• What You Need to Know Before You Purchase a Retractable Awning

    pittsburgh awnings

    A retractable awning is a huge investment for many homeowners. When you do your research before making a large purchase, you’re more likely to save money and avoid headaches down the road. Prior to investing in Pittsburgh awnings for your home, there are a few important things you should know regarding retractable awnings.

    Who Are You Purchasing From?

    When making a large purchase, research is the key to success. Start by asking for recommendations from friends and family, and reading reviews online to make sure the company you work with is reputable.

    Who Does the Installation?

    Does the prospective dealer do their own installations or do they contract out to a third-party? Do they offer a warranty on the installation? Does their warranty include any service work or future adjustments that you might need? Finding a dealer who stands behind their installation is an important aspect of the buying process to consider.

    What Kind of Fasteners are Used for Installation?

    Retractable awnings can weigh anywhere from 200 to 400 pounds. Because they are so heavy, it is imperative that when they are installed, the installers use a minimum of a 3/8-inch wide shaft lag screw. Depending on the material the installer is mounting to, the length of the lag screws is going to be an important factor as well. When retractable awnings are installed, the goal is to reach the center of the house’s framework after removing all exterior materials that can be compressed—i.e., foam board under vinyl siding.

    Is the Fabric 100% Acrylic?

    Because retractable awnings are made using a fabric material, it is important to have a material that will last. Most acrylic fabrics will not rot, mildew, or quickly fade due to sun exposure. Typically, most acrylic material is also the same color/pattern on both sides. An acrylic fabric that is sewn with UV stable thread should last anywhere from 8 to 12 years with maintenance and cleaning.

    Is it a Full or Prorated Warranty?

    It is important to know if the warranty is prorated or full. This will prove to be useful information if you ever need to file a warranty claim. Awnings that come with a full warranty will save you a lot of money in out-of-pocket expenses.

    How Does the Awning Operate?

    With retractable awnings, there are different ways the awning can be operated—manually, by hand crank, or motorized. The motorized option is more expensive when compared to manual options. But although they may have a higher price tag, research has found those with a motorized unit are ten times more likely to use their awning than those without. A motorized awning can easily be operated using either a handheld remote or a switch located on the wall of your home.

    Does the Location of Awning Assembly Matter?

    The majority of quality awnings are assembled in the United States. Because most awnings are custom made, they generally take a week or two to produce. Be aware that some companies will try to save money on production by importing lower quality units and components from other countries. When this happens, the components aren’t capable of withstanding the diverse climates found across the United States, causing peeling paint, faded fabrics, and rusted fasteners.

    What Applies the Spring Force in the Retractable Arms?

    All models of retractable awnings rely on a spring-loaded folding arm that exerts outward pressure in order to keep the fabric tight. The real work comes when you retract your awning. It is a lot harder to retract an awning than it is to extend one. This is true for both manually operated styles and motorized units. This is harder to do because you are not stretching the internal arm springs. In most units, the springs apply tension using one of three methods—cables, chains, or belts. Regardless of the tension method, most claim to have a lifespan between 20,000 and 100,000 arm cycle durability.

    Knowing the facts about retractable awnings can help you to make an informed decision, ultimately aiding you in purchasing an awning that you will be happy with for years to come. At Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors, we offer quality Pittsburgh awnings that are not only beautiful, but durable as well. You can rest assured that when you make your awning purchase from Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors, you are getting a high-quality awning that will enhance the appearance of your home.

  • What’s the Difference Between Torsion and Extension Springs?

    garage door installation pittsburgh pa

    A garage door is made up of many parts that all work together so the garage door can work properly. Torsion and extension springs are responsible for managing your garage door’s counterbalance system. It is the counterbalance system that uses force to offset the weight of the door, enabling it to safely and reliably open and close. There are several types of springs that can be used, but torsion and extension springs are the most common. Because both torsion and extension springs perform the same function, you might be wondering what the difference is. Garage door installation Pittsburgh PA guarantees that springs be professionally installed to help keep the door in working order for years to come.

