House of the Day and Dear PoP – WIndow Bars Question

IMG_2026, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I told ya I found some nice painted ones this week. But looking at the house got me thinking about a Dear PoP that I’ve been meaning to post:

“Dear PoP,

In the end of 2008 I bought a house in the Park View neighborhood. My home was partially updated when I bought it and that included removing the wrought iron bars from the first floor windows and the door. I can see signs they had been there before. I’m getting tired of having to leave the windows closed for them to be locked, especially when I’m dying for a breeze. The constant opening/closing when I come and go is annoying. Additionally, I have my own dog and a rotating cadre of foster pups, and when I do have the windows open I’m sometimes nervous that a screen isn’t going to hold them back. (And, yes, snarky commenter in waiting, my dog is behaved but the nature of fostering can sometimes bring about unpredictable behavior). Is it ridiculous to want to put the bars back on my window (and door?)? Has anyone done this? Can anyone recommend someone? Is it going to be expensive as I’m thinking it is going to be?”

We discussed this issue a bit here but what do you guys think about this particular situation?

19 Comment

  • When I moved into my house in Mt P, there were no bars on the windows. Some things happened around that time in the neighborhood and on my street that lead me to get bars on 1st floor windows and the basement windows in the back. Without bars, it would take little effort for someone to pop the lock on the windows and climb in.

    I don’t remember how much it cost but at the time I didn’t think it was expensive, especially for the peace of mind. The bars don’t open from the inside but each window is right next to a door. The bars are a deterrent – but probably the best deterrent is neighbors who keep irregular hours.

  • I’ve been struggling with this same issue. Like the poster, the bars had been taken down in order to sell the house. Helpfully, the previous owner had left them in the garage, and only taken down the ones in front. Having only the windows in the back of the house barred has actually been a good compromise. It keeps the house from looking like a prison, but we can leave some of the windows open when we need/want to.

  • If you’re looking for someone to do this sort of work, I recommend Mickey’s Iron Works. Their phone number is 301-277-4141. They just put a security grate on my front door, as well as some window bars on my back windows. They did a good job, and the work was reasonably priced.

  • I swore I wouldn’t have bars on my house.
    After several break ins I relented.
    Had some decorative touches added to the design and now every door and window in my Col. Hgts. row house is barred save the front second story.
    Doesn’t bother me a bit. Also very attractive.
    I feel much more secure.

  • Having been through a fire, I’d rather be broke into than be trapped in a house. We removed our bars and installed laminated glass windows and a security system.

  • “broken into” sorry

  • I had them on the first floor of my house when I moved in and have kept them on. I just feel better. To me it is like the Jack on the car steering wheel. One more things to make things difficult for those with ill intent hopefully means they will pass you over.

    They have never really bothered me aesthetically-wise but them I am from New Orleans and we get into all sorts of iron work.

  • I rented an English basement in Mt. Pleasant about 7 years ago. The neighborhood was getting nicer at that point, but it was still quite a bit sketchier than it seems today. I was always surprised that the windows on the front and the back of the basement level had pretty hefty bars on them, but both the front and back doors had full-length windows on them, which were completely unprotected. I was lucky not to suffer a break-in during the time I lived there.

  • Our house was broken into – the robbers actually removed the security bars from our basement windows and smashed through double-paned glass to get in. The police said that a special tool is needed to remove the bars and that it’s not that easy to do. Got a security system – having bars no longer made me feel safe!

  • I replaced my static window bars with something that opened with a lock for under $450. So I can escape provided I can unlock the lock. Unfortunately the idea of someone breaking into my alley side bedroom window scares the crap out of me more than fire.

  • I second Mickey’s Ironworks. (301-277-4141) I’ve used them for several jobs and wouldn’t use any other given the choice.

  • I agree with the comment about having them on the back of the house. I live near Potomac ave metro (with it’s spate or recent brake ins). Between back of house bars and an alarm I feel quite safe. Most of the area break ins have been thru unlocked/un barred windows in houses without alarm. I just think of it as the price of city living.

  • @Anonymous or anyone else who cares to comment regarding the laminated glass… would you mind sharing who put up your laminated glass and what the approximate cost was? I am looking into doing that for my front windows – they say it helps cut down noise also. Thanks.

  • I’m the person with the laminated glass. It made a huge difference in noise reduction. It is definitely pricier than normal windows, but it is really difficult to break the glass. You’d attract quite a bit of attention with the effort needed to put into it. Quality Windows in Beltsville – I think our sales person was Jim. They also know the codes if you are in a historic distric. We had to do wood which added to the cost.

  • If you have to install metal bars, try to match the muntin pattern (if you have divided windows) and paint the bars the same color as the window sash; I’ve seen this on some old rowhouses in Capitol Hill (6th Street?). The metal bars sort of fade into the window, visually speaking.

  • Take a look at 1922 1st St NW. I used to live there and the bars design doesn’t make it feel like prison.

    Also, I never understood why bars can’t be put behind the wood look in panel windows. (Imagine metal behind the trim in this picture:

  • i have laminated glass on my back window that resisted a guy trying to smash through it for several minutes with a brick (i caught him). it actually got scratched but didn’t break! amazing.

  • I considered removing the existing bars on my Cap Hill house when I moved in several years ago. They were installed in the early 80s when it was a decidedly dicier area. Previous owners even installed locks on upstairs windows after rash of ladder wielding burglars hit several neighbors.

    The bars seem kind of silly now, but they are an excellent deterent and put me at ease about not shelling out $$ for an alarm system.

  • I too am a Hill resident (on a very, very quiet corner, a block west of Lincoln Park) with bars. I live alone and even though I have a dog (who’s more likely to lick someone to death than to ward off any criminals), the bars just add a nice layer of security. And, they’re kind of decorative – I like how they look.

Comments are closed.