Investing in an awning can be quite an outlay, albeit one which should provide with many years of extra accommodation and comfort. If you decide to make a purchase then do your homework to take proper care of your awning.
A well planned purchase can virtually double your floor space, whether it’s a porch you have chosen or a full awning with sleeping cabins and partitions. Modern fabrics are both light and durable, but it is still vital to look after your awning properly, as any dirt or moisture can cause all sorts of problems during storage and your investment will end up going to waste. Here are our top tips for keeping your awning in tip top condition:
General maintenance should be thorough and regular. Wash down your awning with a soft brush or sponge and warm water regularly, or use the proprietary cleaner suggested by the manufacturer. Cleaning should be done on a dry day, and do be gentle as fabrics and seams can be damaged. Wipe the frame down with a damp cloth, making sure there are no broken connections or springs. Remove and dirt or greasy patches, and keep an eye out for bird mess which should be gently scraped away. Stubborn stains can be removed with soapy water; but remember this may effect the waterproof coating, so check the instructions to find out you need to reproof.
Clean while standing – this makes it much easier to clean without missing any hard to reach spots. Use a soft brush or cloth and warm water.
Inner tents can often be washed in a domestic washing machine rather than dusted down, so do check on the manufacturers care instructions as this is a much easier way to remove any stains and grubbiness.
Make sure the awning is clean and dry before even attempting storage. Try to keep windows straight rather than folded to avoid creases (although these will drop out) and keep any rubber parts from contact with the windows to avoid staining.
Never put the awning into storage damp as this can cause mould and mildew which will irrevocably damage the fabric, and leaves an unpleasant smell for the next use. If you can air it out on a sunny day, then a warm shed or garage would be a good idea to lay the awning out to dry before folding flat.
Tension / Erecting an Awning
When erecting your awning, really do try and make sure the tension is correct. Always peg, even if the weather is calm, as changeable British weather means conditions can deteriorate rapidly, and a firmly pitched awning is much less vulnerable and working properly within its specifications. Fabric should be tight and smooth. Any flapping panels or misplaced seams will leave the awning vulnerable to damage. Try to avoid putting the awning up in windy conditions if at all possible, as you risk it breaking loose before it is properly. Loose pegging can cause sagging, allowing wind to penetrate and cause stretching or tearing.
Although pitches can be damaged by ground sheeting and some sites prohibit it, you may still want to use plastic sheeting to protect your awning. Use the recommended version, and do check the sizing, as anything too large can capture and direct rainwater inwards towards your accommodation, causing problems with mud underfoot and potential damage to the awning.
As with caravans and tents, moisture can be the awnings’ worst enemy. So as well as ensuring the awning is dry before storage, you also need to keep it ventilated in use, especially if it is used as sleeping quarters as condensation can creep into hard to dry corners and leave your awning damp.
Most awnings will need reproofing at some point in their lifespan. You will know if this is necessary – if the water proofing fails, you will get wet! This can be done by the keen DIY-er with a good branded proofing agent, although if you are unsure or worried about it at all, then it might be a good idea to contact a professional and let them do it for you.