Window bars are a common burglary preventative measure, especially for basements that are located on street level and the area of the house which is most prone to break-ins. If bars become damaged for any reason, they may need to be replaced. Fortunately, removing and replacing window bars is neither a particularly expensive nor challenging job.
The project does need to be done with care; however, since the bars will be firmly attached to the masonry and deeply rooted, it is easy to damage the masonry by mistake. Remember that window bars are installed in such a way that they are not easy to remove, otherwise thieves could simply remove them themselves.
Find Out How the Bars Are Installed
Thoroughly inspect the frame of the window to determine how the existing bars are installed. Burglar bars are normally attached using one-way screws which are over 4-inches long. Use a special removal tool at your local hardware store designed for the job.
Measure the screw heads which are fixed to the bars to determine the exact size of the tools that you need to remove them. If you cannot find a removal tool, then the job can be a bit more complicated and you may need to use an electric grinder.
Remove the Screws
Apply WD-40 to the heads of the screws, using a liberal amount. Doing so removes rust and makes the screws easier to remove. Allow the WD-40 several minutes to start working. Use heavy-duty locking pliers clamped down on the screws, then turn them counter-clockwise. Unscrew and remove the bolts in this manner. Sometimes things can get a little more complicated.
If the screw breaks during removal, use the electric grinder to grind away the bolts, which can then be removed using a large flathead screwdriver. Another method is using an angle grinder to cut the screw heads away so that you can slide` the window bars out.
Remove the Bars
If you have removed all of the screws, the window bars should simply slide out. If any bolts remain in the frame of the window, extract them. To do so, simply apply WD-40 to them and pull them out using the locking pliers. You can also grind down the bolts so that they are level with the window frame.
Repair the Window Frame
The screw holes which are left behind in the window frame can be filled with appropriate putty. The type of putty that you need depends on the window material. Smooth the putty once it is applied and leave it to dry before refinishing the surface.