tub towards you to unroll it. Do this until the awning has completely unrolled. The next step is to fix the upper arms of the awning in place by sliding them in place. Next, use the tension knobs on either side of the awning to adjust the tension arms. Use your one hand to keep the awning tight during this step.
  4. The next step is after adjusting the tension of each arm. You need to unfold the supporting legs of the awning, while it is in an extended shape. Next place the supporting legs on the floor. Use the bottom brackets if you want to, this is optional for most people as they like to keep them on the ground directly.
  5. Now you are done – your awning has been successfully replaced. The next step is to ensure that it does n’t break down as quickly the next time. The constant and aggressive flapping of the awning can lead to its damage. This can be reduced by using an awning deflapper. Tie-downs and stakes. This can seem like a step too far, but they do provide a lot of protection and support.

Here’s the Video on how to do that:

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Just the RV Awning Fabric?

Awning fabrics are known to be expensive. The first thing to consider here is if you actually need a replacement in the first place or if it can be done with a repair. It can cost somewhere between $300 to $1000 including the cost of installation to replace the fabric of your awning. If the vinyl of the awning fabric is damaged terribly, you would need to replace that too as it cannot provide you with the same level of protection.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can choose to replace only certain parts of the awning fabric. This depends on the situation and the amount of damage on the fabric. If it has really long tears or a lot of holes, the only option might be a replacement. And of course just doing it yourself will save you some money on the cost of installation too.

If you are just replacing the fabric, here’s an easier way to do it:

How much does it cost to replace the Whole RV awning?

If you choose to replace an RV awning, your costs are likely to add up. Let’s look at some of the costs associated with the same.

Costs:

  1. Depending on the size of the awning you want, the system of retraction you want, and the material and accessories which you desire, the cost of awnings for an RV can range between $120-$2500.
  2. Awnings which have window shade type of retraction can cost between $120 – $250.
  3. RV awnings which have a manual retraction system can cost between $250-$550.
  4. RV awnings which have a motorized retraction system cost most than the manual type. The cost associated here also depends on the size of the awning. Bigger awnings can cost between $1000-$2500. Smaller ones can start from $500.

Things included

Once you purchase an awning for your RV, there are a few things which should come along with it. This includes support arms, a cover for your awning, a retraction system(motorized or manual) and brackets for installation.

Add-on costs

Usually, the cost of the awning is not the only price you need to bear for a replacement. There might be some additional costs associated with it too-

  1. Depending on the size of your awning and how complex it might be to install, you might need to incur some hardware like fasteners and screws. These can cost between $5-$20.
  2. Some accessories of RV awnings are stored separately.
  3. Somewhere between $20-$, 150 can be spent on the shipping. This, of course, depends on the size of the product and the speed of shipping.
  4. If you want to get your new awning installed by a professional, there might be some extra costs involved. A few retailers provide installation for free along with their product; others don’t.

How Do I Clean My Outdoor Awning

Cleaning an awning depends on the material of the awning which you use. Awnings come in canvas, vinyl and even aluminum materials. The steps to clean your outdoor awnings are as follows –

  1. Bring in a ladder so that you can climb and reach the top of awning to clean it.
  2. Bring in a broom or some other brush and remove as much of the dirt and debris as you can. You should try to remove any cobwebs, dirt or anything else which is on your awning.
  3. Prepare a cleaning solution. Put in a few ounces of soap to a bucket of cool water. Then mix this solution until you see foam appear. Please note not to use detergent for this. The solution should not be harsh.
  4. Take a scrub and start cleaning the top of the awning with the cleaning solution you just prepared. Before that, note to water up the awning a bit using a hose. You can use your brush to clean the fabric in a circular motion. The soap shouldn’t dry the other areas of the fabric, so only apply the solution to the areas you are working on.
  5. After the cleaning is done, you can rinse off the awning with water again. After this step, let it dry.

If you have a vinyl awning, you can even use a commercial cleaner which comes with a spray rather than making one yourself. While using the cleaner, however, note not to wet the fabric beforehand. Wash off the awning with water after doing this.

The same principle applies for aluminum awnings as well with the difference that the solvent you use in this case should work on aluminum. Here’s how to clean your roof while you are at it.

How Do I Prevent My Awning From Molding?

As much as an awning can help you and your family from a harsh summer and can provide you with some much-warranted relief, the fact remains that such awnings are constantly in the mercy of the harsh conditions outdoors. Thus, awnings can become discolored with an infestation of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in moist and warm conditions.

Mold is something which does not grow on the fabric of the awning itself, it grows on the dirt, dust and other materials on the fabric. The best solution against mold is to prevent it from occurring in the first place on your awning. Mold also grows more in humid conditions, which can be found in summers.

Proper cleaning and rinsing of the awning regularly, at least once a month can help in removing the unwanted materials from the awning and keeping it clean, thus preventing mold and mildew in the first place. If your awning fabric is infested by mold however, you need some proper and extensive cleaning.

  • The first thing to do is clean off with a brush or broom. This removes some of the mold and other dirt and dust.
  • After this, you should spray the fabric with water from a hose or some other source. The next step is to use a mildew or mold remover.
  • Bleach can be normally used to remove mold, but in this case, it can damage the fabric. Use a scrub and clean off the parts with mold in a circular motion.
  • Keep repeating step multiple times to ensure that the surface is completely clean. After applying the remover, clean it up with water.
  • The last step is to let the awning fabric dry out in the sun.

That is all that you need to do!