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What do you need to know about RV Curtains?

Windshield Drapes

As with most motor-homes, our RV curtains are wrap-around windshield drapes which provide privacy.  They are mainly used at night.  There are two 12’9″ wide panels, 41″ long which meet at the middle of the windshield.  The drapes are beige with 8″ wide pleats.

Standard drapery pins go into the pleats.  Then, the pins are inserted into drape carriers/rollers which ride in the I-beam track.  The drapes, themselves, have not caused any problems but there is a pesky leak on the driver’s side (which happens only in torrential downpours) and has twice left ugly yellow streaks on the RV curtains.

Although the motor-home owner’s manual says ‘dry clean only’ and has warnings about shrinking and fading, my wife has had good success using a washing machine on a permanent press cycle, dryer on low heat and ironing by hand (this is not a recommendation – your mileage may vary). We checked with a dry cleaners and they charged $1.75 per pleat and with 34 pleats, it would be about $60 plus tax (2007) to have the RV curtains professional cleaned.

If your draperies needed replacing, Camping World sells stock lengths of 32″, 36″ and 48″ in widths of 130″ to 240″ at prices from $110 to $155.  Since these drapes are like house ones, a good place to check would be the Yellow Pages under “Draperies & Curtains – Ready & Custom Made”.  I’d estimate it would cost $200-300 to replace our RV curtains.

Day/Night Shades

As first time buyers, we were impressed with the clever design of day/night shades.  They have 3 modes – totally open, translucent and opaque.  We have 8 of these shades in our house, from 17″ to 51″ wide.

Key to operation of these shades are the strings.  Some have 2 strings and wider ones have 4.  Everything is wonderful until one of these strings break.  After breaking, the shades become lopsided and do not stay in place or operate properly.

Broken Strings

Some of our shades were made with strings that were too thin and broke.  To their credit, Tiffin Motorhomes has a great shade repair policy for their customers – you send in the broken shade and they will repair and ship it back to you at no cost.  Or, if you are visiting the factory, they will do it there.

What do you need to know about RV Curtains?

 

Adventurous RV owners may decide to fix the shades themselves with a kit.  It’s possible, but requires time and patience.  One of the sites selling kits, estimates it will take 2 hours for a 2 string blind and 2 1/2 hours for a 4 string.

People have been known to try the repair, become frustrated, then send it out to a repair service.  To repair a broken string, you must first take down the blind.  The blinds are covered by a valance and it is a tight situation for fingers, making things difficult.

Often, it’s easiest to take the valance down first.  This is another challenge as you must locate and remove the valance screws.  They normally are fastened right into the cabinet above them.  The screws may have a Phillips, star or square head.

One company selling string repair kits and installation instructions is Dirty Blind Man in Palm Desert, CA.  2 string repair kits are $15 and 4 string are $20 and the instructions are on CD and appear to be detailed and comprehensive.  If you’d like them to do the work, the charge is $25/30 for 2/4 strings.

Cockeyed Shades

If your strings aren’t broken but your shade is crooked, the spools/cord retainers may need adjusting.  The spools are screwed into the lamebrains (a fancy name for the vertical ‘arms’ that come down from the valances).  You can adjust the string tension by loosening the screw and adding or removing one winding of the string.