How to Waterproof your RV Awning to Prevent Dripping

how to waterproof an rv awning

If you have camped during a rainy season, you know the fun of it.

Sitting outside your camper with your awning extended, looking at the luscious greenery around, and the sound of raindrops hitting your awning feels magical.

However, this magical moment can quickly turn into a nightmare if you have an awning that’s dripping due to leaks.

Waterproofing your RV awning fabric can prevent such annoying situations far away from home on the campsite.

Fortunately, the process of waterproofing your RV awning is pretty straightforward.

All you need is your basic RV awning cleaning supplies and your desired RV awning waterproofing agent.

And you are all set…

But before we jump into your RV awning waterproofing process, knowing why an awning leaks may help you prevent leakage in the first place.

What causes an RV awning to leak?

A leaky awning is a pretty common thing in an RVears life.

Most awnings in the market these days come either waterproof or at least water-resistant.

But despite being waterproof or water-resistant, your RV awning can leak for reasons such as:

Like any other part of your camping rig, your awning needs maintenance to keep it in its best shape. Whether a new or a crumbling awning, you should keep it clean and perform a thorough inspection once in a while. This will slow down the natural wear and tear, thus preventing leaks.

Expansion and contraction affect everything on your camper, and your awning is no exception. When the sun rises, the rising temperature expands the material on your awning and contracts its back as the temperature goes down.

This continuous process of expansion and contraction makes the fabric weak, thus creating gaps between the threads. It is especially true for acrylic awnings.

The vinyl awnings, on the other hand, usually leak around the seam. The expansion and contraction have less effect on the vinyl fabric as they are woven in a different method from an acrylic awning.

Excessive pooling of water on the awning puts extra pressure on the fabric, increasing the gap between the fabric threads. Thus make way for water to drip in.

Your RV awning can also start to leak if the waterproofing layer that the awning came with wears off. It usually happens due to heavy scrubbing while cleaning, the use of strong chemicals, and sometimes due to acid rain.

The wind is another reason why your awning is leaking or draining water improperly. Wind tends to shift the awning fabric from its intended place and results in water dripping inside.

Many a time, you will find the joint between the awning rail and camper wall is leaking. Usually, this happens if the seal between the rail and wall wore off, missing screws on the rail, and finally by overextending the awning.

Overextending the awning puts extra pressure on the fabric as well as on the rail joint, which creates a gap, giving way for the water to flow through it.

These are the most common causes for an RV awning to leak, and that can be fixed easily. Knowing these common reasons can help prevent leaks.

However, if your awning leaks for some unexpected reasons, this is how you will re-waterproof it.

How to re-waterproof your RV awning?

The first thing you need to keep in mind before you start the waterproofing process is to check the weather forecast.

You will want a few clear sunny days from the day you start waterproofing your awning.

Clean your awning before rainproofing

Keep your awning clean

Cleaning your awning before starting your waterproofing process is extremely important. A waterproofing agent works by creating a barrier around your awning fabric, which prevents water from penetrating the fabric.

However, if the fabric is dirty, the sealing agent may not work to its designed degree. Plus, this will trap the dirt or stain and make it impossible to remove later.

To clean your RV awning, you need a soft brush, a bucket of soapy water (mild soap like detergents), and a hose to rinse it off. You can also buy a high-quality cleaning agent like Camco 41024 Pro-Strength Awning Cleaner.

Now, apply the soapy water/Camco cleaner to both sides of your awning. Gently scrub away any dirt or stains from the fabric. Once done, rinse off your awning with a garden hose or a bucket when you are dispersed camping.

Now its time to leave your awning out to dry before applying the sealing agent. The waterproofing agent will not work to its designed ability if laid on wet a fabric.

Choosing the right resealing agent

Waterproofing your RV awning is an easy and straightforward task.

But choosing a resealing agent may pose some confusion if this is your first time.

There are a few types of waterproofing agents in the market, but we will be taking a look at the most popular ones.

A waterproofing can spray like the Kiwi Camp Dry is a dependable agent that is widely used by campers to waterproof their outdoor camping gears, including a camper awning. It’s compact, dries quicker, and is a heavy-duty on the run water repellent.

A waterproofing liquid spray like the 303 Fabric Guard is an excellent product that is an ideal choice for most professionals. It is easy to use but takes a bit longer to dry.

Finally, a waterproofing tape is ideal for sealing awnings that have small holes in it. Though a temporary solution, the tape works well when water is leaking between the joint of your awning rail and the exterior wall of the RV.