    Torsion Springs

    The most common type of spring found in modern garage doors is the torsion spring. Torsion springs are available in several sizes and lengths. They are calculated based on the weight of your garage door and the height and track radius. Torsion springs are installed on the top of the garage door. When the door is operated, the spring slides into a channel where lifting cables are attached, allowing the springs to wind and unwind in a controlled motion. Some of the benefits of torsion springs include:

    • Sturdy and Long Lasting: Although torsion springs are more expensive upfront, they are more durable and can last upwards of 15,000 to 20,000 cycles.
    • Less Wear: When a garage door is opening or closing, the torsion springs provide steadier movement that keeps the door balanced, creating less strain on other parts. Torsion springs make it so your garage door doesn’t have to work as hard to open and close.
    • Safer: If your torsion springs break, they will make a loud sound but remain encased in the shaft. But if extension springs break off, the result can include property damage or injury.

    Extension Springs

    Extension springs are an older technology, but they are still common because they are more affordable and ideal for smaller garages. Instead of being installed overhead, extension springs are installed on the side of the door and extend when the door is operated.

    Although extension springs are a popular option, many professionals don’t tend to recommend them because they only last upwards of 10,000 cycles. Not only do they not last as long as torsion springs, but they also require more maintenance, operate with jerking motions that cause more wear and tear, and can be a safety hazard if they break.

    Whether you’re looking for torsion or extension springs, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors can provide you with reliable and reputable garage door Pittsburgh PA installation and services. If you need expert garage door advice, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors can help you discover which garage door springs, openers, etc. are right for you.

     

  • How to Find a Reputable Garage Door Dealer

    pittsburgh garage

    Replacing a Pittsburgh garage door is not something you have to do often. So you likely don’t have someone in mind when the situation arises. For many, the first step to hiring a garage door technician is getting recommendations for garage door dealers from friends and family members. Another great resource is to search for reviews online and learn more about prospective dealers. Ultimately, you will need to contact the company directly. When talking to a dealer, you can learn more about their skill level and trustworthiness when you ask the right questions. Here are a few things you should ask to ensure you find a reputable garage door dealer.

    Learn About the Company

    Researching the company should give you a good indication of their experience and qualifications. It is a good idea to learn about their history. How long have they been in business? If they are a new business, what experience and knowledge do the owners have? Are they a legal business? Do they have all the necessary licenses and permits required to perform work in your area? What kind of insurance do they have? It is going to be imperative that they be fully insured. Do they have a showroom where you can see and touch the products they offer? What brands do they carry? Knowing this type of information will help you know if you’re interested in doing business with them.

    Learn About Past Customers

    The most reputable companies will gladly provide a list of previous customers who were satisfied with their services. These customers will provide their feedback and opinions about their experience with the company. Ideally, these customers will be in or near your neighborhood. You can also ask companies to provide details, including pictures of past completed projects.

    How Well do They Communicate?

    If you are going to be working with a company, knowing how they communicate before the process will be a good indication of how they communicate throughout the process. In their correspondence with you, they should gather information to accurately advise you on how to choose a door that meets your needs.

    Information that they will need to provide you with an expert opinion should include:

    • Size requirements
    • Budget
    • Design and style of your home
    • Functions, features, and traits you can’t live without
    • Other unique requirements

    With the answers to these questions, they will be able to provide you with different options that fit within your established budget. Additionally, knowing your budget will enable them to provide you with a detailed quote that includes labor and equipment. They can also provide a written warranty in detail that includes the opener, the labor, and all other aspects of the garage door.

    You want a company that will communicate openly with you during the initial planning phases of bidding and selecting a new garage door. You also want a garage door dealer that will be there for you after the installation is complete and will continue to communicate with you if warranty issues arise.

    Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors is the premier Pittsburgh garage door dealer, with years of experience and knowledge. Whether you are looking for a new garage door or garage door repairs, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors is the best garage door expert serving the greater Pittsburgh area.  

  • 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.

    Appearance

    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.

    Materials

    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.

    Value

    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.

    Quieter

    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.

