rv awning

Why do you need an Awning for your RV? Do you want to know how much it will cost to have one installed? Read on!

In this post you will know about:

  • What an awning is and why does a recreational vehicle (RV) need it
  • RV awning cost and installation charges
  • Recommendations and tips

If you are an avid traveler and own an RV or just starting to appreciate the RV life and want to buy one, this piece is for you.

RV awnings come in different makes and sizes so you can find compatible awnings for any type of RV or mobile home. Smaller RV awnings can be used as an overhead canopy for doors and windows while larger ones can cover an entire side of an RV. The really big ones can provide a camper with an extra living space or patio that can be deployed anywhere.

Ready to learn more?

rv awning

Let’s dig in and explore RV awnings in more detail.

Why do you need an RV awning

If your RV is not equipped with an awning, having one installed is a good investment. Awnings are essential RV components especially for extended camping and long tours. Let’s list the advantages of an RV awning.

Advantages of having an RV awning

  1. Having awnings on each side of an RV will help shade the doors and windows from the heat, provide UV ray and glare protection.
  2. A good quality awning will also protect the RV occupants from strong rain should the windows be left open.
  3. It can act as a patio for outdoor activities or a relaxing outdoor nap.
  4. Keeps the interior of the RV cool by keeping heat out by shielding the inside from direct sunlight.
  5. It can help gain privacy by acting as window-shade.
  6. Keeps air conditioning cost down.

These are the reasons to have an RV awning installed. But, there some drawbacks too. Here are a few to consider.

Disadvantages of having an RV awning

  1. If the awning is not strong and sturdy, strong winds can damage the fabric and/or frame, possibly causing damage to the RV exterior.
  2. Requires cleaning and may require maintenance to prevent mold and mildew from growing on the awning. Some fabrics have long warranties against mold and mildew.
  3. Some campers might forget to retract the awning before driving off. This could cause harm to others and damage the awning and RV.

RV awnings provide protection and privacy but add

minor maintenance costs and operational responsibility

rv awning

RV awning types

Before we tackle the RV awning cost let’s first look at the various types of awnings available for RVs. The type of material used and the mechanism for retracting the awning are the main drivers of the cost. Note that most retailers sell RVs or motorhomes with awnings, check with your supplier which model is equipped with RV awnings.

RV awning types according to materials

1. Solution Dyed Acrylic Awnings

A common material for manufacturing awnings. This is also one of the most affordable. Solution dyed acrylic RV awnings are water resistant and will dry easily if left extended until dry.

2. Vinyl Awnings

Almost the same look and feel as a solution dyed acrylic RV awning and may have more UV protection. . It may be more durable but does retain a lot of heat defeating the main reason most buy RV awnings.

3. Other Fabric Awnings

Not commonly used for RV awnings due to the lightweight material. Easily blown off by the outdoor wind, but can easily be retracted and stored making it a good choice for small RVs and mobile homes.

rv awning

RV awning types according to mechanism or make

1. Slide out retractable awnings

Like a pull-down window shade, the slide-out awning is normally placed on most sides of an RV. Upon parking, the awning can be pulled and slid out to create shade or canopy.

2. Fixed or permanent awnings

These are installed above the door or windows. Usually made from the same material as the exterior of an RV or an equivalent. This offers continuous cover from the elements even when mobile.

3. Automatic or Mechanized (Motorized) awnings

The setup that deploys or retracts an awning by pressing a wall switch or a remote. Retraction time is also faster compared to manual type. It’s the easiest to use and will take more time to install. Does not require maintenance of motorized parts as motors are self-lubricating. Support frames and mechanical systems may be too heavy for very small RVs.

4. Shelter type or Patio type awnings

A tent-like awning that can be deployed to create another living area or extend the RV canopy. Made from canvas, fabric or any foldable material. Some models are large canopy types but some models are almost like a room, complete with walls, a door, and windows. This is the most complicated one to deploy due to its size and weight.

