How to Build Burglar Bars for Windows

Caprice Castano

Burglar bars on the windows of your home afford a sense of security and safety to keep predators out. Building custom-made bars and installing them requires some welding expertise but can be a great project for the iron or metal working enthusiast.

Safely built burglar bars allow for escape but keep predators out.

One important key to remember is that building codes in most areas require a quick-release safety latch on burglar bars to allow for a quick escape in the event of a fire.

The Bars

  1. Measure the window you will be building the burglar bars for. Be sure to take the measurements on the inside of the frame, at the top and bottom of both sides, and at both ends from top to bottom as well. This will tell you if the measurement changes over the width or length of the window frame, as not all are exact. Check for level while you are measuring. If the measurement is not matching on one end or the other, go with the smaller dimension. You may need to use a shim when you install the bars, or there will be a very small gap at one end. If it is small enough it won't disrupt the integrity of the bars or be less secure.

  2. Measure and cut your iron pieces using metal cutting tools. If you have metal working tools you will have these on hand. If you are purchasing tools for the project a good set of pipe cutters should get through the iron sections you will be using. You can choose to create a frame and grid type construction, or a supported grid. A frame would be a box type frame with vertical bars mounted every 4 inches across the width. A supported grid is a base of iron bars every 4 inches, with horizontal supports welded across the bars, one every 12 inches. There is no outside frame to this design, it will look roughly like a square grid design.

  3. Weld the bars together. Frame-design bars will need the outer frame welded together first, then the inner bars attached one by one at both the top and bottom. The grid design can be done by laying the vertical bars on your working surface, then welding each horizontal bar across with a weld attaching it to each vertical bar. Add the next horizontal bar and weld it to each vertical bar, continuing until all bars are added.

  4. Check the bars for a good fit.

Quick Release Safety Latch

  1. Contact your local building department and get a copy of the building codes regarding safety devices. There are municipal codes in most places governing the use of burglar bars or devices that inhibit safe escape from the residence.

  2. Purchase a quick-release latch that will fit the bars you are constructing. These can be purchased from a safety supply store, a door and window supplier or a security installer.

  3. Attach the quick release safety device on the inside of the burglar bars before installing, and attach the hardware to the window frame.