• Retractable Vs. Fixed Awnings

    Pittsburgh awnings

    Many homeowners enjoy awnings for the comfort and shelter that they provide. When shopping for Pittsburgh awnings for your home or business, there are several options for you to choose from. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want a fixed or retractable awning. Both have their pros and cons, which we will discuss here.

    Retractable Awnings

    Retractable awnings are great if you want flexibility. They can be extended when you want shade and retracted when you want the light. Some people prefer to only use their awnings when it’s extra hot outside or when they need protection from the rain.

    In order to be retractable, awnings are made using a heavy-duty fabric, that is available in a wide range of prints and colors. This makes it easy to change them out when they need to be replaced or when you simply want to change them to match a new décor style. One of the biggest drawbacks to installing a retractable awning is that they require a lot of moving parts to retract. As a result, they are more expensive than a stationary awning. You can still purchase older, hand-crank style awnings, but newer retractable awnings are motorized and controlled with a switch or remote.

    Fixed Awnings

    Fixed awnings are ideal for if you want your awning to be a permanent fixture in your home or building. Many businesses enjoy the permanent feature because many use it for signage to advertise their business name and phone number.

    Fixed awnings tend to be less expensive than retractable awnings and are very sturdy. With a fixed awning, you have more choices for shape and covering material. Similar to their retractable counterparts, fixed awnings can also be covered in fabric. They can also be covered in aluminum or any other specialty materials.

    What Type Should You Pick?

    The type of awning you should pick is based on your personal preferences and the amount of space you have to work with. If you want flexibility and want to use it when you want and put it away when they don’t need it, a retractable awning is the way to go. Retractable awnings also make sense in areas that experience high winds frequently, as you’ll be able to retract it when the winds pick up, protecting your investment.

    For those who have plenty of room for the required supporting posts, or have your mind set on a specific shape, a fixed awning is going to be the better choice. For those who don’t want to worry about the mechanics possibly breaking and want less maintenance may also find that a fixed awning is the best choice.

    Regardless of what type of Pittsburgh awnings you decide to go with, if they’re installed properly and regularly retained can last for years to come.

    Whether you are in the market for a new awning-retractable or fixed or want to learn more, the experts at Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors can help. Since 1950, we have been confidently serving the people of Pittsburgh with all the retractable and fixed awning needs, let us help you with yours!  

  • Residential vs. Commercial Garage Doors

    commercial garage doors

    The easiest way to distinguish between residential and commercial garage doors is simply by the type of building it is attached to. But here, we will discuss some of the other big differences between the two types of doors.


    One of the biggest differences between commercial and residential garage doors is that residential doors tend to be more focused on looks than commercial doors. This is because many homeowners tend to want a garage door that is aesthetically pleasing, whereas commercial or industrial building owners are more focused on function. This is because a residential garage door tends to have a greater effect on a home’s overall curb appeal, and eventual resale value. To improve the appearance of residential garage doors, often windows, designs, or color options are carefully selected. Because commercial doors are more concerned with functionality, they tend to be plainer and simpler. The majority of commercial doors are of the conventional white roll-up or flat designs.

    Height and Width

    One of the most obvious differences is that commercial doors tend to be a lot bigger than residential doors. Residential doors tend to have a standard height of seven feet and vary between eight and nine feet wide. Although these are the standard sizes, homeowners with an RV, boat, etc. can special order a garage door that can be as tall as 12 feet high. Where residential doors come in standard sizes, commercial doors do not. The size of a commercial garage door is going to be dependent on its application. Commercial buildings that use a lot of oversized machinery will need a larger door than commercial buildings that do not.


    Homeowners can purchase a garage door in different materials—wood, steel, fiberglass, etc. The deciding factor on what type of material is going to be best will depend on the homeowner’s personal preference and budget. Wood doors offer better curb appeal, while steel doors are long-lasting. On the other hand, commercial doors are primarily only made of aluminum or galvanized steel. This is because both materials are extremely durable and offer the security and longevity that commercial business owners are searching for in a garage door.

