Vinyl Awnings on Motorhomes and RVs
Most RV awnings are vinyl. Some are Sunbrella® , a specialized textile manufactured by Glen Raven Mills. Sunbrella® awnings are considered the upscale or premium awning. Maintenance for each is different.
RV Vinyl Awnings:
Maintain with periodic applications of 303 Aerospace Protectant. Benefits are:
Very repellent finish: Vinyl awnings stay resist soiling, stay cleaner longer and clean up much easier when finally soiled. There are two other beneficial aspects to this repellency.
303 treated vinyl awnings clean up so easily, `awning cleaners' are virtually never required. Since most products sold as awning cleaners contain bleach or other components harmful to vinyl, avoiding such products means a longer useful life for the awning.
303 treated vinyl awnings don't get as wet and dry much faster. Since 303'd awnings are less likely to get rolled up when they are still damp, mildew and mildew staining problems are less likely.
RV Fabric or "Acrylic" Awnings:
RV Fabric or "Acrylic" awnings are almost universally made from "SUNBRELLA®". This is a "breathable" outdoor textile...which means that, unlike vinyl, the material does NOT cause water to condense on the underside.
Sunbrella®: This is a specialized solution-dyed acrylic textile with very high UV tolerance.
Protecting this material from UV damage is not necessary.
Untreated, this textile has no inherent soil resistance, water repellency or resistance to water or oil-based stains. Therefore, the textile is treated with a special repellent finish during the manufacturing process.
Friction and the passing of time degrade the repellent finish. When this begins to occur, instead of `beading' water when it rains, the awning begins to get damp when it rains. If the awning is not retreated with a proper stain and water repellent at this time, the awning material can become indelibly soiled or stained and after time can even begin to leak.
To replenish the lost water and stain repellency, first wash the awning with soap (Ivory flakes) diluted in cool water. Rinse and allow to dry. Then treat the awning with an approved commercial grade fabric protector (consumer grade fabric protectors are not adequate). 303 High Tech Fabric Guard is a recommended commercial grade product with un-paralled soil resistance, water & stain repellency and longevity. CAUTION: `Silicone' water repellent treatments are commonly available, but these should never be used on Sunbrella® . Doing so can void the factory warranty.