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Caravan Awnings and Annexes

Types of awnings and annexes, and how to care for them to make them last a lifetime.
What to use for cleaning and how to keep it when stored.
 

coaster bus motorhome

 

Awnings & Annexes

There are a large variety of awnings on the market today.  Whether your caravan or motorhome is short, long or tall an awning can be custom made to your exact specifications.  The only choice you will have to make is which style and which colour.

Aussie Traveller stock a whole range of awnings including the most common type - the roll-out.  With its robust components and construction giving a long lasting awning with minimum operating problems.  Whilst this awning is prone to a bit of rattling in the breeze, this can be easily minimised by fixing anti-flappers at either end. (see picture below).
 

 
 

 

Caravan Awning Anti Flapper

With the addition of a centre support rafter, canvas, vinyl or even shadecloth walls can then be fixed to the awning to make an enclosed annexe (or extra room) area suitable to all types of weather conditions.

caravan awning centre support rafter

caravan annexe

 

Dometic –Waeco have produced a Dometic Power Awning that can be installed on motorhomes and caravans.  The power awning extends to about 8 foot and is available in lengths from 12 ft to 21 ft and is made of 13 oz 3-ply polyester reinforced vinyl fabric and comes with a 12 month warranty. Operation is by pressing a wall-mounted switch (12V DC power).  The User’s Guide indicates the power awning should be retracted when unattended or when experiencing wind and heavy rain and any damage from wind and rain is not covered under warranty.

You can purchase annex walls made of vinyl or shade walls for rollout awnings.  Sail tracks are affixed to the door side of the caravan for the annex walls to attach and the side walls are affixed to an anti-flap kit or awning deflappers and the roll drum of the awning. For example, Australia Wide Annexes make up optional annexes as well as freestanding annexes for motorhomes.  The beauty of an annex is more livable space and protection from the weather.

Annex walls can be quite heavy, more than the shade screen walls , so check whether you will be able to lift and carry the annex walls and be able to fit them each time you camp.

Aussie Traveller Anti-Flap Kit Anti-flap kits and curved roof rafters are available from Aussie Traveller.

How do I care for my Caravan awning ?

Awnings are one of the most valuable items of a caravanner's equipment.  They effectively double the amount of space available to you and although they can be expensive, most people find that this additional space is invaluable.

It is advisable after every trip to wash the awning down and leave extended to dry.   If stored for a long period of time it should be extended every 6 months or so to check for mould, etc.  

Refrain from using ordinary household detergent when washing the awning as it may destroy the water resistant coating.  Washing with a mild truck wash should keep most of the mould and mildew at bay or a product called "Tricleanium".  It is 100% alkaline salts not acid like CLR or Sulfamic acid.  Reapply a water resistant spray if necessary.

For particularly stubborn stains use CHUX Magic Eraser from the laundry aisle of your supermarket.

Keep an eye on any repairs that may need attention with your awning, as catching them early can mean the difference between a simple repair or a full and costly replacement.

For canvas awnings and annexes it is important the canvas is dry before being packed away as mould may form.  To clean a canvas awning, firstly check with the manufacturer for their instructions on how to clean the canvas.  Canvas is treated with a waterproofing agent and mildew resistant coating so it is best not to scrub it or apply soaps, detergents or cleaning fluids to the canvas.  In the absence of manufacturer’s instructions try washing the canvas down, remove any leaves, soil, grass or bird droppings.  Stubborn marks may be rubbed lightly with a tooth brush to remove them. 

To treat mould and mildew on canvas try mixing diluted chlorine bleach (1 part White King to 4 parts water) to end up with 1% available chlorine.   Spray the diluted mixture on the mildew or mould and allow the canvas to dry in full sun.  Then hose the canvas down well to remove all the bleach and allow the canvas to once again dry in full sun before packing away.  It is possible that obstinate stains may not have been removed by the bleach but it should kill the mould and mildew spores.

The canvas awning should be treated from time to time by re-applying a water proofing compound which incorporates a mould and mildew inhibitor which is available from the manufacturer or caravan and camping stores.

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