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How are Custom Security Doors Made?

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Our clients have a lot of questions regarding how our custom security doors are made — specifically, they wonder why it takes so long. 

We understand the frustration in needing to wait. Once you’ve designed your home security door, you don’t want to wait for weeks before it can be installed. While we’ve explained this to many people, we thought it would be best to get it all down in writing. 

We’re extremely proud of our work, and of the artisans in Italy who hand-make our steel security doors. Their work is meticulous and very difficult, which means that they can’t rush it. And of course, perfection takes time. 

Here’s how custom security doors are made, what steps of the process take the most time, and what you can expect from FBS.

Step 1: Quote and Preliminary Design

This is the very beginning. It’s actually a bit like a first date — we’re trying to determine if you’re a good match for us, and you’re trying to determine if we’re a good match for you. We’ll sit down with you (in person or on the phone) and talk about what you want in your security doors and windows and what type of security you need. 

Once we understand what you’re looking for, we’ll sketch out a design for you and be able to get you an accurate quote. We always appreciate photos at this stage — send us photos of doors you think look cool, along with what you like about them. 

This step can be rather quick, provided that we can narrow down parameters. After all, we don’t want to waste your time (or ours). 

There are four aspects of design and customization of your security door that drive budgets: 

Every situation is unique, and therefore, a security assessment is always recommended during this process. We always want to make sure that your security team is involved with specifications, and if you’d like additional support there, we can help with that as well

The most important part of Step 1 is making sure that our custom security doors are the best fit for you and your family, or your business. Once we’re all on the same page, we can move on to Step 2. 

An example of a shop drawing for a pivot door to be installed in a luxury home.

Step 2: Measurements and Full Design

In the case of new builds, architects can provide us with official measurements. However, in the case of retrofits, we come out to your location and take the measurements ourselves, in addition to making an evaluation of the site. Because measurements are so important to this process, it’s critical that we get it right from the start.

During this step, we can also create a render of your custom security door. However, it takes a significant amount of time to do so, and therefore it’s not something we do as a matter of regular course. If this is something you want, we can definitely do it for you.

This is when we really take a deep dive into coverings, technology, and structural options because once the design is sent to the factory, it’s difficult (and expensive) to make changes. Our team of architectural designers and technology experts will work with your architect and interior designer during this process. Making sure you’re getting what you want is the number one goal here. 

Step 3: Production

Admittedly, this step typically takes the longest amount of time. Once we send the final designs to the artisans in Italy, they put your custom security door in the queue and begin building it. Each part of this step requires careful attention and planning because a mistake means starting over, which of course, costs both time and money.

This is a complicated process, so let’s break it down a bit.

Shop Drawings

Once everything is finalized and the contract is signed, we can create official shop drawings. After that, we’ll send it to the artisans in Italy to make sure they can make what we’ve designed. (We’ve challenged them a time or two or ten, but they’ve always been able to make it work.)

These shop drawings tell the artisans exactly what they’ll need to use in order to assemble each piece of the custom security door, including which size screws to use and where. This is the last thing that we do before Italy takes over production.

An example of a shop drawing with finishing details for a pivot door to be installed in a luxury home.

Acquisition

The very first step in the physical building process is acquiring all the materials the artisans need in order to build your custom security door. While some of the materials are made in-house, not all of them are and will need to be ordered. 

 For example, facial recognition devices are made in Germany. Because technology is constantly changing, we want to make sure our clients are getting the latest and greatest technology available, which means we don’t keep them in stock at the factory. Every piece of facial recognition technology is ordered as needed, and it takes time to ship. (More on this later.)

 The steel bars and the rolled steel we use to build the door structure are brought in at this point as well, and those materials can be used immediately to begin the manufacturing process. As the rest of the supplies arrive at the factory, they are catalogued and stored together until they’re needed for the assembly or finishing process.

Cutting and Shaping

It’s during this stage that the steel and other metals used for our doors and windows are cut to the exact size we need them to be. Since everything we do is custom, we can’t do any of this ahead of time. We don’t have “standard” sizes — every single piece must be cut to the exact dimensions according to the measurements at the final location.

