Awnings are a great way of having an added space outside of your RV, motorhome or campervan. These spaces are great for adding a place for dogs to sleep, store bikes, chairs and other equipment you wish not to bring into your motorhome.
While Fiamma awnings are technically waterproof they are advertised and recommended for using as sun protection. They can however be used in the rain to provide an extra cover and space. You must check that the awning is dry and clear of debris before putting away for a long period of time.
In this article we are going to be talking about Fiamma awnings, if they are waterproof and how to use them even when it is raining.
Can You Make Fiamma Awnings Waterproof?
While Fiamma awnings are technically considered waterproof, the company officially recommends they not be used in the rain. In fact, the Fiamma awning instruction manuals go so far as to note that they were created for sun protection and not for rain protection.
However, many owners use them regularly in the rain without any issues. After all, the ability to provide cover from the rain is one of the main reasons RVers buy an awning in the first place.
Therefore, you may be seeking for ways to make your Fiamma awning even more water-resistant. Almost any material can be made more resilient in rainy weather with the right products, care and techniques.
So what do other RVers do with their awnings in the rain? How can you protect your Fiamma awning from storms and even make the material more waterproof?
Read on to discover the top ways to make Fiamma awnings waterproof for use in the rain.
How To Make Fiamma Awnings Waterproof?
If you plan on using your Fiamma awnings in wet weather conditions including rain or snow, you’ll want to take a few extra steps to ensure your awning and all of its parts are properly protected.
With the right attention given to the care of your Fiamma awning, it will last you much longer than if you leave it out during every storm without any thought given to best techniques, proper storage, and any additional accessories that could help.
Let’s review some of these strategies and tips below:
Proper Care In Rainy Weather
There are a few hacks that other RVers have discovered in order to keep their Fiamma awning in great shape even in rainy weather. Learn from them and take proper care of your awning in rainy weather.
If wet conditions are expected, lower one corner of the awning by at least a few inches so that water has a better way to drain off the awning without collecting on top. This is a crucial step to protect your awning and you will want to ensure you do this every time it rains. This is because letting too much water pool in the middle could collapse your awning.
Water can be heavy, and even the most waterproof awning on the market can’t withstand gallons of water collecting on top with no place to go. This simple step can save you much trouble.
When it comes time to roll in your awning, try to let it dry first before rolling it back in. If you must roll it in wet in order to get back on the road, be sure to let it roll out again at the next opportunity in order to dry thoroughly. Storing your Fiamma awning while it is wet will lead to a shorter lifespan of the product and could cause damage to other parts of your equipment.
Avoid Mold & Mildew
In addition to potentially damaging any metal equipment, frequently rolling your Fiamma awning in while it is wet could also allow for mold and mildew to grow on your awning. As mentioned, you will want to allow your awning to dry out as much as possible before rolling it up and storing it away.
Another way to prevent mold and mildew from forming is to wash your awning often. You must be proactive about this, however, because once stains have begun to form, they can be next to impossible to remove. If you can, give your awning a thorough washing if it has been stored away and exposed to moisture for more than a day or two.
It should go without saying that the best way to deal with mold and mildew is always to prevent them from forming in the first place.
Consider Storm Damage
When it comes to protecting your Fiamma awning, rain and moisture are not the only thing you need to be aware of. You should be advised that with many storms come high winds, which could also damage your Fiamma awning.
Some RVers like to secure their awning with additional measures such as nylon ratchet straps attached to rebar stakes.
Fiamma also carries tie-down straps and plates for your awning legs that make a great solution to windy weather. Taking the extra step to secure your awning will help protect it from mild to moderate winds and bring you a great peace of mind during rainy weather.
However, if heavy thunderstorms with hail and high winds are in the forecast, consider going ahead and rolling your awning in. Many travelers also recommend putting your awning away during rainy weather if you will not be around – just in case storm conditions quickly worsen while you are gone.
Likewise, it is also a good idea to roll your Fiamma awning in at night if rain is in the forecast.
This is because it only takes one gust of wind to permanently damage your awning, and you may not notice how bad conditions have gotten during the night while you are sleeping. Under high wind conditions, even the best awning can easily tear or snap, leaving you out thousands of dollars. In addition, no type of awning is a match for hail.
Don’t even bother putting your awning to test on this one. If hail is in the forecast, go ahead and roll ‘er up!
So with all that said, the consensus among the RVing community seems to be – when in doubt – roll it in.
Protect Your Awning’s Rolling Mechanism
As mentioned above, if you plan on keeping your Fiamma awning deployed during periods of snow or rain, the awning itself isn’t the only feature you need to think about. Your awning’s rolling mechanism and other metal parts will also be exposed to water and therefore must be protected to ensure proper functioning.
Rust can be unsightly, lead to loud squeaking with the use of your equipment, and even prevent your awning from working correctly over time.
One of the most popular and most effective ways to ensure your awning’s metal equipment is protected from excessive moisture and rain is to spray silicon on the awning’s rolling mechanism.
Applying silicon helps to waterproof these important elements of your awning. This can be done a few times a year at the start of every season, or more often if you live in an especially rainy climate.
This tip also works for any other exposed metal parts that you don’t want developing rust from exposure to the elements.
Consider A Fiamma Rain Guard
This optional Fiamma accessory is especially helpful if you plan on purchasing the additional walls to convert your Fiamma awning into an outdoor privacy room. The Fiamma Rain Guard helps to seal the space between your awning and your vehicle in order to prevent water from infiltrating.
It is available in various sizes and can be easily installed to your awning case without removing the awning.
Budget-savvy RVers have also found ways to duplicate the job of the Fiamma Rain Guard for pennies with materials such as foam, weatherstripping or even a pool noodle. So if you don’t mind a DIY job, you can give one of those solutions a try.
Use Waterproofing Spray
Perhaps the best way to prepare your Fiamma awning for the elements is to apply an extra layer or two of a waterproofing spray meant for making fabrics more water-resistant. This can be done quite easily and inexpensively with a bottle of waterproof spray like this one from Home Depot.
These sprays help to repel water without affecting the breathability of the fabric as well as to prevent mold and mildew from growing on your awning. As an added bonus, they also help prevent UV damage.
To waterproof your awning, you will want to start by cleaning your awning thoroughly with a brush and clean water. After you have allowed it to completely dry, you can begin to apply the product.
Be sure you apply the spray in a well ventilated area and do not hold the spray too close to the material. If you will be applying the spray in a closed area, wear a face mask for protection.
Be sure to evenly coat all areas of the awning with the waterproofing spray for the best results. Most manufacturers recommend applying 2-3 coats with a period of drying in-between each coat. Waterproofing can be applied about once a year, depending on how often you use your awning.