Question: I recently had a topper installed over my slide out which is 154″ wide. Rain water collects in the topper and weights it down. What can I do to stop this?
Answer: One solution is to place something under the awning topper to keep it from sagging when water accumulates on it. We’ve heard of some innovative ideas like using balloons, an inflated beach ball, foam rubber wedges, swimming noodles, etc.
Another thing you could do after a hard rain is to close and open the slide to get the water off the topper.
You may also want to make sure the tension is adjusted correctly. It might help to try to wind the awning topper tighter. You will have to contact the manufacturer to see if you can do this.
A few years ago we saw, in a magazine, a homemade PVC frame that would slide under the topper to keep it from sagging down onto the top of the slide. It was a simple thing which also provided a small amount of slope to keep water from accumulating on the topper and slide roof. We’ve tried to search online for the article, but have not been successful. We probably read it in a magazine from one of our RV Clubs.
In any case, here is an example of what we are trying to describe. Let’s assume your slide out topper is 154 inches long x 36 inches deep by 5 inches high. You could make a PVC frame that is 150 inches long x 36 inches deep. The height would vary depending on whether the topper has a slope or is flat. If it has a slope then the height in the back would be 5 inches and the height in the front would be the height of the topper where it attaches to the slide out. If the topper has no slope then I would make one end of the frame slightly taller than the other to create a slope. Since the slide out is almost 13 feet long I would add supports every 3 feet. If you do not glue the parts together you can easily store the frame when traveling.
Another idea I’ve read about (see page 17 of this link – http://www.beaveramb.org/PDF/BeaverTalesSummer%202012WEB.pdf) is to make a series of holes in the fabric where you know that water accumulates and let it drain onto the top of the slide out. The holes were 1/8 inch in diameter and there were 20 or 30 of these small holes. The theory is that the awning topper is only there to keep out debris and dirt not to keep water off the top of the slide out.
we probably would not do this if it were our RV, especially if it were new. However, it is a lot easier than constantly having to get up on a ladder to slide something under the awning, not to mention having to remember to take it down before you retract the slide – very important!
Let us know what you come up with. Other suggestions welcome and appreciated.