  • 7 Benefits of Canvas Awnings

    canvas awnings pittsburgh pa

    It is not uncommon to see canvas awnings Pittsburgh, PA  on both residential and commercial buildings, as these types of awnings have many benefits aside from protecting the building from harsh weather. Listed below are 7 benefits canvas awnings offer to both home and business owners.

    Reduction in Heat Gain and Sunlight

    Canvas awnings cut down on the amount of heat that enters your building from sunlight even more that what can be expected from curtains and blinds. By reducing the amount of sunlight that hits your windows, awnings provide lower temperatures on hot days.

    Improved Aesthetics

    Along with the functional value added by canvas awnings, you can also look to them from increased aesthetic value. Canvas awnings are generally available in different patterns of stripes, solids, and prints to completely dress up your home or business the way you envision it.

    Protects Windows from Sun and Rain

    In addition to working to keep your building cool and protected from the sun, canvas awnings also protect your windows from exposure to sun and driving rains. You have the ability to enjoy fresh air, even during a rainstorm, as canvas awnings keep your window dry.

    Keeps Your Furniture Looking New

    Furniture quickly starts to look old and worn when it starts to fade from direct sunlight. Awnings protect your furniture from harsh sun rays, keeping your furniture looking newer, longer. Similarly, awnings will also protect your paint, décor, and flooring from the sun’s rays.

    Provides Protection from Storm Damage

    In areas where storms are a common occurrence, it is typical for homeowners to be left with major loss and damage to their home and belongings. When awnings are professionally and accurately installed, homes are offered protection from storm debris.

    Reduced Energy Consumption

    More than providing your home protection and improving aesthetics, awnings help cut down on your home’s energy consumption. Awnings work to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This will save you money on your electricity bills every month.

    Protection from the Elements

    Whether it is rain, sun, heat, snow, sleet, hail or any other type of weather, your home and windows are protected with canvas awnings. Modern canvas awnings Pittsburgh, PA are made using highly durable, long-lasting, fabrics that are easy to clean, brightly colored, flame-retardant and strong.

    As you can see, there are many benefits to installing a new canvas awning. Whether you are looking for a great way to add some curb appeal  or you’re looking for ways to cut down on energy consumption, canvas awnings are the way to go. At Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors, we install canvas awnings that are not only attractive but durable, reliable and long lasting.

  • 6 Signs You Need a New Garage Door

    As a homeowner, spending money on costly repairs and upgrades to your home with little to no return on your investment is anything but satisfying. One repair that can be made to your home that won’t break the bank, while offering an immediate return on your investment, replacing an overhead door Pittsburgh PA. Not only are garage doors one of the first things that people see when they come to your home, they are also a feature that you use multiple times a day. Because it is such a vital part of your home, it is important that it is in good working condition.

    Because garage doors can be a huge investment, you’ll want to make sure that your door can’t be repaired and needs to be replaced. There are a few factors that will indicate that it is time to invest in a new door, some of which include:

    1. Speed: When you push your garage door button, you should start to notice some sort of movement right away. If your door isn’t responding to your remote as fast as it used to, you might need to look into getting it replaced.
    2. Noise: Noise is a good indication that either a part needs to be repaired or replaced on your garage door. Don’t just ignore the noise, thinking that it is just part of the garage door. It could potentially be an indication of something serious that needs to be addressed. If your garage door starts to make a lot of noise in the form of grinding, crunching, grating, squeaking, or banging, you’ll want to look into a replacement door.
    3. Safety and Security: Due to the excessive weight, garage doors can pose a huge safety risk if they come slamming down too fast or unexpectedly. As soon as you notice a potential safety risk, such as your door not shutting all the way, or your sensors not working properly, it is time to get your door replaced. These are all issues that can harm you, your family, or your pets.
    4. Appearance: The way your garage door looks will have a tremendous impact on the overall curb appeal and value of your home. Over time, doors will go out of style, leaving your home looking older and less stylish. Investing in a new garage door not only improves your home’s curb appeal but can also make your home look more modern and attractive. It is an investment that is money well spent.
    5. Functionality: Over time, wear and tear will accumulate on your garage door. Dings and dents are inevitable, while debris can build up over time. Garage door springs generally only last around 10,000 cycles before they need to be replaced. Most issues with an older garage door can be repaired, but if you are worried about your garage door not working properly or failing, it might be time to consider investing in a replacement.
    6. Price: Because garage doors are made up of several parts, you will generally be making a huge investment up front or over time as you continually pay for repairs on an older door. If you find that you are continually forking out money for repairs or breakdowns, you might want to consider investing your money in a new door and not repairs. Maintenance costs for your overhead door Pittsburgh PA should not be a constant expense.

