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Help & Advice

Advice On Buying An Awning

Try to buy your awning long before you intend to go away, just in case there are delays in getting the awning you have chosen. We do try to dispatch all orders within 24-48 hours, but it's best to give yourself enough time to prepare.

Immediately check the contents of your awning box to ensure there are no parts missing or damaged. Read through the instructions and, if the awning has one, also examine the frame diagram before attempting to erect your awning.

Try to familiarise yourself with your new awning before you go on holiday, practice pitching it in your drive or where you store your caravan, if possible.

If you need any further help or advice before buying your awning, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Advice On Picking Your Awning

Choosing the right awning can be a daunting task, there are lots of different brands and dozens of different models to choose from. It is impossible to give you a definitive answer to picking the right awning for you, so we have given you a few simple common sense steps to follow and help narrow down your search.


What Is The Awning Going To Be Used For?

Generally speaking there are two different types of awnings; seasonal and non-seasonal. Seasonal awnings are usually made from higher quality polyester or an acrylic material and are designed for long term use, anywhere from 2 weeks up to 4-6 months.  Seasonal awnings are usually full size awnings, but some manufacturers offer seasonal porch awnings as well. 

Non-seasonal awning are usually made from polyester fabric, this means that non-seasonal awnings are generally lighter than their seasonal counterparts.  Non-seasonal awnings are generally used for weekends or short breaks (2-3 weeks) - some full size awnings as well as all lightweight and inflatable porches are classified as non-seasonal awnings.

 
Ease of Pitching

If you intend to go caravanning over weekends then you will be looking for an awning that pitches quickly. If this is the case lightweight or an inflatable porch awning would be recommended, as they are generally smaller & lighter as well as being much quicker to erect in comparison to a full size awning.
 
 
 
 Awning Fabrics


There are many types of awning fabrics available, but the three most popular are Acrylic, Ten-Cate Polyester and Lightweight Polyester.
 
Acrylic

Acrylic as it is sometimes known is the hardest wearing of all the materials used on awnings; however it is expensive, heavy and bulky when folded. The main advantage of acrylic though is that it has durability and the colour fades far slower than polyester based material.
 

Ten-Cate Polyester

Ten-Cate Polyester offers the best of both in terms of quality and cost, being lighter and cheaper than cotton but higher quality in comparison to acrylic awnings.  A major advantage of ten-cate polyester is that the material in inherently water resistant which means the awning can be used multiple times before needing to be reproofed.  Unfortunately this means the awning doesn’t breathe as well as acrylic and can be prone to condensation.
 

Lightweight Polyester

This is the lightest and generally cheapest material used in awning construction.  Most lightweight and inflatable awnings use this material. Like Ten-Cate polyester it is also inherently water resistant but can also be prone to condensation. Unlike Ten-Cate polyester awnings, lightweight polyester awnings are usually graded on their water resistance. This is usually referred to as their hydrostatic head and can range from 2000mm – 5000mm+ (2000mm – 5000mm+ of rainfall water ingress).

 
Water Resistance and Water Proofing


All awnings that we sell (unless otherwise stated) are water resistant to some degree depending on the material used in the construction of the awning.  Please note that when an awning is erected things on site may affect or remove the waterproofing applied to the canvas such as bird droppings, tree sap etc.


Frames


There are five main frame types available - Steel, Aluminium, Fibre Glass, Carbon Fibre and Air. Please note that not all awning manufacturers offer all types of frames, most awnings usually have a choice between 2-3.

Steel Frame

Steel is usually the standard style of frame available on most full size and standard porch awnings.  It is strong but can be quite heavy on larger awnings, this weight is not necessary a negative as it makes this style of frame ideal for seasonal use. Most steel frames are available with quick-lock clamps which helps reduce the time it takes to erect.
 

Aluminium Frame

An aluminium frame is a lighter frame in comparison to steel. We would advise to avoid this style of frame as it is not as strong as steel and poles can have a tendency to stick together.  This style of frame is best for touring or short breaks.
 

Fibreglass/Carbon Fibre

The lightest style of frame available (outside of air) for awnings.  Ideal for older customers or those who like to tour with their caravan, fibre and carbon fibre frames are generally about half the weight of steel frames.  Carbon fibre is as strong as steel whilst fibre is slightly weaker, but cheaper in comparison to carbon fibre.
 

