If a good awning is well treated it will give many year’s service. However you need to look after them. This brief guide gives advice on what to do and what not to do.
It is important to try and keep your awning clean, as over time bird mess, mud and tree sap can all leave unsightly stains.
There are several “do’s and don’ts” you should take into account.
- DO wait until the awning is dry before cleaning – usually you can simply brush off dirt, especially mud.
- DO only use clean, luke warm water if the marks prove to be more stubborn.
- NEVER use detergents such as washing up liquid, this will damage the proofing – your awning will leak! Detergent free cleaner is available in our accessory shop.
- NEVER put any sections of the awning through a washing machine.
- NEVER clean your awning with a high pressure hose.
- NEVER use any sterilising products like Milton.
If the marks cannot be removed easily you may find that you have to use a specialist awning cleaning product, such as Fenwick’s Tent Clean which is usually available from our accessory shop. It is wise to try this product on a small area first in case there is any reaction with the canvas.
Over time some awnings will need re-proofing to keep them water-tight and to protect them from UV rays from the sun.
This is far more the case with cotton awnings than with modern polyester and acrylics.
It is however impossible to predict how often this will need to be done so it is recommended to be done at the start of each season.
- It is quite common for even top-branded new awnings to leak. Do not panic – the fibers in both the stitching and the canvas need to be rained upon a few times. Once the fibers have been fully swollen by water the awning should become waterproof.
- There are various re-proofing products available; our accessory shop usually stocks Fabsil which also has UV protection as well as waterproofing protection.
- It is usually best to erect the awning if it needs to be completely re-proofed. However if it is only a small area or panel that needs proofing you can usually simply spread the awning or panel out to do thid.
- Re-proofing products are flammable so no smoking or naked flames! This applies until the solution has completely dried.
- To properly re-proof an awning you need warm, dry weather but not baking hot sun – if it is too hot the solution may dry out before completely impregnating the material.
- The awning needs to be clean.
- It is recommended that products like Fabsil should be painted on as you get a much better coatbut they can also be applied in aerosol form. If you choose an aerosol, avoid windy days as the spray may miss the material.
- DO NOT pack the awning away until the solution has completely dried out.
- Sometimes it is inevitable that an awning will be taken down when it is wet. Make sure that the awning is dried out as quickly as possible, otherwise mildew will set in. These unsightly marks are extremely hard to remove and your awning will smell.
- If your awning is cotton you have to be very careful that it is not packed away wet for longer than a day or so, this applies to a lesser degree with acrylic and polyester. A number of times we have had customers tell us that they have spoken to dealers who have said that acrylic awnings can be packed away wet – this is a fallacy. An acrylic or polyester awning can be safely packed away wet for about 48 hours, any longer than this and mildew will start to set in. Also, the stitching on awnings tends to be made out of cotton, this will rot and your awning will disintegrate!
- During the summer months it is quite safe to store your awning in your caravan. Make sure that you do not store the canvas with the poles touching as this could mark the fabric.
- During the winter months it is possible that condensation can form in caravans so we recommend that you bring the awning indoors. Store in a dry, well aired part of the house, such as the roof space or attic.
- DO NOT pack the poles away wet for obvious reasons.
There are currently more and more caravanners siting their awnings permanently. We strongly advise that you insure your awning in case of damage as some awnings can be costly.
It is also worth talking extra steps to protect the material – put pipe lagging on the frame of poled awnings where there are joins in the poles as friction over many months can cause holes. It is also worth protecting the material where there are tube adjusters for the same reason.
If you do use a tie down straps make sure that the material is protected on the corners as once again friction can cause damage. It is recommended to use specialist awning anti-friction sleeves that are normally available in our accessory shop.
There are many awning repair companies out there, however if your awning does need repair or alteration, make sure you separate the professionals from the ‘cowboys’. We have seen some awful workmanship over the years!