Can You Mount an Awning to Roof Rails

Can You Mount an Awning to Roof Rails : Only in 6 Steps

Last Updated on August 1, 2022

Adding an awning to your RV requires drilling some holes in the body of the vehicle, so you might not wish to do that. This would result in scratched spots on your RV’s body as well as a lengthy project.

You might think it’s better to put the canopy on the roof rails. But can you mount an awning to roof rails? Be sure you know the correct answer before you try to do it on your own.

We will share with you the information that enables you to determine whether an awning can be mounted to roof rails on your RV or not.

Can You Mount an Awning to Roof Rails? Get the Right Answer

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You can mount an awning on your RV’s roof rails. When the tent is properly attached to the RV roof rails, it provides additional support and stability for the awning.

This is especially important in high winds or other inclement weather conditions. Attaching the awning to the RV’s roof framework also helps to maintain the integrity of the vehicle’s paint job or other exterior features.

A properly attached canopy will be level and properly positioned when you set it up, providing you with a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.

What Types of Awnings can be Installed on RV Roof Rails?

Only ARB awning or manual pop-up awning is suitable for RV or sprinter van roof rails. They should be constructed from fabric such as vinyl or acrylic so that they can be retracted when you are ready to leave.

Make sure the awning is supported using poles. Other types of awnings, such as motorized or automatic models, cannot be mounted on the roof rails of RVs.

There are several reasons for this. The additional weight of the motor and other components would put too much strain on these rails. With an automatic or motorized canopy, there are arms on each side that can be slid out, which are not available with a roof rack.

Furthermore, fixed awnings are not compatible with roof rails, as they cannot be retracted and would interfere with driving.

How to Mount an Awning to RV Roof Rails? Step-by-Step Guide

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As you know that you can attach a rack awning to a roof rail of an RV, now is the time to learn how you can do that. The process is not difficult, but it requires some tools and materials that you might not have on hand.

To complete this project, it is necessary to use a drill to make holes. A pencil or marker is also required for marking the drill hole, and the U-shaped brackets that will be attached to the rails.

It is also necessary to obtain two L-shaped brackets which are used to mount the tent to the roof rails. You will also need two flat metal plates that will be mounted on the underside of the L-shaped brackets.

Verify that the holes in these plates align with the holes in the L-bracket. Gather a few nuts, bolts, and washers to secure the brackets in place.

It is important that the bolts are long enough to go through the layers of metal and the thickness of the hole. To tighten everything, you will need two wrenches.

A step ladder is equally necessary for reaching the top of your RV. Finally, you will require an awning that is the correct size for your RV. Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you are now prepared to begin.

Step 01: Park Your RV in a Level Spot

Before you begin, it’s important to make sure your RV is parked on a flat surface. As a result, your RV will not move while you are working on it, enabling you to affix the awning easily.

Once you have found a level spot, turn off the engine and set the parking brake. Doing so will further prevent your RV from moving. You can place blocks under the tires for added safety.

Step 02: Mark the Rails for Drilling

The next step is to indicate where the rails should be drilled. You will need to decide how far away from the edge of the roof you want the awning to be.

We recommend that you leave at least eight inches of space to avoid the destruction of gutters or trim. When you have decided on the placement, take the ladder and climb up to the top of the RV.

Take the L-shaped brackets and hold them against the roof bar. Use a marker or pencil to mark the point where you should drill holes. A bracket typically has three or four holes. Repeat the procedure for the other side of the RV.

Step 03: Drill the Holes

Once you have marked where the holes will be drilled, it is time to start drilling the holes. It is more convenient to use cordless drills for this task. If you don’t have a cordless drill, you can use a power drill that is connected to an extension cord.

Remember to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the lag screws you will be using. By doing so, you can ensure a tight fit and prevent the screws from stripping the threads as you drill.

Try to keep the drill bit perpendicular to the rail as possible to create clean, straight holes. With the holes drilled, you are now ready to move on to the next step.