Now you have a fair amount of knowledge about the different types of sealants available. Let us dive into making your RV awning waterproof.

Applying the waterproofing sealant

Reproofing your RV awning is the easiest thing and needs no prior experience.

However, before you start the waterproofing process, make sure your awning fabric is clean and dry [IMPORTANT]. You will need to apply 2-4 coats of the sealant.

Note: The chemicals used in the sealant may cause eye damage and allergic reaction. Use proper eye protection, a face mask, and long-sleeved clothes to avoid health hazards.

To begin the resealing process, start spraying the agent evenly on the fabric covering every bit. This is the base layer, and no spot should be missed or over-saturated.

After the initial layer, keep the awning rolled out so that it air dries, preferably under the sun.

For the remaining layers, make sure no spot is left untouched. Dry the awning after each layer is sprayed for maximum effect.

A waterproofing spray will not work in situations where your awning has punctures, small rips, or if the joint between your awning rail and RV wall is leaking.

In this situation, you need to reseal it with an awning repair tape.

To use tape to seal leaks, just cut strips of the awning repair tape and stick it on the punctured areas. Moreover, to seal the rail joint, cut a piece of tape that measures precisely the size of the awning, and stick it.

Note: Sealing the awning rail leak with tape is a temporary solution. A Calking Gun and Adhesive Sealant Cartridge is the best way to seal the leak completely.

However, before you patch the holes with tape, make sure you have already spray sealed and dried the awning.

Testing for complete sealing

Once the final coat dries, you will need a garden hose to spray water on your awning. Here you’ll want to see the water beading and sliding off the fabric, instead of soaking.

When it does roll-off, you can be assured that you have a waterproof awning for your RV ready for the rainy days.

Benefits of waterproofing your RV awning

Even the tiniest leak in your awning is a ticking time bomb that can cause irreversible damage to your awning fabric.

If you’re wondering why you should waterproof your RV awning, then I have the perfect answer for you.

Longevity

Waterproofing your RV awning can reduce the harmful effects of water on the fabric and extend its working life.

A waterproofing membrane creates a protective layer around your awning fabric, making it resistant to wear and leak from rain, ice, and snow. At the same time, the protective layer help reflects sunlight better, thus protecting the awning from extreme heat and UV damage.

It also prevents the growth of molds and mildew on the fabric, which adds to its working life.

Cost-Effective

Waterproofing your RV awning is significantly cheaper than a complete fabric replacement. With your RV awning protected with a waterproof coating, you will have fewer repairs, thus reduces maintenance costs.

Keep You Dry

Having a waterproof RV awning will keep you and your family dry and comfortable when its down pouring. At the same time, it protects your outdoor camping gears from getting soaked in the rain and going bad.

Related Questions:

Is waterproof and water-resistant the same thing?

No, they are not the same thing. A water-resistant awning fabric can withstand light showers for a shorter duration before the fabric starts soaking and dripping. On the other hand, a waterproof fabric can withstand heavy showers for extended periods without any problem.

Does waterproofing slowing fading?

Yes, as the waterproofing membrane helps reflect sunlight, which reduces fabric fading and discoloration. Additionally, you will find many high-quality waterproofing products on the market that boosts UV protection.

Will waterproofing make the awning flame retardant?

No, it doesn’t. The heat from an open flame can destroy your RV awning fabric or, worse, catch fire. The use of grills or other sources of open flames under the awning should be strictly avoided for the safety of you, your family, and your rig.

How often should I waterproof my awning?

Well, this is a very subjective question and depends on factors like if you are full-time or part-time RVear, the amount of rainfall you get, and the other elements your awning is exposed to.

For part-timers, waterproofing once a year should be good. At the same time, full-time RVears may need to waterproof the awning 2-3 times, depending on the factors discussed above.

However, a simple test can help you find out if your awning needs re-waterproofing soon. Just spray a small amount of water on the awning, and if the water beads up and rolls off, you don’t need to re-waterproof soon.

On the other hand, if the fabric soaks, then you know its time to waterproof your awning.

Does painting an awning make it waterproof?

Painting an awning will not improve its ability to repel water and sometimes do more harm than good if the wrong type and color of paint are applied.

Conclusion

Your RV awning is an essential gear that adds to the level of comfort when camping in the rainy season. And waterproofing your RV awning makes sure the comfort and protection are maintained.

Waterproofing your RV awning is a simple process and can be done without any prior experience.