We are going to show you, step-by-step how you can make security bars for your glass windows at home. We know money is tight and a lot of people are looking for ways to do things more cheaply, so in this article, we will show you how you can secure your property properly.
We are talking more secure than window locks, and cheaper than installing security cameras. Because we know your home is your castle.
To make your own ‘security bars, also known as burglar bars’ you are going to need 3 tools. A cutoff saw, a welding machine and clamps. Neither the cutoff saw or welder needs to be big or expensive, you can use common tools that you’ll have at home or are pretty cheap to pick up at Home Depot or similar stores.
Next, you’ll need to make a key decision. Namely, if you are going to have the bars situated on the interior or exterior of the windows. Yeah, if it’s your home, you might not appreciate the aesthetic of exterior sidebars but they are a huge deterrent and very good at making robbers choose another house, an easier target.
If you choose to have the bars on the outside of the glass window, you have one final decision to make. Are you going to inset mount the bars or surface mount them? If you are not sure then the general rule of thumb is to insert them if you have a brick building, but we'll discuss it more in this article.
Now you can start to layout the bars for the windows. There are many designs you could use but one of the easiest is to lay the horizontal bars 6 inches from the top and bottom of the glass window and then the vertical bars 6 inches apart.
It’s time to weld the bars now. A good guide is to move in a circular motion, making ¼ inch to 3/8 inch circles.
Finally, you will want to paint your bars, to make the windows look tidy. Use a metal paint and if you are going the spray paint route, you’ll need a few layers.
If you can use a welding machine, it’s really not difficult to do and it will just make your home more secure and give you that peace of mind that locks just don’t offer.
Those are the 4 main steps, but there are a lot of little choices and tips that you’ll need to make and follow to make your security bars completely secure and to look good. And, we’ll walk you through them now.
“Locks only keep honest people honest”
This is a saying you will often find said in the home security business. It rings true, doesn’t it? Especially, if you look at the average home today. Every home has locks, on the doors and windows, and yet it doesn't stop burglars.
We are going to share with you how you can protect your property with security bars, one of the easiest yet more secure home security measures you can use to protect your property. And we’re going to walk you through it step-by-step.
As has been seen time and time again, a dead-bolted door can be forced open easily, a sliding glass door is easier still, and let's face it - the glass window is a decorative addition that lets you see outside and keep the cold out. It barely makes sense to call them home security. Especially on your basement window that normally just has some old window locks.
So as the saying indicates, even if the glass windows are securely locked the window glass is easily broken and will only keep the honest on the outside. Home security is not about protecting your home against the honest though.
It is, however, possible to make the windows of your home secure enough to stop a burglar from breaking in. Security window bars are the most fool-proof way to protect your home. Barring, of course, a criminal who is willing to use a truck and chain to gain entrance, which in normal circumstances is highly likely, the average home is just not worth that kind of effort.
Security bars look just like jail bars at your glass windows and offer exactly the same security. If you were to visit Mexico you would see they are a very common feature, especially in the more affluent areas. In the Southwest United States, you will also find they have become a common feature of many homes. If you are serious about having the best home security possible then security bars are the way to go. Especially if you don't have the money for. state of the art security cameras.
Unfortunately, having security bars fitted can be a costly business. Home-improvement centers like the Home Depot do supply commercial bars, which are adjustable but are nowhere as strong as the custom-made ones that most people have fitted.
There is another option though. Don't give your money to the Home Depot but instead, take control of your own home security. Protect your house and save money by building your own security bars yourself.
To secure your basement window or ground floor windows with some bars, all you will need are three pieces of equipment. A cutoff saw a welding machine and clamps. Of course not forgetting safety equipment, tinted face mask, tinted goggles, and insulated leather welding gloves to protect your hands.
You can get a decent, good quality welder for a few hundred dollars. Especially for what we need on this job.
A larger one will give you much more flexibility but for making security bars it will be more than enough. As it uses Flux-cored wire there will be no need for shielding gas.
The materials you’ll need for making your security bars are going to be small in size, meaning you won’t require a large cut off saw.
The great thing about DIY security bars is they don't require expensive equipment or materials.
An important step before designing and making your DIY security bars is to consider how you will mount them to the glass windows of your home. Here are a few things to think about before you get going.
Firstly, where do you want to mount your bars? On the inside or outside of your home?
Security bars can be mounted either way but are more commonly seen on the exterior of houses. You will even come across them being on both the inside and outside on some properties - I personally that is a little on the paranoid side, but each to their own!
Obviously, with interior mounted bars they are not so visible to the outside and therefore, will be of lesser deterrent to burglars but even more difficult to bypass, so perhaps an additional layer of home security. Not so pleasing from the inside to look at unless they are covered with window dressings.
If on the other hand, you decide to mount them on the outside of your home, the next choice is do you inset mount them or surface mount them? Inset mountings are ideal for homes that are brick-built. This means that where the brick frames around the glass window the mounts and screws can easily be fixed to the edge of the bricks.
The bracket that can be used for mounting either on the inside of a window or for inserting on the exterior of a brick-built home. It is a one-inch piece of 1-1/4″ steel angle with a drilled mounting hole in it.
An advantage of having security bars secured by inset mounting is that they are more difficult to pull out of place. It’s important to remember that when drilling into brick or cement that you go with an insert for the screw or bolt, otherwise if not used the bars can be easily pulled out. Also, by using an inset mount the intruder will need to try to break the bolts in the mounting or try to break the bricks the bolts are secured into.
You will notice that in Mexico their security bar ends on windows of the home are inset into the stucco wall. They need to take home security clearly and don't have security cameras because it's just too expensive.