 We often boast that our custom security doors are handmade by artisans in Italy, so when we get to this step and people find out we use machines, they’re sometimes taken aback. We can assure you that this is the only machine-driven step in our manufacturing process. It simply makes sense because the artisans can ensure that each hole or hidden compartment is in the precise location in which it needs to be.

Structure Assembly 

As the name suggests, this is when the cut pieces are assembled and welded by the artisans. This is when the structure of the door is actually created, and any other metal being used on the door is assembled. The artisans are very skilled and have developed the necessary knowledge required to weld various types of metals according to the processes required to secure them. 

 For example, galvanized steel and bronze are not welded in the same fashion and require different processes. Doing it incorrectly means ruining the product, which would require us to start making those pieces over again.

 This process requires careful attention to detail. A mistake at this juncture can either mean re-cutting a piece, or starting the whole door over again. From this step forward, the artisans are very hands-on and triple-check everything they do.

A photo of custom security doors in various states of production, including the plain steel frame and another nearly finished.

Painting/Powder Coating

Painting and powder coating is done on the skeleton of every single door we make, regardless of the special finishings that will be used later on. Because of the differences in climate and severe types of weather where our custom security doors are installed, it’s important that we have a variety of corrosion resistant coating available.

We can include anticorrosion coatings at C3, C4, or C5 levels, which protect your custom security door from a variety of climates and weather conditions. 

  • C3 coatings are suitable for urban environments or coastal properties where the air salinity is relatively low. 
  • C4 coatings are necessary for industrial neighborhoods and coastal properties with moderate air salinity.
  • C5 coatings are required for climates with high humidity and coastal properties with high air salinity (such as South Florida or Jamaica).

While we do some painting in-house, we often do this type of coating through one of our local partnership facilities because it allows us to offer our clients more options.

At this point, a thorough quality check is done so we can make sure that the structure is ready for the final phases. Any pieces that were sent out for painting or powder coating are heavily inspected, since they left our sight. Any imperfections or problems need to be addressed and corrected immediately so we’re not wasting time. 

Mechanical Assembly

Once the inspections have been completed, we move on to mechanical assembly and testing, which involves installing all locking mechanisms, closure points, moving parts, and hardware. This step can vary in the amount of time it takes to complete, depending on the complexity of the custom security door — is it motorized? Is there technology involved? 

When our artisans are satisfied with the job they’ve done and they look everything over one more time, the door is placed in the warehouse to await the rest of the materials necessary to finish it off.

Finishing

Finishing your custom security door is when things really start to slow down, and it’s really because we need to make sure that there are no mistakes. 

Final assembly can only begin when all of the materials have arrived at the factory. Ideally, the structure of the door has already been finished and is waiting in the warehouse. Most of the time, this is the way it works out, but not always.

A photo of a custom security door that is in the finishing stages of production.

This is the stage when we put on what we call cladding, which refers to external panels, glass, specialty stone and marble, etc. Essentially, these are the finishing touches that make your custom security door look different from everyone else’s. These are the unique design choices you made early on that make your security door fit into the overall design of your luxury home.

As you’d expect, this part of the process is meticulous and requires extreme attention to detail. Each piece must be inspected by the artisan before being attached to the door because once it goes on, it cannot come off. Unlike most manufacturers, this is a time when we’re specifically asking the artisans to move slowly — finishing is not the time to make a mistake. If there is anything wrong at this stage, we run the risk of literally starting the door over, which is extremely costly and time-consuming.

Seals are of the utmost importance as well, especially when installing glass and porcelain. These pieces can be large, heavy, and always expensive. Artisans must handle everything with care and ask for assistance when something is too heavy to safely move on their own. The sealants used are the most important part of hurricane protection, as they are the most common failure point.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Before every single custom security door or window is readied for shipping, it must be thoroughly tested. This is another step that we don’t rush through — we just can’t. Shipping is far too expensive and difficult to risk shipping an imperfect door.

It’s first installed into a temporary structure (which has to be custom-built to accommodate the door or window) in our factory so that our artisans can test it properly. Doors need to be opened and closed repeatedly. Every lock must be put through a stress test. Motors must be challenged. 

In fact, our artisans program the motors to keep going even after they leave for the evening so that we can make sure they aren’t defective. When they return in the morning, they check the logs for errors and start the whole process over again. During the course of a week, the doors are opened and closed hundreds of times because we have to know that the door is perfectly functional before it ships.

