How to Install an RV Awning

What You'll Need
Tape measure
RV awning

Depending on where you vacation, an RV awning is not a luxury but a necessity. An RV awning offers shade from the sun and protection from the rain. Some RVs come with a preinstalled awning, others with dealer-installed. If yours didn't, you can install an RV awning yourself. You should use a partner when installing your awning. If your RV is especially large, you would might even want two or three additional people.

Step 1 — Accurately Measure

Accurately measuring your motor home is the most essential part of installing your awning. The most important measurement isn’t the length, but rather the space available for the awning. Some 40-foot RVs can only accommodate a 16-foot awning. Why is this? The mobile home may contain a number of storage compartments or windows. The awning needs to be placed in an area free of such components so that it doesn’t interfere with proper use of the RV. Otherwise the awning could be damaged.

You will attach the top of the RV awning to the top of your mobile home. This will be your high point. For the best measurement, you should measure from the ground all the way to the high point. This number represents your height measurement. Measuring the width can be a bit tricky. You want to measure the widest point where there are no obstructing components. This measurement represents your width. 

When measuring for the RV awning, make sure that the desired position is free from obstructions along the bottom the RV. The brackets for the awning will run along the bottom of the RV, so this area will also have to be clear.   

Step 2 — Attach the RV Awning

Attach the railing to the top of the RV. If you have taken proper measurements, you should find this task rather simple. Most RV awnings come with the necessary hardware to attach the awning. Follow the directions to complete this task. Only use a drill if you are an expert. If you strip the screws while drilling, the awning will be less secure. If in doubt, you should use a screwdriver and elbow grease. 

Next pull the awning all the way out and adjust the tension. Then pull down the support legs and mark where they will hit against the bottom of the RV. This is where you will attach the bottom brackets. 

Step 3 — Test and Adjust the RV Awning

Once the bottom brackets are in place, you can set the support arms and check to make sure the awning is working properly. Roll it and unroll it a few times. If you discover a problem with the tension, adjust it with the tension knobs located on each side of the awning. Once the awning is working to your liking, you’re all finished.