What makes a quality door?

How do we make our highest-performing, most energy-efficient, and largest patio doors? Let us show you in this video touring the manufacturing facility where we make A-Series doors. To guide you, we have two pros who share our commitment to upholding quality within the building industry — Tyler Grace and Nick Schiffer of the Modern Craftsman podcast.

Here’s a summary of the steps involved in manufacturing our A-Series patio doors.

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) for larger sizes

The video begins with Grace and Schiffer standing next to several racks of maple, oak, and paint-grade LVLs. This engineered product, made of thin layers of wood and adhesives, is used as the basis for A-Series patio doors. Grace explains that the material is chosen for its straightness, stability, tight tolerances, and enhanced energy efficiency. All these qualities allow for larger patio doors. The camera zooms in to show the layers at the core of an LVL. Schiffer explains how this density improves stability, strength, and energy efficiency. He also points out the veneer layer on the exterior. This not only protects the wood, but it also provides a smooth surface for painting or staining. Using LVLs provides the strength needed to produce a door or window with more glass and less framing.

In-house milling for quality control and efficiency

Grace and Schiffer explain the milling process as the camera shows LVLs being cut to length by a machine. After the saw, the LVLs are shaped into the correct profiles with the necessary joinery by a machine called a moulder. They are then finished with a sealant and cured. Once profiles are complete, they are sent to the “supermarket.” This is a storage area where profiles are organized by shapes and sizes so they can be easily and efficiently sourced when needed to fill an order.

Schiffer points out that one of the benefits of A-Series patio doors is that they are joined by a drill and dowel system.

Drill and dowel joinery for superior corner strength

The builders then visit another part of the factory where finished parts are stored prior to assembly. The camera focuses on the dowel end of a door rail — the horizontal piece of framing around a door’s glass. Grace explains how the major benefit of a drill and dowel system is that it helps resist rotational force — twisting in high winds. He makes the point that unlike in traditional carpentry, the drill and dowel joints used on A-Series patio doors are stronger than a mortise and tenon joint — as has been borne out by engineering and testing. Schiffer points out that the dowels are preinstalled and glued into place before they are glued to the stiles — the vertical piece of framing around a door’s glass. This creates a strong corner. Grace points out some of the details on the rail that improve its resistance to water intrusion, including the primer that’s been coated over the LVL’s exterior veneer and a gasket protecting the joint with the glass. These features serve as safety measures against water and will help extend the longevity of the finished product.

Machine-aided assembly for the best quality panel

The next stop is assembly. Here, production associates can leverage the precision and strength of machines where needed. Assembly begins with a production associate loading rails and stiles into a machine that applies the wood glue needed to connect the drill and dowel joint at each corner. Then pressure is applied, and the panel is nailed together. Another associate operating an overhead crane that’s designed to lift glass uses it to load the glass into the door frame. Schiffer explains that the door is finished from the outside, and the next steps will be to apply interior stops and sealants. Associates are shown taking on these tasks to finish the panel, including attaching the continuous weatherstripping around the panel. The monolithic design of the weatherstripping helps prevent air and water intrusion, particularly in the vulnerable corners, making the door more durable. Finally, a bottom gasket is installed to help prevent any air or water intrusion into the home. From here, panels will be hung in frames. The ability to use machinery creates safer conditions for associates and allows them to focus on the tasks that require their skill, which results in the best quality product.

Want to see more behind-the-scenes footage? We’d love to show you!

About the modern craftsman

Grace and Schiffer are the voices behind the Modern Craftsman, which is a podcast and community network dedicated to promoting excellence, education, knowledge, and respect in the building industry. With their audience of trade professionals, they discuss all aspects of life within the industry and life itself — from mental health to leadership and everything in between. They pride themselves on working with brands and people who strive to make the industry better and advocate for a better life in the trades.

Meet Tyler Grace

Owner of TRG Home Concepts in Medford, NJ, Tyler is an interior remodeling contractor focusing primarily on kitchens, bathrooms, and finish carpentry. His mission is to deliver a quality product to his clients while creating and maintaining value through efficiency and judicious project coordination.

headshot of Tyler Grace

Meet Nick Schiffer

Owner of NS Builders in Boston, MA, Nick leads a team of experienced carpenters, project managers, cabinet makers, and apprentices. He started his business in 2014 and has turned it into one of Boston’s most sought-after builders. Constantly challenging himself and his team, there’s nothing standard about their approach.

headshot of Nick Schiffer