The variety of materials to use, the type of deployment

and the mechanism are all factors in RV awning cost calculation

rv awning

How much does an RV awning cost?

There a lot of choices to choose from when installing an RV awning. The average cost of RV awnings may be between a few hundred dollars for simple setups to thousands of dollars for complex ones. To help you decide which type you will purchase, we prepared a table comparing the RV awning cost for each RV awning type. This includes installation cost and the basic setup. Accessories like optional floor mats and rain guards are not included.

RV Awning TypeSize*Cost**
Slide Out / Manual RetractableSmall (2 feet x 3 feet)$500
Medium (4 feet x 8 feet)$1,000
Large (6 feet x 15 feet)$1,500
Fixed or PermanentSmall (2 feet x 3 feet)$250
Medium (4 feet x 8 feet)$500

Automatic / Mechanized (Motorized) and Retractable
Small (2 feet x 3 feet)$1,500
Medium (4 feet x 8 feet)$2,000
Large (6 feet x 15 feet)$3,500
Shelter or PatioMedium (4 feet x 8 feet)$1,500
Large (6 feet x 15 feet)$2,500

* Shelter and patio type RV awnings don’t come in small sizes.

** Cost may vary depending on the material used, but the cost difference between a fabric, vinyl, solution dyed acrylic or canvas awning is generally not significant.

RV awning installation price

A substantial portion of an RV awning price is due to the cost to install an RV awning. Below is a breakdown of cost based on awning size and mechanism type.

  • A small RV awning is for windows and doors
  • A medium RV awning is generally for side deployment
  • A large RV awning is for patio type deployment
TypeSizeInstallation Cost
Non-MechanizedLabor cost = $60 per hour per personDuration = 3 hoursSmall (2 feet x 3 feet)$180
Medium (4 feet x 8 feet)$360
Large (6 feet x 15 feet)$540
Mechanized*Labor cost = $90 per hour per personDuration = 5 hoursSmall (2 feet x 3 feet)$450**
Medium (4 feet x 8 feet)$900
Large (6 feet x 15 feet)$1,350

RV awning installation cost of mechanized or motorized models are more expensive due to the need for adjusting the limit switches and settings on the motor. A licensed electrician is not needed for a motorized awning as nowadays the motors from most motor manufacturers are shipped with a cord and standard molded plug for either a 110v or 220v outlet.

Other considerations

DIY installations of non-mechanized (manual) RV awnings can save you as much as $180 to $540 on labor cost. Due to the non-complexity of a mechanized electric motorized RV awning, we do recommend a DIY installation. If you purchased RV awning kits from a local hardware or camping stores, chances are you would need to hire an installer.

If you are considering installing an RV awning as a DIY project, please note the following:

  • Incorrect installation will not only damage the awning but can also damage the body and exterior of the RV, motorhome, camper or mobile home
  • Aesthetics may be affected if the awning was installed in a crooked or uneven way
  • Need for power tools and protective gear
  • Measure everything accurately to avoid incorrectly drilling holes in the RV
  • If you can’t buy locally, shipping cost may be high due to the large size and weight of RV awnings but
  • Buying out of State is a savings since most like you will not have to pay local or state sales tax

DIY is still possible but you have to pay attention to details and that the awning mechanism is  installed correctly. Otherwise, saving on labor cost may lead to more costs due to errors and mishaps

Final thoughts

We discussed all RV awning types available and their cost. Picking one should be easy now that we laid out the details for each type. But for your money, you can’t go wrong with a retractable RV awning. It’s easy to deploy when parking your RV, motorhome, camper or mobile home and it’s easy to pack up or retract when moving to another area.
If you plan to install or upgrade to a retractable RV awning, we recommend that you check with professional RV awning installers and request quotations. Request pricing on a manual or mechanized (motorized/electric) RV awning to see which fits your budget. Lastly, check user reviews on our website to get only the most professional and experienced RV awning installers and companies available.