Every RVer who has ever used an awning knows what a fantastic asset this simple little contraption can be. After all, nobody likes sitting outside in the direct sunlight, and an awning can give campers the shade they need to truly enjoy their outside time. Besides that, an awning can also provide shade for the side of your rig, meaning the inside stays much cooler. Obviously, this is a huge benefit during the scorching summer months, and may even help extend the life of your RV A/C.
The problem with RV awnings is the fact that they tend to wear out, break, and acquire holes and tears over time. A torn or broken RV awning is of no use to you or anyone else, and it can really put a damper on even the best of camping trips.
If this is a problem you’ve run into, you may be wondering what your next step should be. Below you will find the ultimate guide to repairs, replacement, types, styles and all you need to know about RV awnings.
Reasons to Replace RV Awning Fabric and Parts
There are a number of things that can wrong with your awning that could require you to do an awning RV replacement or repair. Below are some of the more common issues you may come across.
Tears or Holes in Awning Fabric
The most common issue is with the awning fabric, which will likely develop holes, tears, or worn spots after several years of use. Small holes and tears can be repaired with tent repair tape, but bigger holes or an awning with lots of rips will require replacing RV awning fabric.
A sagging canopy is another issue you may run into. Generally, this can be fixed by replacing any broken rivets. That said, if replacing the rivets doesn’t help, your next step should probably be installing an RV replacement awning fabric.
Broken Arms or Mechanisms
Occasionally, the arms of your awning—or even the little mechanisms that help your awning move and lock into place properly—will break. In these cases, purchasing replacement arms or even an entire replacement awning for RV is probably your best bet.
Electric Awning Failure
Finally, you might find that your electric awning no longer wants to move in or out with the push of the button. In some cases, this is due to something as simple as a dead battery. However, if you charge your battery and the awning still doesn’t work properly, a replacement motor or switch might be in order.
How To Repair RV Awning – Small Spots
If your tear or hole is under three feet, you may be able to fix it easily yourself with RV awning repair tape. You should be able to find RV awning repair tape at hardware stores, RV retail stores like Camping World, or online at sites like Amazon. Prices vary, but you should expect to pay less than $20. Most tapes are 15ft long, though some are wider than others. Although it’s more expensive, you may want to buy thicker tape if you need to cover a hole or a larger rip. Eternabond tape is another option – it’s much more expensive (around $50 on Amazon), but it’s much more powerful and holds much more effectively. You should know that it’s not transparent, however, and your repair will show.
A lot of RV awning repair parts can also be gleaned from tent repair kits, which run from $5-$20 at most camping and outdoor stores.
How To Repair An RV Awning – Large Holes
If your repair is longer than three feet, you’ll need to purchase fabric of the same color and consistency as your awning and patch up the tear. You may be able to find matching fabric from the retailer where you bought the original awning, or at a fabric store. Using fabric scissors, cut a square or rectangle of your matching fabric to the correct size for your hole or rip. Apply to the spot using water-resistant RV glue like Amazing Goop, which is just $8 on Amazon.
Once your square is properly applied, use the fabric scissors to trim any loose edges to your repair is as unnoticeable as possible.
Tips On Repairing Your RV Awning
There are a few things you can do to make your RV awning repair go more smoothly. Before you begin the repair, wash the awning to get off all the dirt or other debris. Dry it with a towel and be sure the fabric is completely dry before beginning your repairs.
When you apply awning tape, push the tear together while the fabric is on a flat surface, then apply the tape (you may want a repair partner to help you keep everything in place). Take your time when positioning everything so you can get it in the right spot. Be sure to push out any air bubbles. If you make a mistake and place the tape incorrectly, rather than pulling it up and trying again, apply another piece. Put awning tape on both sides of the fabric at the location of the tear.
With some patience and a few small items, you may be able to save yourself a lot of money in the long run by repairing your awning instead of having to replace the entire thing!
Where to Find Replacement RV Awning Parts
If you do some troubleshooting and determine you’ll need replacement awning RV parts, your next step is finding a place that sells such parts. Many bits and pieces can be found on Amazon. That said, for the best assortment of replacement awning RV parts, you’ll want to check out an RV parts store such as RV Parts Country. These stores should carry everything you need to get your awning in tip-top shape.
RV Awning Replacement Fabric
Looking for RV awning replacement fabric? While you can buy this at RV parts stores, some people prefer to purchase this fabric from Tough Top Awnings. This particular company makes extra tough RV awning fabric that can withstand the rigors of frequent travel and rough weather, making it ideal for many RVers. When purchasing RV replacement awning fabric you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the right size for your awning. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the colors of your rig in order to ensure your fabric compliments your color scheme. Replacement fabric for RV awnings comes in countless colors and patterns, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
How to Replace Awning Fabric on RV
Once you have awning replacement fabric for your RV in hand, you’ll need to learn how to replace RV awning fabric. Luckily, there are tons of RV awning replacement instructions online, meaning it’s totally possible to learn fairly quickly and easily.