    At Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors, we have experienced technicians that can diagnose garage door problems and provide you with cost-effective solutions. Whether it is a simple repair job or a complete, new door install, Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors is your Pittsburgh garage door expert!

  • 5 Benefits of Installing Aluminum Awnings on Your Home

    For homeowners looking for an affordable way to add some curb appeal or a cut down on direct sunlight, an aluminum awning Pittsburgh may be the way to go. Not only do aluminum awnings provide shade, they also protect siding and windows from rain and debris. While homeowners do have the option of installing aluminum or canvas awnings, aluminum has a few benefits that just can’t be beat!

    1. Durable

    Because they are made out of aluminum, these awnings are better equipped to withstand the environment. When living in an area prone to high winds, extreme winds, rain, snow, or excessive heat,  year after year aluminum awnings will withstand the elements without bowing, warping or stretching. With regular maintenance, aluminum awnings can last 50 years or more.

    2. Affordable

    Cheaper than metal awnings, aluminum awnings provide homeowners with a cost-effective solution for protecting their home. Awnings that are smaller sizes and traditional shapes are even more cost-effective than other options available.

    3. Flexible

    Aluminum awnings are available in a wide range of colors, allowing homeowners the flexibility to choose a color that will match or complement their home’s exterior. Additionally, aluminum awnings come in both traditional and modern styles, allowing homeowners to find a style that complements their home.

    4. Low Maintenance

    One of the nice features offered by aluminum awnings is that they require little to no maintenance. The only regular maintenance that is required is spraying them off with a hose to remove any dirt buildup from the surface. This will help to keep the awnings looking their best for years to come.

    5. Energy Efficient

    Aluminum awnings do more than just add curb appeal to a home, they work to cut down on energy consumption. Awnings around a home absorb some of the heat from the sun, which ultimately keeps a home’s interior cooler, and gives the air conditioner a break. Areas of the home that are covered by aluminum awnings can be up to 20% cooler than others.

    There are many benefits that aluminum awnings Pittsburgh can offer homeowners. If you interested in adding aluminum awnings to your home, contact the professionals at Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors today!

  • A Brief Introduction to Entry Doors

    When shopping for a new entry door Pittsburgh , there is a multitude of styles to choose from. One of the biggest differences between doors is not the style, but the material that the door is made of. While most doors do perform equally well for the most part, each material—fiberglass, steel, or wood, has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Below we’ve outline each type of door and what makes them a great selection.

    Steel Doors

    • Generally, have tighter-fitting frames and an energy-efficient core insulation
    • Some styles use double or even triple-pane glass units to cut down on heat transfer
    • Completely weather-stripped and resistant to shrinking, swelling, and warping
    • Require little maintenance in harsh weather conditions
    • Typically, have more insulating value than wooden doors

    Fiberglass Doors

    • Easy to install
    • Great in extreme weather climates and high-traffic entrances
    • Similar energy-saving qualities as steel doors
    • Generally, have the longest warranties
    • Made of high-quality composite construction, resist all sorts of weather, scratches and dents

    Wooden Doors

    • Heavy and sturdy with a traditional look
    • Can be painted or stained
    • Optimal when installed in protected or shaded areas
    • High-end doors can measure more than one-inch thick
    • Best wooden doors are generally more intricate and thicker

    Each type of door has its own set of characteristics that make them the right choice for different homeowners. It is best to determine what your needs and wants are and make the right choice when selecting a new entry door for your home. A new entry door can add curb appeal to your home, without breaking the bank. No matter what style of door you are looking for to complement your home, you can find the right entry door Pittsburg at Thomas V. Giel Garage Doors .