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You’ve heard us say it before… replacing awning and slide topper fabric is just about our favorite DIY RV project. That’s because it saves a lot of $$, yields better results, and is easier than it looks (when you know how… which we’ll show you, of course)!

The whole idea of being a DIY RVer is that we handle as many of our own maintenance, repair and update projects as we can. One of the worst situations we can imagine is getting a repair bill from an RV shop, and having the epiphany that we could have done the job ourselves for a LOT less. After all, labor is usually the lion’s share of most RV repairs.

In those instances where you’re unable to take on a particular project yourself, you should have the consolation of knowing that the job was done by a pro, so at least you got the most professional results possible, right? Well… not always.

Slide topper and awning fabric replacement is one of those things where the planets generally align against you in almost every way if you pay an RV shop to do it. Here’s why:

  • The cost of labor goes from zero to about a bazillion dollars an hour (well, it seems like it anyway).
  • Shops almost always use OEM (original equipment) fabric, which is:
    • More expensive than other options (like Tough Top Awnings material)
    • Oh, how to say this diplomatically…. low-quality CR@P! Why do you think it failed in the first place? Not to name names, but Carefree must use the worst fabrics on the planet. And A&E is right behind them. The idea of paying more for it, and for the labor to install it, is… distasteful.
    • Not always readily available, so it has to be ordered, with long lead times being pretty common.
  • It requires an appointment in a specific location (us full-timers hate having to lock into being in an exact place and time, possibly weeks or more in advance).
  • You have to be out of your rig (again, anathema to full-timers… the waiting room in an RV shop is to be avoided like the plague)!
  • You’ll find out later… maybe after watching this video ;-) … that you could have done it yourself.
  • You have to look at yourself in the mirror after leaving the shop with your expensive-but-inferior new awning or slide toppers knowing that your DIY RVer cred is now at serious risk!

Seriously, you don’t have to be a super-capable DIYer to replace your own fabric. It’s just not that hard to do, and very rewarding, since it appears difficult… until you’ve done it.

We know that not every RVer is confident, competent or physically able to replace their own awning or slide topper fabric. But even they probably have friends who could do it for them for the cost of some pizza & beer (after the installation please)!

Bottom line… friends don’t let friends pay an RV shop for awning or slide topper replacement.

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Sometimes we receive products for evaluation at no cost and may use affiliate links to the products and services from which we earn commissions. For example, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. That said, it's important to us to let you know that our opinions are our own. We only recommend products we believe deliver real value and that we can confidently recommend without reservation. You also won’t pay an extra penny by using our links. Thanks so much for supporting RVgeeks as we work to create helpful RVing-related content that we hope enhances your RVing life!

Even though we're handy RVers, we're not professional technicians. So although we're happy with the techniques and products we use, you should be sure to confirm that all methods and materials are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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