Monthly Archives: December 2012

Choosing an RV Cover – Steps to Remember

Why do you need a RV cover? Your RV is responsible for giving you and your family lots of fun, togetherness, and can usually reduce the overall cost of your vacations. But studies have found that families really only use their RVs for an average of around 26 days a year. That leaves more than three hundred and thirty days each year that you actually don’t even use your RV. So while it’s parked, it needs to be protected. Things like the sun, wind, insects, and more can all have a huge impact on just how long your RV lasts. You already get oil changes, check tire pressure, and so on, but many people ignore this method of protection. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you start shopping for an RV cover.

For starters, you’ll want to match up the RV cover to your type of RV. It doesn’t matter if you own a fifth wheel, Class A, Teardrop, Travel Trailer, Class B, Class C, Truck Camper, or Folding Camper type RV – there’s a cover that fits every type of RV perfectly, so you’ll be able to find exactly the one that you need. Start by determining the type of RV you own and then match it to the RV covers available. It’s an obvious first step, and an easy one to take.

Match up the size as well. While most of the different types of RVs are fairly standard sizes, it’s still a good idea to make sure that the RV cover you’re buying is of the same size that your RV cover is. Don’t make the mistake of buying an over sized RV cover just because you think it will make things a little easier. A snug fit is what you’re looking for since it will ensure that wind doesn’t peel your tarp off, that no animals or insects can get beneath the tarp, and that your RV looks neat and professional while it’s under cover.

You need to pay attention to the material your RV cover is made from, as well. You need a durable material that will resist tears and rips as well as water. A good, moisture proof material is the key thing to look for. You don’t want a material that will support the growth of mold or mildew, or allow water to penetrate through it. On the other hand, you do need a breathable material so that the air underneath it doesn’t become too stagnant. It’s a fine line to walk, but quality RV covers will strike the perfect balance with relative ease.

Once you’ve found the right RV cover you should also pay attention to accessory covers. Your RV is important, but it’s not a solid unit in the real sense of the word. The tires, for instance, can be protected from the sun as well to help prevent dry rot. LP gas tanks should be covered to shield them from weather and insects – there are cases of insects building nests inside the actual nozzles of an LP tank. Even your AC unit on your RV could benefit from a cover. There are RV accessory covers designed to fit every one of these and more, so be sure that you take the time to look into each of them and consider whether or not they’re a good fit for your RV.

The Advantages of Shade Sails Add Up to an Ideal Shading Solution

 

Highlander Shade Sails

All that’s needed to create a shady spot in an outdoor living area is one of the many available shading options. A few of these options include patio umbrellas, awnings, shade canopies, and shade sails. Patio umbrellas are a popular choice for shading the small area occupied by a dining table or cozy seating area. Awnings are another shade option that allow homeowners to shade most or all of a patio or deck. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not prefer the look of awnings, which can appear old fashioned and clash with more contemporary decor. Shade canopies are a third shading option for outdoor spaces, but they are intended for temporary, rather than permanent, use. All of these shading options have their place, but when it comes down to it, they leave little room for creativity, and they don’t offer the right solution for spaces with non-traditional shapes and sizes.

Shade sails offer homeowners a more updated and versatile means of shading outdoor living spaces. They are readily available in standard shapes and sizes, but custom shade sails can be made to meet custom needs. Rectangles, squares, and triangles in a variety of appealing colors give homeowners the creative freedom to design the look of their outdoor spaces and create as much or as little shade as desired. A unique architectural and artistic effect can be achieved with careful planning and placement of two or more shade sails.

Because of their versatility, shade sails are an appealing shade solution in an endless variety of situations. Not only can they protect patios, decks, and porches, they can also provide shade for entry ways, children’s play areas, swimming pools, outdoor restaurants and cafes, and more. Shade sails are easy to install and can be attached to homes, trees, or patio columns. They can also be a completely free standing structure supported by wood posts or steel columns embedded in concrete footings. Shade sails can be left up year round or used seasonally; they are easy to take down and store.

While looks are an important factor in choosing a shading option for outdoor areas, performance is just as important, if not more. The best quality shade sails are constructed from superior outdoor fabrics that can block up to 95 percent of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Shade sail fabric is most often water resistant rather than waterproof. This allows the sail to breathe more effectively, which keeps the shaded area much cooler. Shade sails should be expected to withstand extreme temperatures and resist fading and mildew.

Because of the number of advantages offered by shade sails — versatility, attractive appearance, and effectiveness — homeowners are often surprised to learn that they are less expensive than many other types of shading options. But, low cost is an additional advantage that makes shade sails an increasingly appealing shade solution for homeowners and business owners.

When combined, the advantages that shade sails offer set them far apart from the other shading options available. Patio umbrellas, awnings, shade canopies, and most other shading options simply can’t provide the same affordable performance and stylish appearance.

The Easy DIY Guide to Shade Cloth Installation

Pergola Shade Cloth

Shade cloth, also known as shade fabric, is an ideal solution for creating shade under pergolas and other open air structures, whether they are freestanding or attached to a home or place of business. Many homeowners opt for installing shade fabric themselves, rather than hiring a professional installer, because installation is relatively straightforward and easy, as home improvement tasks go.

