Window Security Bar Installation and More
Window security bars (AKA burglar bars) are a common security measure homeowners add as part of their anti-burglary plan. There is a profound psychological benefit to installing bars on windows and putting a literal barrier between you and a criminal. Plus, the last thing a burglar wants to deal with is the additional challenge and noise required to break through bars. Window security bar installation can be a simple DIY project, but there are special circumstances that may complicate things.
Let’s walk through how to install security bars on windows, product options, costs, and other factors you should consider before you install burglar bars.
Choosing the Right Security Bars
Did you know security bars are made in a variety of configurations and from a variety of materials? The first step toward adding bars to your windows is to determine which bars you want.
Pros and Cons of Different Security Bar Styles
Style options include permanent security bars, swing-away bars that are hinged for exiting or simply cleaning the window, and removable bars.
- Permanent: These offer the best protection, but they become a problem if you need to access the window (like in a fire). This style is not legal everywhere. The look of these bars is unappealing to some homeowners, but decorative styles exist.
- Swing-away: These bars are hinged for exiting or simply cleaning the window, which makes them a popular option, especially in bedrooms. They still partially obstruct your view and might not look pretty, but you’ll get adequate security.
- Removable: Think of this as the quick-and-dirty option for a window that doesn’t need robust, long-lasting protection. It won’t obstruct the view (in or out) as much as the other styles.
The style you need depends on the window you’re protecting. For a window that you never touch but still want to secure, sturdy permanent bars could do the trick. If the window is your only way to escape in an emergency, swing-away bars would be best. After all, you don’t want to get trapped inside your house. Removable bars are best for temporary or infrequent use (like a seasonal property).
Bar Material Options
Common security bar materials include:
- Aluminum: This material is lightweight and inexpensive, but is also less durable than other options.
- Steel: Either tubular or solid, steel strikes a good balance between price and durability.
- Iron: Heavy duty and expensive, iron is often used for decorative bars to increase “curb appeal.”
- Polycarbonate: A new option in the market, polycarbonate is the same material used in helmet visors and airplane windows. The major advantage is that it’s transparent, so you don’t have to put up with “ugly” bars. However, it’s more expensive and not available everywhere.
Another feature to look for is whether the bars are expandable. These adjust to fit the exact size of your window, which is helpful if you plan on moving or if your windows are an unusual size.
What does purchasing and installing bars on windows cost? As with many things, your results may vary.
What window security bars cost depends on several factors. These include size, style, material, decorative features, and installation. Proper installation is key to the bars’ safety effectiveness. That’s why, depending on the complexity, you may or may not want to install them yourself.
If you go the DIY route, you can purchase security bars for home safety at big box retailers, hardware stores, or online. Costs start as low as $100 for a 27″ by 13″ window. Naturally, prices go up from there based on window size. You’ll see a significant price increase for custom pieces or deluxe materials like wrought iron. Decorative options, such as wrought iron bars curved into a shape that can house a potted plant, add to the aesthetic but also to the price.
There are plenty of good brands, but some popular ones stand out. For excellent security and visual design, consider Grisham security bars. Segal security bars are available online at big box stores and home improvement stores for as little as $100. Mr. Goodbar security bars offer lots of options and customization, with prices starting around $100. Transparent security bars start at about $150 for a small window.
And if you’re looking to protect your fire escape (always a good idea), plan to spend anywhere between $300 and $450, including installation. Fire escape window gate prices are steep, but they’re worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get.
How to: Window Security Bar Installation
Where to install security bars is your call. Most homeowners start with the least visible and most accessible windows. For example, basement egress windows are an open invitation for intruders. If you need to prioritize, ground-floor windows are more at risk than second-floor windows.
Window security bar installation, of course, depends on the bars you purchased. But in a general sense, you’ll secure the bars either to your home’s exterior or inside the window, using the home’s framework. The latter option is more secure since there’s no easy way to tear the bars off the mounting surface. Burglars could break the window, but they’d need some hardcore cutting tools to get through the bars. Interior security bars often come with a quick-release installation kit that includes rails and screws—follow the instructions for your chosen window carefully.
Exterior window security bar installation requires mounting a pair of brackets to framing members on either side of a window (or above and below). The structural framing members are directly behind a window’s frame. As such, you’ll need screws that are long enough to reach the structural components. Ideally, the window bars will include tamper-resistant screws that make it more difficult for burglars to remove them without specific tools. You will install security bars on windows between these secure anchors.
Also, be mindful of the siding material in determining how to mount security bars. As you would expect, window security bar installation on concrete or brick is a more involved process. When mounting on brick, stone, or masonry, use a power drill with a masonry bit to make a hole for a conical screw anchor. Drilling can take time, and the bit can get hot, so go slowly and take breaks to dip the bit in water to prevent overheating.
Again, proper window bar installation is important. You may want to look to the experts instead of doing it yourself.
Unique Situations and Considerations
Security bars are an often-thought-of security solution for egress windows in a basement, given the ease of access from the outside. However, by code, basements and sleeping rooms need to have windows that allow for a quick exit if needed. A straightforward solution is using bars that have swing-away or quick-release mechanisms.
In addition, be mindful of outlying circumstances, such as a window with an air conditioning unit. That put it at a higher risk. Can you move the A/C unit to a different window? If not, look into using externally mounted bars that bulge out or an expandable locking bar.
Other Window Safety Options
Of course, choosing other window accessories can be an instrumental part of break-in prevention. These can include window locks, security window film, and more. See our guide on how to burglar-proof your windows for more information.
Another older standby alternative to bars is using shutters. Security shutters can be closed and latched (and sometimes locked), whereas roll-down shutters pull down on a track and can be locked in place. As you’d imagine, these options are best pursued with custom measuring and professional installation.
Window Bars: Part of Your Overall Security Strategy
Of course, burglar bar installation should be just one part of your security strategy. Home security cameras are an integral piece of that equation, too. Deep Sentinel offers a variety of options to fit your unique needs. Unlike other home security cameras, Deep Sentinel uses AI and 24/7 monitoring by live security guards to prevent crime. Trained professional guards equipped with two-way audio, sirens, and other defenses can often scare off intruders before they even think about breaking a window’s glass.
Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit deepsentinel.com or call 833-983-6006