Air Frame

The newest style of frame used in awnings and are usually large rubber tubes stitched into the awning itself and are quickly inflated using a hand pump.  This style of frame can drastically reduce the overall weight of the awnings and are very quick & easy to erect as no poles are involved.  These style of frames are ideal for touring use but we would recommend them for seasonal.
 

Ground Sheets


The vast majority of awnings, unlike tents, do not come with a sewn in groundsheet.  Two styles of groundsheet are available for awnings; breathable and non-breathable.  Non-breathable groundsheets are made from a heavy duty PVC material and are ideal for hard standing pitches.  Breathable groundsheets can be made from a variety of materials and are almost always requested when erecting an awning on a grass site – as they allow the grass to breath.
 

Advice On Looking After Your Awning

Cleaning Your Awning

The best way to clean your awning is to do it while it is still up. If you have an awning made from cotton material it is best that you do this on a dry day because once the awning has been cleaned it will have to dry and be re-proofed.

Check the awning for mildew or mould, if there is mildew this is a living organism which will have to be killed before it spreads and gets worse. The most efficient way to kill mildew is to use a sterilising solution like Milton. The solution should be mixed with water in a ratio of one part solution to ten parts water, once mixed try the solution on a hidden area of the awning material to check it is ok. The Milton solution may not completely remove the mildew marks but it will kill it and stop it spreading.

Mildew is formed when the awning is packed away wet and left, we will cover this later in 'How to store your awning’.

Once you are ready to clean the awning, choose a well-known specialist awning cleaner, there are several on the market but we use and recommend Storm Antibacterial Fabric Cleaner.

Follow the instructions on the bottle, but when cleaning your awning always try to do a complete section at a time, this helps to cut down the chances of missing bits and reduces the risk of getting tide marks. Never attempt to put your awning in the washing machine, tumble dryer, or clean it with anything other than a specialist cleaner or water.
 

Proofing your Awning

There is no exact rule as to when you should proof your awning. Some people do it every year, some every two years, and some leave it until the awning shows signs of leaking. If proofing your awning you should always clean the material first and then apply the water proofer. Like awning cleaners there are several on the market, again we use Storm Water Proofer, but choose one which is suitable for the type of awning you have.
When applying the proofer, follow the instructions carefully as each one requires different conditions for application. For example, some water based proofers require the awning to be damp when applying, while others like Storm require the awning to be dry. Each proofer also takes differing time to dry, please be patient and give the proofer the required time to dry, you will get a much more successful finish.
 

Packing Your Awning Away

Check the whole awning for any damage, the material itself, any  inner tents, zips, poles, pegs, guy ropes and ground sheet. If you do notice any damage to your awning please get in touch with us soon as you get home, some repairs may take time to carry out and you do not want to miss your next holiday because you forgot to get the damage fixed.

Clean off any excess dirt with a brush or cloth, clean your pegs and allow them to dry, clean and dry your poles, check your guy ropes are not frayed and are dry, and ensure your zips run freely. Zips are prone to sticking when they are packed up; there are specialist zip lubricants available if needed. It is best to clean and dry the underside of your ground sheet.


How to store your Awning

Never pack your awning away when wet! If you have to do so, make sure you dry the awning as soon as you get home. If you arrive home and it is still raining then dry it indoors or pitch the tent anyway, it will be alright up in the rain, but if it is left in the bag wet it will gather mildew and rot.
If you do not use your awning for a long time it is prudent to open it up and erect if possible to give it a good airing and check everything is ok.

 

How To Measure Your Caravan For an Awning

There are two ways to measure your caravan for awning depending on the type of awning you are interested in.


Full Size Awning

For measuring for a full size awning take a long piece (10m+) of string and thread it through your awning rail.  It is easier if you peg or nail the string into the ground before you start.  After threading the string through the rail take it down to the ground – take the measurement of the string from ground -> awning rail -> ground in centimetres, this give you your caravans A-measurement.  Compare this size to the sizes of awning available to see which size is suitable.


Porch Awning

Easier to measure than a full size awning you simply need a tape measure and your caravan.  Measure the straight section of your awning rail in centimetres making sure to account for doors, windows and lockers.  We recommend avoiding having a porch awning stop part way over a window as this may cause sealing issues as well as possibly damage your caravans’ window. Once you have measured this length compare it to the measurements listed on our website for the specific porch awning you are interested in.
 

Please make sure you measure your caravan as accurately as possible before buying an awning for it. If you are not sure how to measure your caravan, or if you need some advice on buying the right awnings for it, please contact us for further advice.