If you’ve spent any time on the road with your RV, you know how precious your awning can be. It’s shade, it’s a place to congregate with family or camp neighbors and it’s an extension of your living space. Do yourself a favor and keep that space looking good and functioning properly with these tips.
Generally, RV awnings come in two flavors – vinyl or acrylic. Remember, neither type of awning fabric is perfect, so pick the one that holds up the best in the conditions you frequent most often.
Vinyl awning fabric is a marine grade material. It’s mildew resistant, but not mildew proof. If you spend a lot of time RVing in hot, humid climates, mildew can form quickly if the awning is rolled up when wet. The good thing about vinyl fabrics is that they tend to be pretty easy to clean – in fact, you most likely don’t need to buy any special cleaners to get it looking great again. A soft brush (a car wash brush usually works great) and soapy warm water will do the trick.
Acrylic (also known as fabric or canvas) awnings can require a little more care. Although acrylic awnings will dry much quicker, the water repellent coating on this type of material can degrade over time. When this happens, the fabric will begin to allow water to pass through if it’s not properly treated. Also, if not properly treated, acrylic awning fabric can be permanently stained.
Most acrylic awnings are constructed using Sunbrella material. Sunbrella has an excellent guide on the care and cleaning of acrylic fabric – visit www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/ for more information.
If you want to get the most life out of either fabric, you can use a product like Gold Eagle’s 303 Fabric Guard to first wash and clean your awning. If you have an acrylic awning, that’s all you need – 303 Fabric Guard will restore water repellency if applied correctly. For vinyl awnings, apply Gold Eagle’s 303 Aerospace Protectant to prevent fading, cracking and damage from UV rays.