Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Caravan Costs: Awnings

Caravanning, despite being the budget option for many UK holidaymakers, has a number of expenses associated with getting started. Even with cheap caravans for sale from the used market, you’re going to be shelling out a few grand. Once you’ve bought the caravan, the costs don’t stop there. There are a number of accessories that you will need to invest in to personalize and improve your caravan holiday experience. Heaters, generators, new fittings – they all add up. And with inclement weather a perennial near-certainty, an awning is one of the most important outlays.

As any caravan owner knows, a good awning effectively doubles your living space. They are complex, mechanical constructions costing anywhere from £300 to £2000 and more. Setting up your awning on holiday is not difficult, but it’s essential that you protect your investment with some good maintenance practices.

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Photo Copyright: That's how it's done, courtesy of Tim Regan
The best time to give your awning a good clean is when it is erected. This way, it will be much easier to get into each nook and cranny. Most awnings on the market can be perfectly well cleaned using any soft brush and plenty of warm water. Stay away from bleach and other abrasive cleaning fluids – they may damage the waterproof coating. Use a hose with a nozzle and spray water evenly across the canvas, loosening dirt with the brush as you go. Pay special attention to the most exposed parts of the awning, such as the roof. Do this twice a year to prevent permanent dirt stains.

The pegs and poles that support the awning are just as important to maintain. Clean the mud off the pegs regularly, but be sure to replace any that are damaged as you come across them. The poles just require shaking out to remove sand and grit. Also, check the joints and fixings. If you are using metal poles rather than fiberglass, you will need to give them a yearly polish with car wax or silicone furniture polish to prevent corrosion.

Once back home from your caravan trip, unpack your awning to give it an air-dry – this will prevent mildew. If you have a large, clean, dry garage, keep it open in there until it is bone dry. Then repack it. Remember to dry out the bag you are storing it in as well. Store the awning in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of vermin such as mice.

Check out the Park Resorts website for more tips and advice on caravans and caravan accessories. If you’re looking for holiday inspiration then they’re great for that too – they manage a number of Isle of Wight holiday parks and various others, all across the UK.

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