Replacing awning fabric on an RV does require 2–3 people, so be sure to round up some help before you get started. You’ll also want to have a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, and a drill handy. Detailed text instructions for completing the process can be found here.
We especially enjoy this replacing RV awning fabric video, and find that it explains the process very well.
Here is a recommendation for an RV favorite option when it comes to awnings:
A&E RV Awnings
For those of you who might not be so familiar with an A&E RV awning, they’re a beautifully-crafted awning that extends from the side of your trailer, giving you and your loved ones a canopy to sit, stand, or play under.
A&E RV awnings come in a wide variety of styles, including the Sun Chaser awning, Weatherpro Power awnings, Case awning, Elite window awnings, Trim Line Bag awnings, and more. The brand even has a door awning for even more protection!
A&E RV Awning Fabric
A&E awnings come in a wide range of materials, but their most popular styles seem to be those made from fabric. This is due to their durability, aesthetic, and affordable price point (with many around the $400 mark).
Most types of A&E RV awning fabric is heavy-duty, polyester reinforced vinyl fabric. A clear acrylic coating also helps to prevent mildew, fading, and staining, plus the fabric is both waterproof and UV resistant. They even come in a range of color options to suit every RV owner.
A&E RV Awning Fabric Replacement
Despite their durability and added protection, your A&E RV awning fabric may fade after several years, or even become damaged from unexpected weather conditions (such as hail). In this case, you don’t need to replace your entire awning. Instead, save money by simply choosing an A&E RV awning fabric replacement.
These replacements are widely available at specialist RV stores or online. They’re also very easy to install, as well as affordable. On Amazon, for example, you can purchase replacement fabric for as little as $100 – $200 (like this A&E RV awning fabric replacement for just $164).
Looking for an upgrade to your awning? Let´s get into electric awning information!
Automatic RV awnings
An electric awning for RV is different from a standard awning because it collapses and folds into the RV. It’s ideal for frequent RVers who will be setting up and breaking down camp on a regular basis, as it will save you a lot of hassle.
Fitting your RV power awning
The easiest way to measure your power RV awning is to simply measure your previous automatic RV awning and use those same dimensions again. If that’s not possible, measure the length of the awning’s roller tube – the drape material that goes inside will be cut to the nearest foot so round up (it’s better to have a little extra fabric than not enough!).
If you don’t have a previous awning or roller tube to measure, measure ⅓ to ½ of the length of your RV – this is the standard area to cover with an electric RV awning. Standard sizes go by meters – 2-5m are the most common. Before buying an extremely long awning, consider its slant so it doesn’t get in the way of your windows or doors. Smaller power RV awnings are easier to roll up and pack, and require less support, but of course, also cover less area when they’re open.
Also, think about how close to the ground you want your RV power awnings to hang. Some people like to have them come close so they can tether the end to the ground at an angle away from their rig.
Materials for your RV power awning
There are a few different materials that tend to be used in retractable awnings. Vinyl, acrylic, plastic, and fiberglass (for stationary awnings) are all common materials that are used in RV awnings. The type of material you choose will affect the durability and upkeep of your awning. Vinyl awnings can be cleaned with a combination of dish soap and water, while acrylic fabric should be cleaned only with water.
As with a lot of things, more expensive awnings will likely hold up longer if you maintain them properly. You may find that spending a lot of money, in the beginning, is actually the cheaper way to go since you won’t need to replace your awnings as often in the long run. It’s a good idea to talk to an RV retailer or dealer, or do some online research to see if the extra price is worth it. New awnings can run between $200-$500, and many retailers have a variety of designs and colors of shades for you to choose from.
Purchasing drapes and roller tubes
Drapes are the fabric part of your awning, while roller tubes are the slots that mount on your RV and extend the drapes in and out of your rig. Most awnings include both parts (though it’s wise to make sure!), and you can purchase them separately if you’re looking to do that. After you decide on the type of material you want for your drapes, choose the height of the shade based on the distance from the roller tube to the ground (known as the drop).
Retractable awnings should include instructions for installing them, and there are numerous YouTube videos and other online resources available if you’re planning on putting them in yourself.
RV power awnings are a huge convenience when traveling. The awnings themselves provide shade and a nice place to sit outside your rig and relax. Power awnings are especially convenient because they allow you to set your awnings up quickly and conveniently once you arrive at your campsite, giving you more time to enjoy your stay.
What is an RV Awning Roller Tube?
As the name suggests, this part is a tube-shaped roll that holds the fabric part of your awning. As you set-up your awning, the fabric is rolled in an outwards direction. As you pack away your awning, the fabric is rolled up neatly again so that it is out of the way.
