Safe, efficient, and also a stylish addition to your home: window security bars are a popular addition to many homes and commercial properties.
If you’re thinking of installing window security bars to your property, there are a few things you might want to know. From whether they really are a sound security investment, to how it will affect your property’s aesthetic appeal, to how to have it installed without damaging your home.
With that, here’s a property owner’s complete guide to window security bars.
What Are Window Security Bars?
Also known as “burglar bars”, window security bars are metal grids bolted to protect your window and window frames from the outside or within the window frame. Their main function is to deter possible burglars, trespassers, or intruders from entering your home. If you have a bad habit of forgetting to lock your windows or are worried about burglars breaking your windows to get access, window security bars offer a layer of protection.
Window security bars are common in:
- Areas with high crime rates or a growing number of burglary cases;
- Communities with no neighborhood watch programs, home security companies, or are very out of the way that it will take police a long time to arrive;
- Basement or ground-level windows;
- For commercial properties, windows that are easily accessible to anyone on the street;
- Homes of people who want to have window security bars as a precaution;
- Homes of people who want lower home insurance premiums by having a security measure installed in their home.
Types of Window Bars
There are three main types of window bars. Should you decide to have window security bars installed, you need to choose between:
Permanent Security Bars
These are bars installed on your window frames and cannot be removed unless major alterations are performed. These are the most secure, as removing them will require cutting out the thick metal bars. These are the best option for round-the-clock window protection.
Swing-Away Security Bars
These window security bars have a lock and hinge that allow the bars to swing away from the window. These are often used for window cleaning or when there needs to be an emergency exit and the doors cannot be used.
These are temporary bars that are locked into place and can be detached. These are for those who like the security of window security bars, but not as a permanent fixture for their property’s aesthetic. It’s commonly used at night or when the house will be empty for a long period.
Benefits of Getting Window Security Bars
There are three main advantages to having window security bars installed on your property’s windows: aesthetic appeal, protection against natural hazards, and protection against burglars and trespassers.
Window security bars add a hint of character to any dull window. Cheaper bars may be simple and poorly made, but more quality bars have thicker bars and designed with spirals, waves, curls, or a traditional fleur-de-lis. It’s a great addition to older homes or homes with plain neutral colors on its exterior.
Natural calamities like storms, typhoons, strong winds, and hurricanes can turn objects like rocks, stones, or even large branches into flying projectiles. Left bare, your windows are vulnerable to large objects smashing through your window and letting the wind and other debris inside.
With bars on your window, you can protect your windows from larger projectiles that can break it. The smaller the gaps between the bars and the stronger your bars are, the less likely it will be damaged during a natural disaster.
Security bars’ main selling point is how it prevents burglars and trespassers from using your windows as an entry point to your home. This, combined with security measures for other entry points in your home (doors, garages, basement stairs, etc.) deter unwanted individuals from trying to break into your home.
Quality window bars are difficult to remove without drawing too much attention to themselves. And because they cannot fit past the grid of everyday window bars, it is difficult for them to quietly enter through your windows.
On average, the United States sees burglaries happen once every 26 seconds. It can happen any time of the day as long as a burglar sees the opportunity to get in and take advantage of your property.
Are Window Security Bars an Effective Form of Protection?
The short answer: yes, it is effective. In fact, it may even be more effective than simply having a lock on your window.
Some property owners think that a window lock is sufficient for security, but it may not be. If a criminal is determined to break into your home, nothing is going to stop them from breaking your window to open the lock or simply break the window to gain access. In comparison, security bars are difficult to break down, making them a bad access point if they’re trying to get in unnoticed and quickly.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Window Security Bars?
An average 16″ by 24″ window should cost you around $100 for a basic quality permanent security bar setup. Larger windows and more complex designs on the bars can go upwards of $500 per window.
The cost of window security bar installation may start at $150 and can reach $300, depending on the size of the window covered. While you can opt to DIY your bars, if this is going to be a security measure, it’s always best to have a professional on the job.
If cost is a big issue for you, think of it this way. If you fit your property’s windows with security bars, home insurance companies may offer lower premiums as low as five percent. This is because of the extra layer of protection these bars afford you, the risk of getting robbed is less likely.
Which Windows Should Have Security Bars?
Ideally, for security and for a uniform aesthetic, all of your property’s windows should have burglar bars installed. But if that’s not financially possible, prioritize the vulnerable windows in your home. These include windows:
- On the ground or basement level;
- On the front of your property most visible to foot traffic or those looking from outside your home;
- Windows in your home that neighbors cannot see (obscured by trees, fences, and other objects;
- Windows on the upper levels that are accessible to intruders (e.g. can be climbed through trees, low garden sheds, any window vulnerable for entrance).
What About a Fire Exit?
Many may be hesitant about barring up their windows because, in case of an emergency, they may need the windows to use as an escape. Depending on your local laws, there may be laws that require security bars to have a release feature from the inside. It can still protect you against intruders, but those on the inside can easily release the bars from the window and escape.
Will I Be Secure?
Your windows will prevent intruders and deter them from trying to break in, but it won’t totally secure your property unless you take extra steps. There may still be vulnerable points in your home like your doors and garages, so you need to take additional precautions to further reduce the risks of burglars. A few steps to take include:
- Investing in a stronger doorjamb, deadbolt, and stronger and longer nails to prevent burglars from breaking down your door. If possible, consider using smart locks or smart tech to prevent key loss.
- Do not hide spare keys in obvious places (e.g. under the doormat);
- Do not make it obvious when no one is at home;
- Secure all doors at night
Protecting your property’s windows with security bars is just one way of protecting your home, but there needs to be more security measures around the house to truly make your property safe from burglars or intruders. The costs of installing window security bars may seem higher compared to other security measures in the market, but given its multiple benefits, it may be worth it for your home.