How to repair awning fabric

Written by louise harding
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How to repair awning fabric
Most awning fabrics are vinyl or acrylic. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Awnings have long been methods of sun protection and cooling for business and residential buildings. According to U.S. National Park Service preservation experts, canvas duck was popular in the earlier half of the 1900s, but was replaced by vinyl after World War II. The 1960s saw production of many synthetic materials used in awning construction. Today, awnings on homes and recreational vehicles can be made from vinyl, canvas or acrylic-based fabrics. Most fabric repairs can be accomplished with the appropriate patching material.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Adhesive vinyl repair patches
  • Vinyl repair tape, 3 inches wide
  • Waterproof iron-on fabric patches
  • Scissors
  • Alcohol
  • Rags
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Awl or needle
  • Flame or stove
  • Commercial awning fabric cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Bucket
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Garden hose

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    Repairing Rips

  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the rip, using a tape measure or ruler. Add 1 inch to each measurement to determine the patch size. Canvas awnings require fabric patches; for an acrylic or vinyl awning, use adhesive-backed vinyl repair patches or repair tape.

  2. 2

    Cut a patch of the appropriate material to the patch measurements, using scissors.

  3. 3

    Stretch the awning flat. Pour alcohol onto a rag and wipe it across the ripped area to it. Clean both sides of the area. Allow the alcohol to dry.

  4. 4

    Remove the patch backing. Center the patch over the rip and press it into place. If using repair tape, centre the tape over the rip and press the tape to the awning. Cut off the excess tape.

  5. 5

    Turn the awning over. Repeat Step 4 to cover the back of the rip. If you have a canvas awning, proceed to Step 6.

  6. 6

    Lay the ripped area of a canvas awning over an ironing board. Center the fabric patch over the rip and press it onto the fabric with an iron.

    Repairing Small Holes in Acrylic Fabric

  1. 1

    Heat an awl or a needle carefully over a flame or stove.

  2. 2

    Touch the hole in the awning fabric with the hot awl. The heat will melt the acrylic, causing the frays around the hole to fuse so it cannot grow larger, according to preservation experts at the National Park Service.

  3. 3

    Allow the fabric to cool. Apply a vinyl adhesive patch over the hole edges to strengthen the repair.

    Repairing Mildew or Mold Damage

  1. 1

    Stretch the awning flat. Spray both sides with an awning cleaner formulated for fighting mould and mildew. Allow the cleaner to saturate the awning for about 20 minutes so it has time to break down mildew and mould spores.

  2. 2

    Fill a bucket with a solution of warm water and liquid dish detergent. Dip a scrub brush into the soapy water and scrub the awning on both sides to remove mould or mildew stains and growth.

  3. 3

    Rinse the awning with a garden hose to remove soap and cleaner residue. Allow the awning to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Transparent or coloured patches are available at fabric and home-improvement stores.
  • Recreational vehicle awnings are usually made of vinyl or acrylic, while patio awnings are sometimes constructed of canvas, according to Mid-State RV Center.
  • Always close the awning when not in use -- weight from water and wind gusts can damage awning fabric, according to Mid-State RV Center.
  • Use caution when heating metal to avoid burns and injuries.
  • Never use oil-based cleaners or cleaners containing abrasive properties on your awning fabric.

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