Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to make and install insulated sun-blocking window covers for a stored RV.

How To

How to make and install insulated
sun-blocking window covers for a stored RV.

Here is the reasoning behind this project.  I will be storing my RV in Texas during the summer.  Now I am taking this part on hearsay but I’ve been told that the sun shines in Texas during the summer and it gets hot!  So as a precaution I am creating sun-blocking insulated covers for my windows.

Supplies that you will need:
·       Hook and Loop sticky back tape fasteners (I recommend the Velcro Industrial Strength because of the quality of the adhesive used)
·       Reflectix Insulation of the appropriate size for your needs.  (There may be other brands of similar material.  I just am not aware of any)
·       Self adhering label (optional)
Tools Needed:
·       Tape measure
·       Straight edge
·       Marker
·       Scissors
·       Template for the curved corners of the RV’s windows (optional)

        The first order of business is to measure the windows.  The insulation is going to be on the inside of the RV window.  So that is the important measurement.  You will want to measure the outside diameter including the frame, not just the glass.  I found by measuring the window frame both inside and outside the RV that the measurements were essential the same.  This may not be true on your RV.  However, because the measurements were ‘close enough for government work’, I chose to measure my windows from the outside as it was easier than working around furniture, window shades and curtains on the inside.
        Now this part is optional because it will not affect the purpose of the window covers, which is to block the sun and protect the interior of the RV from Ultraviolet rays and heat.  Most modern RVs have windows with curved corners.  You will need to have a template that matches that curve if you wish to have the covers match the windows.  As I said, you can completely skip this step and just leave the covers with square corners.  I found that the simplest template was a plastic lid that matched the curve perfectly.  Be creative try different cans, pots and pans et cetera.

        Once you have your windows’ dimensions, you can proceed to laying out your cutting pattern.  I found for my own purposes that when I laid out the patterns for the largest windows first, that I could then lay out the patterns for the smaller windows in the scraps.
        Now it is time to cut the material.  I began by using a razorblade knife.  However, it was easier to cut the curved edges with scissors.  Then I remembered watching how fabric is cut in a fabric shop.  Using nice sharp scissors, the fabric is stretch out and held tightly with one hand while the open scissors are simple slid along the cutline for the fabric.  This is so quick and easy that I abandoned the knife altogether.

        Once the insulation is cut, it is time to apply the Velcro.  The Industrial Strength Velcro comes in 2” wide strips.  (If they make smaller widths of the Industrial Strength, I have not seen it.)  You will need to cut several tabs of the Velcro.  I recommend about ¾” x 2” each.  Keeping both halves of the hook and loop meshed together, peel the backing from the ‘Hook’ half of the hook and loop Velcro tabs and apply to the window frame at strategic points.  I found that two tabs at the top and one on either side of the window was sufficient.  With the hook and loop sections still stuck together, remove the backing from the ‘Loop’ half of the set and press the insulation is place, adhering it to the Velcro.  To save yourself some frustration, remove the backing from one piece at a time because when this stuff sticks to the insulation, it does NOT come off without tearing the insulation.

        This part is also optional but recommended.  Add a label to the window cover that identifies which window is to be used on.  Example: Curbside Bedroom or Living room slide rear window.  It appears that RV manufactures can construct windows in an infinite range of sizes.  So labeling the covers can save you time and frustration.

        Now this final suggestion is given by my clever wife, Ella; store them flat (not rolled) behind your couch (assuming you have a freestanding couch).  This will save a lot of room in your storage bins.

2012 February 06

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