Four custom security doors temporarily installed in frames for testing.

Custom Crating and Packing

Given the weight (and often, large size) of our custom security doors and windows, the factory has to be extremely careful about packing up the final products. Furthermore, these pieces will need to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles before reaching their final destination. They’re too expensive to arrive damaged — replacing them would be very difficult, costly, and time-consuming.

In an effort to decrease the amount of waste from our shipping containers, the factory has begun to source green packing materials. They’ve entirely eliminated plastic and styrofoam from their shipping containers, switching them out instead for materials made from sugarcane so they are entirely biodegradable.

Step 4: Shipping

Once your custom security door has been carefully packaged, it’s loaded onto the vessel that will deliver it to the country of its final destination. While some of our products can be shipped via plane, we’re severely limited by weight and size restrictions in that regard. Many doors are sent via ship, simply because of size and weight. Smaller pieces can be sent on a plane, which cuts down shipping time.

Shipping on a freighter from Italy to the United States will take a couple weeks, and then it needs to be taken from port to your luxury home. Shipping is a frustrating stage because there’s nothing you can do to help anything along and there are a lot of factors beyond your control (such as weather, economic issues, etc). 

Step 5: Installation

When the day finally comes to install your custom security door, we’ll be there for you. You can choose the contractor who will do the physical installation, but an FBS technician will be present to make sure that everything is done properly, advise the contractor if they have questions, and double check that all the parts are functioning well before the homeowner sees them.

This is another time when sealants are extremely important, so our technicians will make sure the contractors are using the correct products when the time comes.

The other major component to installation is any biometric technology that you’ve requested for your door. For example, if facial recognition is part of your custom security door, our technician will program the homeowners and any other requested users (housekeepers, nannies, family, etc) into the system and then check that everything is working properly. 

For your added safety and security, our technician is provided with a special key called a technician’s key. The owner is then given a different key, and when that key is used to open the door for the first time, the technician’s key is automatically disabled. Of course, this means no one has a key to your home but you — not even us.

A photo of FBS technicians helping to unload a custom security door at its final destination in a luxury home.

Step 6: Maintenance

Our custom security doors and windows are designed to be relatively low maintenance, but just like your car needs an oil change every few months and your furnace needs to be checked annually, your custom security doors should be checked as well. After all, everything needs to be in working order if they’re going to protect you.

In order to keep your doors and windows fully operational, we now include one year of our Platinum Level Service plan. This provides you with 24/7 phone access to a technician who can help you troubleshoot any issues you’re having with your door or window. If deemed necessary, we will have a technician out to your location within 48 hours (weather and travel permitting).

After the first year, the Platinum Level Service plan can be purchased for an annual fee. This will cover an annual maintenance check-up on your custom security doors and/or windows, battery replacements, motor checks, sealant checks, and lubrication of moving parts. 

We don’t forget about you after your home security doors and windows have been installed. We are committed to making sure you’re always happy with your pieces, and that they’ll continue to keep you safe.

Getting Started With Your Own Custom Security Doors

Our process isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. The artisans at the factory in Italy are not looking to rush through as many custom security doors as possible — the goal is to build flawless products for our clients. 

We want you to love your doors and windows. Owning a luxury home allows you to be picky about these types of things, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t love seeing them every day. 

One of the most common questions we get at FBS is whether or not we ship to a specific location — potential clients seem to get the impression that we only do work in Florida because that’s where we’re located, or Italy because that’s where the products are made.

The truth is, we can deliver your custom security doors and windows literally anywhere in the world. Our doors and windows can be found on businesses and luxury homes in Italy, Jamaica, Florida, California, New York, Illinois, Texas, and many other locations across the globe.

If you’d like to learn more about security doors and windows, feel free to check out the information on our website. We have dozens of articles going into our offerings on an in-depth basis, from ballistic level protection to hurricane certification to our love of pivot doors. But of course, nothing speaks better than real client testimonials, so please read through those as well.

When you’re ready to discuss your security needs, please give us a call. We’d love to talk to you on the phone, but if you’re near our headquarters, we’d love for you to schedule an appointment to stop into the office. The fine Italian craftsmanship on our doors and windows are best experienced in person, and it would be our honor to show them to you. 

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