Slide Out Awnings, sometimes called Toppers, are an important component in protecting the structural integrity of your RV slide out—especially with their ability to prevent environmental damage to the seals that surround your slide out. When extended, toppers protect the roof of a slide out from rain, dirt, debris (leaves and small branches) or snow.
The purpose of the topper is to protect the seals on your slide from damage (tears or holes) that can occur when debris is pulled into the seal as the slide out moves inward and closes. As the unit rolls shut, the topper will automatically clear any water or debris it caught – pushing it over the edge of the slide. The topper prevents the alternative job of an inconvenient, hazardous climb up a ladder to sweep debris off your slide out prior to closing it. Additionally, the topper protects the seals of the slide out from deterioration due to the sun’s UV rays.
If you are new to RVing and not sure about slide out toppers on your RV, look above the slide out when it is open for an extension of fabric or vinyl (over the slide out) extending from the side of the RV to the outer edge of the slide out. You should be able to view it easily from the ground. It should look tight and form a flat surface above the roof of the slide out. As the slide is closed, the topper automatically retracts until the topper is either covered by a wind deflector or is completely enclosed in a casing. The wind deflector or casing fits securely against the side of your RV as you travel down the road.
Periodically inspect your topper for wear. As a topper ages, it may begin to sag and collect water. In this case, excessive water may fall onto the top of your slide during heavy rain or from either side of the topper as the slide out retracts. This could compromise the seal of the slide and create a water leak in the interior of your RV.
Worse-case scenario: The weight of water, snow or debris may actually split open aging toppers, compromising protection of the slide. The cost of replacing a topper is much less than replacing a seal and less time consuming. Replacement of a topper requires only extending the slide to replace the fabric or any necessary mechanical topper components. If you damage your slide-out seals because of a compromised topper, the slide must be removed to repair them at considerably greater cost.
From along the road,