How We Replaced Super Ugly Accordion Shades on our RV

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Windshield-shade-install

One project that actually proved to be as simple and quick as we’d hoped was replacing the ugly horizontal accordion shades that were original to our 1998 Foretravel. These are the shades that covered the front windshield for privacy and light blocking. They’d put in a number of years of service, but their days were numbered the first time they unexpectedly popped open in the middle of the night frightening the bejesus out of the cats. lol It was funny, though.

We were lucky enough to have sufficient space behind the front valance at the top of the windshield and behind the television in which we could conceal the shades and angle them and overlap them in order to better provide coverage to keep light out of the rig at night. We also left room (because we’re homeschoolers!) to install roll-up maps, periodic tables and the like…any suggestions for sources?

Installing or Replacing Windshield Shades in an RV

The first order of business was removing the actual accordion blinds which were attached to a plastic mounting rail – they simply slid off the bracket and were promptly removed along with years of dust and accumulated greasy finger marks. Good riddance! Next up was to remove the brackets themselves, but we didn’t actually do this until we had to remove the side valances for another project months later, but if you’re industrious, you could remove the plastic strips at this point.

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We chose a corded roller shade that matched our decor (off-white/tan-ish with a slight texture) and met our needs for size at Lowe’s. Since every RV is different, you’ll want to inspect your space and ensure that you can adequately overlap the shades in the middle, that you’ll be able to mount the brackets on the “ceiling” over your dash area and that you’ll have an unobtrusive place for the cord, if you choose a corded shade.

Next up is a dry fit of the shades. We just laid them out on the dash and determined placement of brackets with good old fashioned eyeballing. And a little measuring, but seriously – it was not that precise.

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Brackets in place, the shades were clipped into place and the cord managers screwed down. We replaced the flimsy “wood” baton at the bottom of the shade with a 1″ flat stock piece of aluminum to weight the shade and keep it from rolling. You may find, as we did, that you’ll need to place a stitch at the end of the baton pocket to retain the stock so that it doesn’t wiggle out on your way down the road!

The best part of these shades is that they have a positive stop so that we can lower them a foot or even more if necessary while driving when the sun is hanging low in the sky. We’re thrilled with the result and have experienced no downsides. Easy project, inexpensive materials and done in an afternoon…what more could a girl ask for?!

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