Essential accessories for comfort on board, boat bimini top have a fundamental function: they protect us from the sun at sea, both when sailing and during stops at anchor or in port.
Imagine you are at sea, in a boat or dinghy and have no other protection from the sun than the awning. There may also be children on board. It's easy to see how important it is to enhance the onboard experience by relying on an adequately sized and quality awning.
With components designed and built to withstand the marine environment, there may be times when an awning needs to be replaced after constant exposure to the elements such as salt, sun and wind.
The lifespan of this accessory is also greatly affected by improper or lack of maintenance, as well as the good quality of the materials from which it is made.
The Right Check: Repair or Replacement?
How can you tell when an awning needs to be replaced?
In reality, a damaged awning does not always have to be replaced automatically. It all depends on the extent of the damage and the possibilities of its elimination, as well as the convenience and ease of the repair itself. Other factors to consider are the age of the component and actual usage during the season.
In this guide we want to explain in detail how to carry out this important check of the awning, how to intervene in some repairs or whether it is really the most definitive and expensive solution, namely replacing the entire assembly or simply a single item .
The three components to check on the awning
The awnings are made up of three different elements that must be regularly checked individually to determine their correct functioning and state of wear.
First of all, there is the cover material, as the material from which the awnings are made is called.
Then there is the frame. This is the metal structure that, thanks to the special joints, allows the awning to open and spread while keeping the fabric taut.
And finally there are the fasteners, i.e. the metal elements with which you can attach the sun sail to the boat or dinghy.
The components that are more easily damaged are the hood and the frame. More rarely, however, it is the attachments that have to be replaced. Now let's see in detail how each individual component is checked.
THE HOOD FABRIC
Although the hood fabric is made with excellent workmanship and high quality materials, it does not last forever.
Its main enemies are the salty air, the sun's rays, the wind and the loads in the game. Not to mention poor or improper maintenance.
In general, an awning made from a quality fabric such as Tempotest Parà or Sunbrella will have a much higher resistance to the elements than cheaper awnings.
But usury, however delayed, is inevitable.
REAR, MOLD AND WATER RESISTANT
The first signs of deterioration of the awning are discoloration, mold stains and especially tears, tears and small cuts.
If there are traces of mold, special antimycotics and ecological cleaning agents can be used. Even small tears and holes can be repaired with a few patches. Even with larger parts of the damaged fabric, it is not necessary to replace the entire awning. Consult the one who can make fabric parts, also made to measure, for awnings with two, three or four arches.
Another important factor to consider is waterproofing. If the canvas is no longer waterproof, i. H. Once the water stops beading and soaking into the canvas, that doesn't necessarily mean it's time to replace it.
If the tarp is still in good condition, it's simply time to re-seal the roofing. There are certain products on the market.
NEW HOOD: CHECK THE EXACT MEASUREMENTS
On the other hand, if the general condition of the awning is badly deteriorated and discolored, the number of patches is high and you find that tears and cuts are more common, your awning is aging quickly and there is no other solution than to replace it before it completely falls into pieces decays.
If you decide to buy the hood online, always pay attention to the dimensions, especially the width, or the distance between the axes of the two attachment points. This must be calculated from the center of the side for boats and from the center of the tube for tenders.
To make sure you don't go wrong, read our guide to choosing an awning!
In a short time and at a low cost you can get a new awning and still enjoy many beautiful days at sea without having to worry about the sun.
THE FRAME WILL BE STRESSED BY BULST WINDS AND IMPROPER USE
The other element of the awning that can become damaged over time and wear and tear is the frame.
In this case, the greatest load on the structure comes from the wind, especially when it is gusty. However, another factor that can lead to failure is improper use of support by the crew, for example to keep themselves on board. Remember that the awning frame is not a handrail!
In these cases, if it is not made of strong material, the frame can bend, give way or, in the worst case, even break. And all that remains is the replacement.
When choosing new awnings, make sure that the frame is made of steel, which is certainly more resistant to both the mechanical impact of opening and closing the awning and the weather. If you want a strong and durable awning, choose frames with tubes that are at least 30mm in diameter.
In order to protect the frame of your awning, it is advisable not to leave it open when the wind is gusty and the boat is traveling at high speed. In fact, there are special awnings that can be used during navigation.
ATTACKS, STEEL PREFERRED
The last component of the awning to be checked are the fixings and connections, parts that are certainly less prone to wear but which should always be checked.
In fact, over time, especially if they are not made of steel but of simple plastic, they can break due to weathering and stress.
In this case, we advise you to replace them with others made of stainless steel, which are much more resistant.
Discover the stainless steel accessories available on our website!
In short: as you can see, these quick checks allow you to regularly check the state of wear of the awning installed on board.
If repairs and minor restoration work cannot be carried out, the only option is replacement. However, even given the problems that have arisen, this must be done carefully, perhaps by asking the experts in the sector who will surely be able to advise you.