Getting the Most out of a Home and Garden

The 5-Step Caravan Awning Health Check

Losing your trusted caravan awning can be frustrating. Unfortunately, there aren't any doctors specialising in reviving a lifeless, tattered, poorly maintained awning. If you want to save yours from a trashcan-funeral, you need to know what warning signs to look out for. Use this simple 5-step "health check" to fix your caravan awning's problems before it becomes weathered beyond repair.

Step 1: Debilitating Dirt

While a dirty awning doesn't seem like a cause for concern, ignoring grime can cause problems down the line. Dried-on dirt and bird lime damage the waterproof coating of your awning. Bleach, detergents and rigorous cleanings methods are the only way to remove this notorious grime, but these can all do serious damage to your awning. Keep problems at bay by removing dirt as soon as possible with warm water and a soft brush or cloth.

Step 2: Unwell Windows

If your awning has plastic windows, you'll need to look out for two signs of ill health – creasing and browning, both caused by folding. Creases in the panes can usually be fixed by pulling the windows taut and exposing them to sunlight. Brown stains may appear over time if the rubber straps touch the window fabric when the awning is folded. Care should be taken to avoid this problem because such stains can be impossible to remove with water and a sponge. As with the rest of your awning, using spirits or detergents on PVC windows should be avoided at all costs.

Step 3: Sick Zips

Do you ever find that the zips on your awning won't budge? Sometimes zip stiffness is caused by pulling the material too taut. If this is the case, there's no need to be concerned. Just adjust your storm guy ropes and ground pegs as necessary to loosen the awning. If slackening doesn't solve your issue, your zips may need a dose of lubricant to keep them healthy. You can find special zip lubricants in most caravan stores.

Step 4: Run-Down Rails

Rails are technically not a part of your caravan awning, but they're just as important. A healthy rail lets the awning move inside the channel smoothly. If your awning is getting stuck in the rail, try using a little furniture polish to ease it up. Simply spray polish into the slot and use kitchen roll to remove the excess. Dents and bends are usually unfixable, so take care to ensure your pole doesn't get damaged. Next time you buy a new rail, try going for fibreglass – it's strong, corrosion-proof and lightweight, eliminating most rail damage problems. 

Step 5: Under the Weather

While harsh weather isn't part of your caravan awning, it's certainly something to look out for. Rough storms can easily damage awnings, rails and even ground pegs. Make sure your awning is always well-tensioned and use your storm guy ropes to hold the awning's shape. Keeping a taut awning is also beneficial on rainy days, stopping water from pooling and damaging the fabric. In very adverse weather conditions, it's best to take your awning down temporarily to protect it. Ensure that you let it fully dry before packing it away, otherwise you could end up with mildew.

For more information on awnings, contact a company like Wilfords Annexes.