If you have already got yourself one of the most secure exterior doors, your next step towards burglar-proofing your home should be securing your windows. Security bars (aka Burglar bars) are an effective way to deter and prevent an intruder from breaking in through a window.
What are Security Bars?
Security bars are also known as Burglar bars. Typically made of steel, security bars are designed to withstand brute force. They are securely locked in position and cover the vulnerable parts of the window.
Some security bars are removable and can be released for window maintenance. On the other hand, for medium to high security, fixed security bars are used.
Security bars not only keep your home safe from forced entry but also can decrease your home insurance premiums. Plus, regardless of the neighborhood, they can increase the value of your home.
Security bars come in wide variety. They can be as simple as adjustable window lock bars that don’t need any installation. Or they can be tricky to install like Grisham Window Guard. The tips of these burglar bars have to be drilled into the framework of your home. Although the spear tips make it easier for them to penetrate into the structural material that flanks over the windows.
Most common type of burglar bars used for securing windows, however, are the ones that have the silhouette that matches the stereotypical image of a farmhouse fence in children’s books. Like these Defender Security Segal Window Guard. They are not hard to install, but you have to take care about their placement.
Then, there are the varieties where you can choose styles from 3-bar units to 8-bar units. For instance, Knape & Vogt John Sterling Swing Window Guard. However, these are more intended for kids safety than keeping away intruders.
How to Install Security Bars on Your Windows
To install them you’ll need some simple and inexpensive tools and a bit patience and careful measuring. But it’s not complicated and with this step-by-step guide pretty much anyone will should be able to do it. I also recommend consulting local building guides before installing security bars on your windows.
Gather Up Supplies:
Here are the items you’ll need for this project.
- Measuring Tape
- Pencil / Marker
- Flat-Head Screw Driver
- Spirit Level
- Drill Driver (with 2mm Head)
- Security Bars
Step 1: Measure Your Window Frame
The first thing you need to know is if the burglar bars that you have chosen are the right size.
- Measure the length and width of your window frame.
- Compare the length and width of your window frame with those of the security bars.
- It is recommended to leave a gap at the top and at the bottom of the bars.
- Burglar bars come in a variety of sizes. Choose the size that allows leaving a gap at the top and the bottom of the bars.
- You may need a pair of security bars for oversized windows. Choose the size of the security bars accordingly.
Step 2: Mark Up the Holes for Screws
Place the security bars against the window frame and check where do the screw holes need to be drilled.
- Use spirit level to make sure the burglar bar isn’t skewed.
- Make sure their orientation is correct and leaves room for opening and closing the windows easily. (If you are installing them inside)
- Use a pencil or a marker to draw clear marks through the screw holes.
Some burglar bars do not have brackets. You have to buy them separately. Keep this in mind when you are buying the security bars. You have to install them on the sides of the security bars. It does not need any tools, usually they just slide in.
There are two types of brackets:
3” projection brackets: They keep the security bars lifted three inches above the window frame.
Flush Mount Brackets: They keep the security bars flushed to the building surface/ frame of the window. Take a look at the following picture and see the difference between the two.
If you are using a pair of security bars for an oversized window, marking for screws may be tricky. Mark holes for each using spirit level.
You may also need joining brackets in the middle of the two. You may choose any of these two:
T-Bracket: If there is a support in the middle of the window where you can place additional screws. This bracket is the way to go.
Connecting Pins: If the window doesn’t have a middle beam, use connector pins to join the two burglar bars.
Step 3: Pre-Drill the Screw Holes
Just as you anticipated, the next step is to drill the holes where you marked. Use a 2mm head on your drill to make holes into the wall/ window frame. The key is not to make the hole too deep or too wide. This step makes it easier to drive the screw through the holes of the burglar bars.
Step 4: Install the Security Bars
You are almost done. This is the last step of the installation.
- Place your burglar bars on the window ensuring the holes on the burglar bars line up with the pre-drilled screw holes.
- Use a drill bit or a dowel to hold one side of the burglar bars in place while you drive the screw on the other side.
- Use a screw driver instead of drill to drive the screws in position. This will help ensure you don’t over tighten the screws.
- Most screws supplied with the burglar bars are “one-way”. They are called so because they can be driven in one direction only and can’t be easily unscrewed in the opposite direction. This is a security measure that allows the burglar bars to be safe against the burglars from easily removing the security bars.
Pro-Tip: Burglar bars installed into the window frame are just as strong as the window frame itself. They may fall apart with brute force (if the frame is weak). For best security, install burglar bars into the frame of the house.
Watch this short how-to video for visual instructions.
Don’t forget that burglar bars are not only going to keep the burglars from entering your house through the window. They are also going to keep you from getting out of the house through the window in case of emergency. So, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Use quick-release burglar bars on a ground floor window that can be released quickly in the event of fire or another emergency.
- Burglar bars may also hinder the rescue operations in case of fire. Consult your local fire department for information on approved release devices for burglar bars. (Use non-emergency number)
- Every one in the household should be able to lock and unlock the burglar bars.
- Plan two exits out of each room beforehand and inform all members of the household about these.
Take Home Notes:
Burglar bars are the next best thing to make your home secure. Number one being the most secure front door. Now, that you have learned how to install security bars on your windows, you should also know how to choose the right burglar bars.
When you have measured your window and heading to buy burglar bars for your window, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do your windows open? Check that the burglar bars allow enough space to easily open and close your windows.
- Do the security guards have brackets included? Or would you need to buy them separately?
- There are varieties of burglar bars with quick release system. If you are after one of these, check if you have chosen the right one before making the purchase.
- What colour do you want? It may not be a super important choice security wise but it adds aesthetic value to the look of the window/ house.
- Lastly, measure the window frame accurately. Keeping in mind the gap you need to leave at the top and bottom of the window, choose the dimensions of the burglar bars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do burglar bars work?
Yes, they absolutely do. Most intruders prefer to use brute force to break in through the front doors. If they deem it sturdy enough, they will go for windows. Also, windows with burglar bars deter any burglar looking for a target. Intruders look for easy targets.
2. Can you place burglar bars on the inside?
Yes, the burglar bars can be placed on the inside. Most people choose to install the burglar bars on the inside to keep the house looking more aesthetically pleasant from the outside. Nonetheless, there are varieties of security bars that have beautiful designs and add to the look of the house even when placed on the outside.
3. Can burglar bars be removed?
Yes. They can be removed. However, it will take a little more effort and sometimes a handyman to remove them. So, if you’re thinking the burglars will easily unscrew them away, it’s not the case. (Unless they are highly skilled and have loads of time to do it)