Building and Installing Easily Removable Window Fall Restraints
By Larry Walton
Photos by Mark Walton
“Did you leave the windows open upstairs?” asked the bride of my youth.
“Yes,” I said cautiously.
“Don’t you think Sunny (our dog) will jump out?”
“No, she seems happy to me,”
“That’s not what I mean. I’m afraid she might see a squirrel and . . .”
End of conversation. Time to make some window guards to keep Sunny safe from our window-dive-inducing squirrels.
Parameters: small enough grid to keep the dog safe; large enough openings to provide maximum visibility; strong enough to withstand pressure from the inside; easily removable for emergency escape route.
I considered breaking out the welder but then I spotted a fence with some mesh while on our dog walk (that’s an outing where the dog sniffs and pees on everything, and I hear every detail about my wife’s accounting project from hell). Anyway, I saw this fence and it made me wonder if they used concrete-reinforcing wire mesh.
Next thing I knew, I had some in the garage for the “Save Sunny” Project. Here’s what I did with it:
Step by Step
After measuring to overlap the width of the windows by a couple of inches, I cut the wire grids to width and height (about the top of the opening) with bolt cutters.
I left a vertical set of wires along the bottom about one inch long to act as dowels into the window stool.
I used an angle grinder to take the sharp points off the cuts left by the bolt cutters.
I used Prolong’s SPL100 to remove the rust followed by Brakleen to remove the penetrating oil residue to prepare for paint.
Rust on the mild steel concrete-reinforcing wire was just on the surface and wiped off easily.
I used spray paint to color the wire. As you can see, more paint got on the newspaper than the steel!
I bridged across the window opening with a straight-edge and marked a line on the interior wall plane.
With the guard positioned above the window stool, I marked on the wall line where each vertical wire would need a hole.
The holes drilled for each vertical wire are slightly larger than the wire gauge.
After positioning the guard in the window stool holes, I anchored the top corners with clips I made from hose clamps. Use whatever you want, but there should be a screw only in the bottom of the clip so the guard can be lifted out of place without using a tool.
After installing the guard the first time, I lifted it out of place to make sure that it could be easily removed for emergency exits. Make sure all occupants of the home know how to do this.
The finished window guards provide fall restraint without overly obstructing the view.