When opting for an RV awning roller tube replacement, you have two options: You can either replace the roller on its own if the fabric is still in good condition, but the roller is broken or faulty, or you can purchase a new roller that also has new fabric on it. The latter is a great option for if your awning fabric has damage beyond repair (such as large rips, fading, or other more serious wear and tear).
RV Awning Roller Tube Repair Vs. Replacement
How can you tell if your RV awning roller tube needs repairing or replacing altogether? Firstly, you can determine exactly what is wrong with it then deem whether it would be cheaper to repair the problem or replace the roller tube completely. Secondly, you may realize that your roller tube is beyond repair and therefore you will have no other option but to replace the entire mechanism.
RV Awning Roller Tube Replacement FAQs
If you’ve decided that your roller tube needs replacing, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve answered some of the most popular questions relating to RV awning roller tube replacement to help you get started.
Q: What should I look for before purchasing a new roller tube?
A: Firstly, you’ll need to ensure the specifications of your new product matches those of your existing awning parts. After all, no one wants to waste time trying to install something that simply won’t fit. Secondly, it’s necessary that the awning roller and roller tubes you purchase are compatible with the awning you’re using them in. If not, this can lead to breakages or difficulty using the product.
Q: Are all RV awning roller tubes weather-proof?
A: Many models or roller tubes will be both water-resistant and weather-proof. Just to be on the safe side, ensure the roller and tubes you get are made from rust-resistant materials (or at least have water and rust-resistant finish). It’s also important that your roller tube replacement can withstand the sun’s harsh UV rays.
Q: How can I make installation of my RV awning roller tube replacement easier?
A: When purchasing an awning roller, make sure to get one that can simply be bolted or screwed in place, without the need for cutting, drilling, and any other heavy-duty modification.
Where to Buy RV Roll Up Awnings
Once you’ve decided that you need to replace your RV roll up awning, it’s time to do your research. Check out any local retailers in your city, as well as websites such as Amazon to see if you can get a great deal. Online retailers include Unicanvas, PPL Motorhomes, and Dyers RV Parts and Accessories (just to name a few).
RV Awning Replacement Instructions
Even if you need to replace the entire awning, you should be able to tackle the task yourself. That said, a DIY RV awning replacement will require some helping hands from some friends or family members.
Additionally, to replace the awning on your RV, you will want to ensure you know what you’re doing. For this reason, we did a bit of digging to find the very best instructions on replacing an RV awning. After much searching, we found this article from Love to Know which gives very detailed instructions on how to measure for and install replacement RV awnings.
For reference here are the steps that the process would entail:
- Get a properly-sized replacement RV awning. (Obviously you will want to measure carefully, because if the awning doesn’t fit your RV, then you will end up with a useless awning!)
- Release the existing awning.
- Roll the awning down and lock it into place.
- Rotate the inner shaft until the holes are lined up, and then bend the end of the cotter pins.
- Disconnect the lag bolts using a wrench. These are what hold the awning rafters to the RV.
- Lift the awning out of its place and walk away as you unwind the fabric.
- Note the number of times you turn each spring to relieve tension. (This number is exact and you will need to re-install it exactly as you found it.)
- Lift, out of place, the tube that holds the awning fabric, as it should be free at this point.
- Install the new fabric carefully to avoid tearing it.
- Reconnect the torsion assembly and rivet it back into place.
- Reconnect everything as you found it before.
- Then test your handy work to ensure the awning moves easily.
Replacing your RV awning can be a simple process, if you know your way around tension-loaded springs, but when in doubt, always consult a professional.
RV Awning Replacement Video
Of course, because installing RV replacement awnings can be daunting, you may also want a video to help you along.
While we couldn’t find a patio awning installation video specifically, we did find this video from RV Geeks. The video shows a window awning installation, a process very similar to the installation of a patio awning or the process of RV slide-out awning replacement. Because the processes are so similar, many may find this video quite helpful, especially when combined with the text instruction above.
Repairing or replacing the awning on an RV isn’t always easy, but it is totally doable with the right instructions, tools, and set of helping hands. Go ahead and check out your awning, see what you need, and start shopping for parts or replacement awnings for your RV.
The sooner you can get your awning in good working order, the more comfortable your camping will be, and because finding awning for RV replacement units and parts is so easy, it makes no sense to put it off any longer.
We hope this ultimate guide answer all your questions and has left you feeling prepared and informed to move forward in your repairs! Did we miss something or do you have a question? Leave them below and dont forget to share this article with fellow Rvers if you found it helpful!
For more tips and tricks for your next RV trip, check out these articles:
- How To Use Your RV Awning
- 10 Awesome RV Awning Accessories
- 10 Camper Van Awnings to Increase your Outside Living Space
- How to Clean your RV Awning: A step by step cleaning guide
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