Step 04: Attach the L-Shaped Brackets

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After drilling the holes, you must then secure the mounting brackets. Begin by holding the bracket and flat metal plate in place against the RV roof racks.

Make sure that the long portion of the bracket is connected to the rail. After you have the bracket positioned correctly, you will need to secure it with bolts.

It is important to use washers on both sides of the awning bracket. The washers will distribute the force evenly and prevent the brackets from tearing through the roof. Use the wrenches to tighten the bolts.

Repeat the process on each side of the RV. Once the brackets have been installed, let us take the flat metal U-shaped brackets and place them over the L-shaped bracket.

Using the same method, secure the mounting bracket in place with washers and bolts. This will ensure a more sturdy connection.

Step 05: Attach the Awning

It is now necessary to attach the awning. Take the tent and position it on the L-shaped brackets. They should be positioned in the middle of the brackets.

Use the bolts to secure the canopy to the brackets once it has been installed. At this point, you may need a friend to help you hold the awning in place while you bolt it down. Once the structure is secure, you can continue.

Step 06: Test the Awning

In the final step, the awning will be tested to ensure that it is installed correctly. Simply open the zip ties that secure the canopy in position. The awning can now be opened to its full extent.

Set the poles in place and ensure that the awning is taut. If everything looks good, you can close the tent and zip ties back in place.

You have now successfully installed the awning on your RV’s roof rails. This will provide you with additional shade and protection when you are parked.

Be sure to practice opening and closing the tent a few times before traveling. Thus, you will be familiar with the process and will be able to do it quickly if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Many people have questions regarding awnings. In this section, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. How Do I Clean My RV Awning?

The first step is to gather your supplies. For this job, you will need a ladder, a brush, a hose, and some mild soap. If you have an RV with awning fabric that is especially stained, you may also need a cleaning agent designed for canvas or vinyl.

4244 Once you have your supplies, it’s time to get to work. Start by using the brush to remove any loose particles from the surface of the awning. Then, using the hose, thoroughly wet down the canopy.

Next, apply your soap of choice (either mild dish soap or a specialized RV cleaner) and scrub the fabric with a sponge or brush. When you’ve removed all the stains, rinse the awning off with clean water.

Finally, allow the awning to air dry completely before retracting it. With just a little elbow grease, you can keep your RV’s awning clean and looking like new.

2. How Do I Prevent My Awning from Flapping in the Wind?

You should ensure that your canopy is securely attached so that it does not blow away in the wind. To achieve this, check that the awning is tightly secured against the house and that the support poles are securely attached.

A weighted bottom for the awning may also be advantageous, such as sandbags or water jugs. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your awning stays put in even the strongest winds.

3. What Wind Speed Is Too Much for an Awning?

Most awnings can withstand up to around a 5 on the Beaufort scale, which equates to wind speeds of 29-38 km/h. However, if you have a higher-end retractable awning, it may be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 6 Beaufort or 39-49 km/h.

4244 ATherefore, before extending or retracting your awning in windy conditions, it’s important to know the wind speed and ensure that it’s within the safe limit for your particular awning. Doing so will enable your awning to remain in good condition for extended periods of time.

4. Can I Leave My RV Awning Out In the Snow?

Your RV awning should not be left exposed in the winter. Snow is heavy, and the weight can weaken the fabric or cause it to collapse. It may also cause rusting and other deterioration to the awning’s metal components.

If you must leave your RV in the snow, it’s advisable to retract the awning and cover it with a tarp or some other type of protective covering.

Related Article: What type of paint do you use on RV awnings?


It is hoped that the question “can you mount an awning to roof rails” has been clarified. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to install an awning on your RV with no trouble.

Just be sure to take your time and double-check all of your work before hitting the road. With a little bit of effort, you can enjoy the many benefits that an awning has to offer.

Don’t forget to clean and maintain your awning on a regular basis to keep it in good condition.

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