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March 16, 2022

TCL Episode #41 All about Doors with Andrew from Lusso Design

Show Notes

The intro song by Andrew made him the star in the first minute of the episode. Andrew from Lusso Design is sharing his experience about the importance of Doors in construction. He specializes in all kinds of doors. Andrew has a degree in Finance and Banking from Russia and he moved to Canada from Russia 15 years ago. He needed a job urgently so for 2-3 months he worked in Landscaping. He then ended up helping a guy doing door inserts, he started as a helper, then became an installer, and eventually, he was all on his own. Andrew says he took 5 years to decide which door is good, the door industry was taking advantage of crap, trying to sell them at a high price.

Import impact on quality

Andrew explained how someone importing low-quality products has played a big role in the deterioration of the door industry. Canada has local blacksmiths, local glass companies, and you can get everything made from scratch with quality, right here in Canada.

Many people started importing, too much volume arrived, so they started wholesaling the product.
They were selling whole containers at very low prices, the industry went down because of that. Contractors and door builders think they can earn more but when they lose quality, they lose many things along the way.

Blame game

Andrew explains how many parties are involved when it comes to doors. The salesperson gets a lead, and they just push a number of doors into the system. Then the door actually gets bid between separate factories to try and see whoever can get a bid for the lowest price. And then you get an installer. You can see companies bidding between the installers who can install it for the lowest price. This bidding is relying completely on low prices, and the quality gets compromised in the way. But when the customer has an issue, the installer would blame the factory, the factory would do it vice versa, as no manufacturer would accept product failure.

Custom Doors

The market can change so fast, to accommodate your change. Customers are also going for custom doors. They realize that the price of a door in a Home Depot might be 350 but getting the right components for installation might cost you 2500. if you want the door to perform well, it’s got to be built properly and then it’s got to be installed properly.

Three Components of a Door

As explained by Andrew, there are three major structural components to any door system. He calls it a door system because it’s the whole thing assembled.

  • Door slab or a door panel, that’s the door itself that opens and closes
  • Door jam that goes all the way around, that’s the frame of the door
  • Door sill

Entire composite

If you are trying to make your door durable. Switch to something entire-composite where the entire door is a piece of composite. So, it’s basically kind of like plastic that’s a little bit softer on the inside and has a harder kind of bait shell on the outside. And that stuff is not affected by the elements such as water. This is the kind of door jam that you can throw outside you can have the door exposed to the elements, it’s not going to fail on.

How the doors are made

They have a very thin structural frame inside, it’s like a picture frame almost. And then you’ve got two sheets of material front and back. With a steel door, it’s a steel skin, which is actually very, very thin. Then you have these two sheets of steel, and then you’ve foam for insulation.

This is how there’s so much cheaper than wooden doors. And this is how they are actually insulated fairly well. They have the same thermal rating for both steel and fiberglass.

Steel vs Fiberglass

Andrew says the composite doors can cost you 1/4 of a wooden door cost. Though they are beautiful with hinges, airtight, firm, the guys with really good knowledge can make wood door work in the Canadian environment. It’s a whole different level of knowledge.

Andrew works in mainly two types, steel, and fiberglass (both insulated). They are quite similar in how they are made.

  1. The difference with fiberglass doors is that skin on that surface of the door is not a sheet of steel anymore it is a sheet of fiberglass, which is kind of that very hard plastic.
  2. A cool thing about fiberglass is you hit a fiberglass door you’re not going to leave a dent in it.
  3. Fiberglass doesn’t bend, no rust when scratched.
  4. Moisture build-up /condensation/ in the steel is more that eventually rots the door.
  5. Fiberglass skin has a big frame internal top to bottom (oftentimes bigger internal frame and it’s not wood it’s LBL or LSL)
  6. Woodgrain fiberglass doorslab/composite has a higher price. Because it looks similar to wooden doors.
  7. When you do a steel door, you can use pretty much any paint. But when you use fiberglass, you have to use a proper primer before you paint the doors and you need an expert for it.


The regular hinges have two parts that are joined together and the weight of the door pushes down on it eventually it’ll bleed a black metal because of the pressure. The heavier the door is, the worse it gets. That is the reason Andrew has been trying to evolve. His doors are very heavy. Andrew actually switched from regular ball bearings to heavy-duty ball bearings, and then from heavy-duty ball bearings to stainless steel, heavy-duty ball bearings hinges. It turned out that the regular ball-bearing hinges were not good enough, were not strong enough for the exposure of elements.


There are three major different types of locks, but two are used for regular doors. Andrew is using either a regular lock or multi-point lock. Regular lock or commonly called tubular lock has two latches at the bottom latch that clicks in when you shut the door and then you got your deadbolt which is what you turn when you are locking your door. That’s the bottom latch is what kind of holds it steel and then the top latch your deadbolt is what will prevent someone from kicking the door in.

Multi-point or four-point lock is a high-security lock that is more common in Europe. There are a few different systems for each type. You’d have a lot of different manufacturers for tubular, there are hundreds, whereas for multipoint in North America you can access maybe half a dozen.

Now multi-point lock has four points. So, it’s got four latches, it’s got one at the very top one at the very bottom, one in the middle, and the fourth is the deadbolt, and once you turn it, it will lock up the entire system. In the regular lock, the top, and the bottom are separate. Your top is locked, your bottom latch still goes in when pushed and it may allow you to force your way through the door easier. When it comes to doors, every little detail is important. What happens is when you leave the weakest link, that’s going to screw up your whole door in some way.


PVC frames serve as a better seal because they have a rubber liner on both sides as opposed to just a little bit of caulking on the outside. They also don’t have the ugly plugs and will have a strip that goes up the backside and covers all at once in one line, they look the same from the front and the back.

Double Doors

Double doors are much harder to do. In double doors, that piece in the middle, which is called astragal, would be attached to one of the doors, and you’ll have two bolts, one goes up, one goes down, that’s what fixes your stationary door, and functions as a perfect seal.

Single doors are easier to do. That bottom corner between the two double doors is a very hard spot to detail perfectly.

Intelligent People are Compromising Quality

Andrew says how intelligent people in the industry compromise on quality by working 3-4 doors per day. The industry can only succeed, if people who are working in it, do it for the sake of passion and love for their work. Though money is important, there should not be an element of greed, the installers should take up the work they can easily do. For example, a very common practice in the industry is pre-installing the brick mold, which saves time you cannot fit it as nice and whatever you’re using, it is not going to be perfectly straight.

Andrew says that people are getting educated when it comes to buying and installing doors. He also tells the listeners that door work is not impossible in winters and the quality of the end-product turns out to be the same!