Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Striking the blinders from the eyes...

...of our house, which are the windows, which are the windows of the soul, of our house.
So besides the roof, which we'll get to soon enough, the worst thing about our new house were the security bars on each and every window. The elderly previous owner had had them installed when her husband had died. Well they had to go, and here we have a little HOW TO lesson for you on removing window bars, only use this information for good.

1) Get yourself a cheap angle grinder with cut off wheel ($29.99 at
You will also need saftey glasses. I'm no saftey wuss, but believe me you will need them, or you will need to do this with your eyes closed. I use Ray Ban knock offs from the hardware store, but even with these you will get grit and ground metal in and around your eyes.
You will also need a large flat head screw driver, and a set of vise grips.
2) Get yourself something strurdy to stand on: A step ladder, a rolling invalid chair, or a piece of plastic patio furniture.
Here is your adversary:
A close look reveals the one-way screws which you can't even get a grip on with the best vice grips.

Time for the power tool!

3) Using the cut off wheel, cut a nice deep slot into the one-way screw right through the meatiest part.

You will end up with a screw head looking like this:

4) It is doubtfull you will be able to turn your newly slotted screw in the normal way. So insert the screw driver, laying on its side, so as to give yourself a nice torque multiplying length. Then its lefty loosy away.

5) Once you get it loose, you can unscrew it in the normal way.

6) On windows with a emergency exit feature, you will need to go inside to finish the job. You will find something like this:

7) Unbolt everything with the vice grips. Don't worry, none of it is spring loaded.

8) Once the cables are free, simply pull them from the outside of the house, leaving unfortunate holes in the plaster work. But that's a project for another day and another blog.

9) If you aren't as big as me, you may need some help pulling the larger ones off.

10) Ta-da! You are left with a naked window, with holes in the stuco, or siding. But again, that is a project for the next day and/or blog when I paint the house.

So there she is without the bars. Much, much better. Starting to look almost homey.