How to Select Shade Cloth

When choosing shade cloth for your project, be sure to insist on the highest quality fabric. Paying more up front for the best product will save you money in the long run. Inferior fabrics will fade and suffer damage from ultraviolet rays as well as harsh weather conditions. You’ll end up paying more later when you have to replace the inferior fabric. Superior shade fabrics should be able to block 90 percent or more of ultraviolet rays, but they should be breathable as well, allowing air to circulate so that the shaded area stays cool. Don’t expect shade cloth to be completely waterproof, but it should be resistant to rot, mildew, and mold. It should also be able to withstand other harsh weather conditions, such as accumulated snow, ice, and brisk winds.

Shade cloth fabric is available in many versatile colors and is usually sold by the linear yard or in rolls. When installing this product on a pergola or other open air structure, it’s best to purchase the fabric by the roll. The fewer seams you have to work with during installation will make the process easier, and fewer seams will also make the end result look better.

Installation Supplies

  1. Shade cloth by the roll. Be sure you have enough fabric to cover your structure, plus 25 percent more.
  2. Measuring tape. Be sure to measure twice, and cut once.
  3. Utility knife, or another sharp cutting tool.
  4. Attachment hardware. Ideally, the attachment points will not be visible from underneath the structure. Choose screws, nails, or 1 inch staples.
  5. Drill, hammer, or staple gun to attach your choice of hardware.
  6. Safety glasses or goggles.

Installation Instructions

  1. Unroll the shade cloth across the structure you wish to cover, and pull it loosely into position. Leave 8 to 12 inches or more of overhang on all sides.
  2. Attach the shade fabric to one of the longest sides of the structure first using your chosen hardware. Start at one end and pull with medium pressure as you move along the edge. Pulling with medium pressure means pulling out the wrinkles and making the fabric slightly taut. Attach the shade cloth to the structure at approximately every 12 inches.
  3. Finish attaching the outside edges of the fabric to your structure, continuing in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Make sure that the fabric’s knitted knot lines remain straight as you go along.
  4. When attaching the shade cloth along an edge of the structure where excess fabric will need to be cut off, be sure to leave enough room between your attachment points and the outer edge so you can easily cut the fabric. To do this, move your attachment points in from the edge of the structure in from the outside edge, beam, or post.
  5. When joining the edges of two rolls of shade cloth, avoid overlapping them.
  6. Attach the cloth to any interior support beams, if necessary, and trim off all the excess shade fabric around the edges using a utility knife or another sharp cutting tool.

Once installed, you can enjoy your newly shaded pergola or other open air structure immediately.

To view photos of any step in this installation process, visit the Mighty Covers Shade Cloth Installation page.

How to Buy a Replacement Play Set Canopy

 

Custom Swing Set Tarp Colors

Maintaining a backyard wooden play set means many things: tightening bolts, sanding and re-staining the wood after a few years of wear and tear, ensuring that any damaged components are removed and replaced. One of the most frequently overlooked features of wooden play sets is the canopy tarp that is most often found providing shelter over the clubhouse portion of the equipment. A play set canopy can last many years, but over time and when harsh weather conditions come into play, it can become damaged and require replacement.

Wooden play sets come in all shapes and sizes, so obtaining the right replacement play set canopy can be a challenge. There are more features to consider than simply color and size. With a little guidance and preparation, though, you will know exactly what information is needed when it’s time to purchase a replacement play set canopy. Here’s what to know:

Canopy Dimensions

What size canopy do you need? Measure the length and width of your existing canopy in inches. Then, calculate the required square footage for the new play set canopy. To calculate square footage, use the following equation: length in inches x width in inches divided by 144. Knowing square footage is essential so that the manufacturer can produce a product that fits your play set exactly.

Stock Canopy or Custom Canopy

Many commercially produced play sets use standard size canopies. For convenience, stock canopies are available in four industry standard sizes:

  • 38in x 79in
  • 48in x 86in
  • 58in x 94in
  • 86in x 134in

Stock play set canopies are more affordable than custom canopies. The downside, though, is that stock canopies are usually only available in two solid colors — blue and green. Custom play set canopies can be made to any size specifications. Additionally, there are many more colors available, and you can control design features, such as requesting two color divides or multi-colored stripes. Custom canopies, however, cannot be returned if measured incorrectly because they are custom designed for the individual. If you decide to choose a custom play set canopy, be sure to double check all measurements and specifications before placing your order.

Choosing a Material

Vinyl or canvas? The material that you choose depends on what features are most important to you in a play set canopy. Vinyl is heavy duty, resists mold and mildew, and will stand up to harsh weather. The vinyl should be marine grade, which offers superior strength and durability. Alternatively, a play set canopy can be purchased in canvas. High quality canvas, such as that produced by Sunbrella, repels water, resists mold and mildew, and creates a drier environment underneath. Sunbrella canvas canopies are available in many more colors than vinyl, and they do not fade or lose their color over time. Additionally, they offer more protection than vinyl canopies from ultraviolet rays. While the cost of a Sunbrella play set canopy is higher, so is the quality.

Fasteners

How will you fasten the canopy to the play set structure? If you are purchasing a replacement canopy, make note of how the existing canopy is fastened. Is it attached using snaps? Grommets? These are the two most common fasteners used on play set canopies. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with either option. Be sure to measure the distance between each fastener on your existing structure so that the manufacturer can provide you with a canopy that has fasteners spaced at the same intervals.

Purchasing a replacement play set canopy is not a difficult process, but it involves a bit more preparation than many homeowners realize. Once you know exactly what kind of replacement canopy you need — considering size, color, material, custom versus stock, and fasteners — you should feel confident that you will receive exactly the product that you require.