    Opening Capacity

    Residential doors are designed to only be opened a couple of times each day, whereas commercial doors are designed to be opened and closed several times a day. As a result, a residential garage door opener is made to endure being open and closed only a few times a day. Whereas a commercial door opener is designed to open and close a door multiple times a day. Additionally, commercial doors are designed to operate more quickly and efficiently.


    Another major difference between residential and commercial garage doors is the cost. Commercial doors cost significantly more to install and repair than residential doors because they are designed for commercial-level security, and are often larger in size. Because commercial doors are more expensive, they are rarely used in residential applications.

    On the surface, both residential and commercial garage doors appear to be the same, when in fact they do have some big differences. Whether you are looking to replace your existing garage door or need repairs, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors  can do it all. Since 1950, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors has been providing new garage doors and repairs to homeowners and business owners across Pittsburgh.

  • 5 Reasons to Install an Insulated Garage Door

    Pittsburgh garage doors

    There are many reasons homeowners decide to upgrade their Pittsburgh garage doors. For others, it’s not necessarily a want, but a need, as their current garage door is in disrepair. Regardless of the reason, there are a few things you should know about insulated garage doors before making a purchase.

    As with most other products, you have several options when selecting the right garage door for your home. A garage door serves as more than just an entrance to your home, it is a major part of your curb appeal and can have a big impact on your resale value if you ever try to sell your home.

    One of the newest garage door trends is to purchase one that offers energy efficiency options. Here are five of the top reasons you should install an insulated door on your Pittsburgh home.

    Saves Energy

    The majority of energy saving tips focus on the inside of the home. This makes sense because this is where the majority of heat gain and loss takes place. In fact, some people don’t even consider the garage when developing their energy savings plans. It is important, as most garages have finished rooms above them which are heated and cooled, along with having a door that connects to the main part of the house.

    As a result, your uninsulated garage will transfer cold air into the rooms around it. Simply having a garage door that is insulated can cut down on the amount of energy required to heat or cool the rest of your home.

    More Durable

    Aside from assisting with energy cost, insulated garage doors are more durable. This is a result of the way the doors are constructed. Insulated doors are constructed using either a steel or aluminum frame that is filled with solid-core insulation. The insulation is then sandwiched between either single or dual steel panels. This style of construction creates a door that is both durable and lightweight.

    A more durable door will be more resistant to dents, reducing the amount of maintenance homeowners have to perform around the house. Because there is going to be less damage done to an insulated door, the lifespan of the door will be prolonged as well.


    Garage doors are going to make noise. But insulated doors tend to be quieter than uninsulated doors. Noise isn’t an important factor in determining how a door functions, it is a nice bonus feature. Because all doors will produce noise, finding one that is quieter than others can make a huge difference. Insulated doors tend to be quieter than other doors due to their tight construction. Each panel is composed of materials tightly sandwiched together, reducing the amount of loose material that can make excess noise. Additionally, because insulated doors also weight more than uninsulated doors, they are less likely to jolt or vibrate on the track, thereby reducing the amount of noise made.

    Protects Cars

    When vehicles are parked inside a garage, they are protected from the extreme weather outside. This is especially important during cold weather, as the cold can have a negative impact on your car in several ways. An insulated door can have a big impact on the overall life of your car.  As a result of cold temperatures, you may experience any of the following:

    • Shorter Battery Life or Dead Battery
    • Thickened Transmission, Engine, and Brake Fluids
    • Low Air Pressure in Tires
    • Unreliable Spark Plugs and Wiring

    The lower the temperature, the less likely your car is to run and function properly. Simply installing an insulated garage door can increase the temperature inside the garage enough to protect your vehicle.

    More Convenient

    For some, a garage is more than just a place to park your car. Some use it as a place for extra storage, for others, it is a great space to work out or participate in hobbies. Regardless of the way you use your garage, keeping it warm makes it easier and more enjoyable for you to use it. In areas with a colder climate, like here in Pittsburgh, that extra layer of warmth can make a huge difference in simple, daily tasks, such as carrying in groceries or carrying sleeping children into the house from the car.

    There are many benefits to switching out an uninsulated garage door for one with insulation. If you decide an insulated garage door will make a positive impact on your home, contact Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors today. As a leader in Pittsburgh garage doors, we have a wide selection of garage doors that make it easy to find the right garage door for your home.