Although very strong it isn’t all that practical in properties that are made of wood, brick, or even properties that are already built stucco ones. In that case, you need to reconsider your window security.
Apart from the already mentioned strap and angle for the end brackets, home security bars are made with½ inch square tubing. Usually, bars used in home security are made from 18-gauge tubing, which has 0.049 of an inch thickness.
If you would prefer stronger bars, then you can make them with 16-gauge tubing which has a thickness of 0.065 of an inch making it 32% thicker. Steel tubing comes in 20-foot lengths, which you can ask to be cut in half to make it easier for you to get home if you don’t have a vehicle big enough to transport yourself.
In my opinion, it is best to buy from the steel supplier directly, it cuts out the middleman. Although they deal mainly with contractors and may not be so excited to deal with a small order, they can and will supply you with what you require.
They can also supply you with pre-made decorative pieces from them too if it is your plan to make your DIY security bars a little more fancy and pleasing to look at. No one said home security had to look ugly, it is your home after all.
On an average-sized window, bars are made up of a number of vertical bars welded to 2 horizontal bars. If the window you want to put your bars at is larger than 5 feet or more in height, it would be wise to have 3 horizontal bars. Each window is different, but that's the general rule of thumb when thinking home security.
This is because it would prevent there being anyway the intruder can spread the bars far enough apart to gain entrance. All the bars are made from the same ½ inch steel tubing.
There are a variety of designs you can choose from when it comes to the layout of your bars, but to make this tutorial as simple as possible I’m going to use a fairly basic design. To begin, your horizontal bars need to be approximately 6 inches from the top and bottom of your window edges.
Likewise, your vertical bars should be at approximately 6 inches apart (they can be spaced at a lesser distance of 4-5 inches but 6 inches is the most preferred). The vertical bars can be adjusted if required so they are evenly spaced across the window.
The purpose of the jig is to replicate the clamps and steel table the professional has in his workshop. It will hold the pieces so you can weld them together. I made up the jig as follows: glued into place short blocks so as to make sure the bars I would be working on were properly aligned.
Then with 1 X 2 inch pieces of wood to go across the top of the metal bars, working like clamps to hold the metal bars in place. All held together with a bungee cord type material which has a loop that then goes under the plywood board of the jig.
It may appear a bit amateurish, but believe me it works. It held into place perfectly while I got on with my welding completed. Once one end was welded I just flicked the bars around into the jig and welded the other end of the bars. The jig will get scorched and burned during the welding process, but that’s fine as it can be thrown away after the project is finished.
Now to the welding. The vertical and horizontal bars will need to be welded at each point where they meet. So, this means there will be 4 welds to each cross point, 2 on the backside, and 2 on the front side.
Firstly, check your welding machine so you have the correct setting for the material thickness you are using. Square steel tubing is quite thin and very easy to weld. I used the lower setting because if the setting is too high you could end up burning a hole straight through the steel tubing, which is something you want to avoid.
If you did burn a hole then you would need to use welding wire to fill the hole in order to make your bars look good. If you’ve not used a wire-feed welder before let me reassure you, it’s really easy - even if you aren’t steady handed like me.
The welding wire you’ll be using is about ½ inch to ¾ of an inch long and comes out of the nozzle end of the welding pistol. The welding wire continuously feeds through the gun while you are welding. Working with short welding wire is really very easy as it is so easy to control and place where you want it to go.
Now moving in a circular motion, make about ¼ inch to 3/8 inch circles. Just to clarify, you will be moving the gun from one end of the area you want to weld to the other in a circle movement. To give you a nice clean welding pattern the circles you make should go about halfway over the 2 pieces you are welding together.
When you have completed all the welding of the bars, double-check they are nicely welded and secured. Once this is done you are now ready to give your bars a nice finish. Using a wire brush, clean off all the welds and get rid of all the weld flux.
If there are any splatters of weld (the little balls of welded wire) tap them off or they will come off really easily with the use of a pair of wire cutters or a flat-bladed screwdriver.
Steel tubing is usually covered in an oil or grease when you buy it. This is because when the tubing is being made it needs to be lubricated to help draw it through the dies. It’s easy to clean off by using a good degreaser, your regular dishwashing liquid mixed with water does the job nicely. If you’re concerned the tubing will become rusty don’t get because that’s the next thing we are going to sort out.
If you’ve had the tubing sitting around in the workshop or garage for a while waiting for you to start your security window bars, it will probably have a bit of rust on it already. The solution to this is to treat them with phosphate, which can be bought easily in any hardware or paint store.
There are several brands out there, but it’s easy enough to find as they all tend to have the word ‘Phospho’ on itl. Apply it to all the metal surfaces and wait for it to dry, it will then turn all the rusted areas of the tubing black.
For a nice decorative finish to the ends of your vertical bars, you may want to add finials or spear ends. These ends generally come in cast iron but it is possible to have plastic ones. The plastic ones are handy if like me your welder isn’t quite powerful enough to weld cast iron to the tubing. They can be easily glued on using epoxy.
And finally, if you want to paint your bars then use metal paint to do the job. If you decide to use spray paint then you will need to give the bars a few coats as spraying doesn’t give a thick enough coat to give a good finish. You want your windows to look at nice as possible.
This is especially important if you intend to place your bars on the exterior of your home, the coating needs to be nice and thick to give good protection from the elements. Wait till the bars are completely dry and then they are all good to install.
And there we have it. Installation complete. No need for security cameras, you've secured your glass windows, an important step in home security. If only we could make your doors as safe as your windows!