Awning glory – How to keep your awning in top condition

Picture the perfect, idyllic motorhome scene and, chances are, it will feature a large awning, unfurled in all its glory, as a happy family or contented couple relax underneath: enjoying the great outdoors with just the right amount of creature comforts.

A good awning is central to the quintessential motorhoming experience; extending your living space, protecting you from the worst of the elements and (if you’re lucky with the weather) providing much-needed shade in hot sunshine. Despite this, awnings never quite receive the billing they deserve. Often overlooked and relegated to the category of ‘add-on’ they are taken for granted and, as a consequence, frequently under-maintained.

This results in rapid deterioration, leading to costly repairs or replacement. All so wasteful when a little TLC could easily keep them in prime condition for many more years. Maintaining your awning is so simple and can save you a great deal if you follow just a few easy steps:

Wash it

With their large, flat surface area, awnings can quickly attract dirt, stains, bird droppings and detritus from nearby trees. Left exposed, mildew and mould also build-up. This can all be alleviated by washing, ranging from a light spray with a hose to a soapy wash using a soft brush – depending on its state.

While some make do with a little soap and water, recommended awning cleaner is available at most good outlets. And be careful to avoid rough scrubbing, however, as this can damage the material’s protective coating. For light motorhome users, one or two washes per season should suffice, while full-timers may need to carry this out more frequently.

Dry it

Having washed your awning, you can inadvertently cause damage by rolling it up and storing it too soon. This can lead to damp-related issues with the fabric, not to mention rusting the mechanism. To avoid this, make sure it is fully dry before putting away. Ideally leave it out for two or three days. OK, this may not be practical if you are caught in the rain and need to move on quickly – but in that case, wait until it’s fine and unfurl the awning again to let it dry fully.

Roll it

While you want to leave the awning exposed long enough to dry after washing, it is advisable not to keep it extended permanently. Make full use of it by all means, but if you are out for the day then it’s pointless to leave it unfurled and exposed to the elements. Over time, the sun can discolour the fabric, while showers and wind can also be harmful. So, if it’s not in use, roll it up.

Stabilise it

Aside from general wear-and-tear, most awning damage is caused by gusty winds or insecure housing. So, when using the awning, especially if it’s likely to be windy, make doubly sure it is firmly fixed. There are stabiliser kits available which offer valuable added protection in more challenging conditions. Similarly, when you’re on the move, a badly-packed or unsecured awning can be damaged in transit. So always double check to ensure it is properly locked and unable to rattle around.

With just these few straightforward steps you can extend the life of your motorhome awning and enjoy the benefit it brings to your motorhome breaks for many more years.

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