Cheap grommet can save your day – and your awning

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

RV principles to live by: If rain is in the offing, tilt your awning; if serious rain is in the offing, roll up your awning. We had an unfortunate experience in Tennessee one spring night. We went to bed with our awning deployed and a fair tilt set into it. In the night a huge downpour blew through the area and even the tilt didn’t save us. In the morning we had to practically do a contortionist routine to get out the door — the awning fell right over it. Awning support arms, normally straight, were bent and pushed right into the ground. reader Wolfe Rose sent us his take on this precipitous situation, which we’re happy to share with one and all.

“I once got caught in a freak downpour with my awning out back at camp, and sure enough gathered 200+ gallons in a badly bowed awning before I could correct it. Just to be able to retract the precarious “bathtub” I carefully hole punched the awning to drain and then installed a large tarp grommet to prevent tearing. As I watched the awning draining, it made me wonder why the manufacturer never thought to put any drainage whatsoever on the easily bellied awning, when this is a common RV mistake.

“After a new awning was installed back home, I preemptively grommeted the new one, and intentionally left it out while watching it in the next bad rainstorm. The grommet easily kept up, but now dropped a garden hose stream of water. With a roomy full-length awning, I don’t mind that drop zone, but a redirect along the underside, or even actual hose fitting, could be fashioned if I did.

“This solution doesn’t help in high winds or the general wisdom to take in the awning when you can, but a 50-cent grommet is cheap insurance if it saves a $1,000 awning.”

Oh, how we wish we had Wolfe’s suggestion in place when our freak rain caught us. As it was, we had to hire an RV repair firm to come out and cut down (and cart away) the demolished awning. Happily, our insurance company was gracious enough to cover the losses. Nevertheless, a 50-cent grommet would sure have spared us a lot of misery.

Thanks, Wolfe!