• August 18, 2004

Alarm Window Screens

Restoration Diary,

I want to go barless! No, I’m not thinking of giving up my favorite pub. Nor am I considering walking around without adequate support. After I announced my desire to the alarm company salesman his face turned bright red. He looked at me eyes wide, mouth agape and managed a confused, “Er….um…?”

“No, NOT braless. BARless. The security bars. I want to take them off. Off the house. The security bars.” I point to the windows.

The salesman is relieved to have a place to look other than the floor. David lightly pokes me in the back and gives me his best, “I can’t believe you just said that” expression.

In my quest to live without bars on the windows, I stumbled across alarm window screens. The window screens are interwoven with detection wires. The detection wires blend in and look like normal window screens. If someone cuts the screen it will trigger the alarm. There is also a connector between the edge of the screen and the window frame causing the alarm to trip if the screen is removed. This is wired into your alarm system and can be turned off at any time (to clean the windows, etc).


I like this because, unlike our existing alarm system, an alarm will sound before an intruder has a chance to even get inside our house. Not all alarm companies are supporting this technology yet but a large number of them do.

Some companies even make the window screens with wooden frames. We may end up purchasing the alarm screens directly from a manufacturer and paying for our security company to hardwire them into our alarm system depending on how the different quotes come out.

In the mean time, David has requested that I refrain from saying “I’m going barless.”

The company that we have decided to go with is:
Alarm Screens Van Nuys
7661 Densmore Ave #7
Van Nuys, CA 91406
ph: 818.901.9033

They specialize in custom burglar alarm security screens, installation, service, repair, regular screens, and window cleaning.

We had our alarm company run the wires and wire them into our alarm system. The screens are being made and should be ready in a week.

Comments { 15 }
  1. Marie McCarty

    I know this has nothing to do with the above post, but I have been looking through your site and loving it – and as my husband and I are restoring our 1927 Sears bungalow, I wanted to ask if you have had to remove layers of paint (probably lead) from plaster, and if so, how did you do it? Is the SPR reccommended for this? We are thinking about buying one, but it is expensive (especially if it won’t suit our purposes). Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
    P.S. Your house looks AMAZING and I’m sure it loves having you for owners after all these years!

  2. heather

    Hi! Our walls also had layers of wallpaper which had been painted over several times. A tool called the Tiger was used to score the walls. The walls were then sprayed with hot water and the painted on paper peeled off.

    Friends of ours wanted to remove paint from their plaster walls and had great luck renting a large steamer and steaming the paint off the walls. This worked really well with minimum damage to their plaster.

    I haven’t tried the Silent Paint Remover for this yet but I’m not sure how well it would work? The SPR heats up the paint and the paint kind-of bubbles up and then you scrape it off with a sharp scraper. It seems like you might end up scratching the plaster with your scraper.

    I would try renting a steamer first (a lot cheaper) unless you plan on using the SPR for other projects.

    Good luck with your project! It is so messy and about half way through you’ll be wondering if it is worth it and decide that what you started with really didn’t look all that bad after all. :)
    But, once you finish you’ll be glad.


  3. merideth

    wow! that’s freakin awesome! we live in a “transitional” area of Oakland and those screens would be a great way additon to our now braless windows…i mean bar-less. who makes those little jewels?

  4. heather

    The alarm company was here yesterday and measured the windows. They should be ready next week. I posted the info about the alarm company above.


  5. corinne

    Could you please tell me if you are happy with your alarm screens and if you measured yourself or had the company come out and do it for you? Also, how much did the alarm company charge to hardwire each screen for you? Did they measure your alarm screens from the outside or inside? Can you remove them from the inside?

    We ordered alarm screens through our alarm company (a national company I might add) and it has been such a nightmare. They broke 2 windows, and my screens do not fit. There are huge gaps between my screens and the wood casement. I would sure appreciate some comments.


  6. heather

    Hi Corinne.

    I moved your post to this page in case other people were looking for answers to the same questions you posted.

    We are EXTREMELY happy with our alarm screens. I feel it was one of the best investments we made in the house. Security is an issue and I feel that they provide deterrence. I like the alarm screens because I can have our windows open and keep the alarm on when I am home. They allowed us to remove the unattractive security or burglar bars from our windows and still feel that we have a measure of security.

    Our alarm screens were tested the first time we went out of town. Someone tried to break in through our kitchen window. The alarm served it’s purpose and scared the would be burglar away.

    The company that makes the alarm screens came out and measured our windows. They measured from the outside. We can remove the windows from the inside but we need to turn the alarm off first. The windows fit in place like a standard window screen. There are absolutely no gaps between the screen the window casing. That doesn’t make any sense that your screens have a gap, forget about security issues – what about bugs?

    Our alarm company hardwired each window for the alarm. We got a deal through the alarm company. Alarm screens were a new offering, so I think we got an introductory rate. We paid for the screens and the wiring in a package deal. It wasn’t unreasonably expensive. If I recall correctly, the price was somewhere around $50-$60 per window for the wiring, the screens and the installation. I think we even got a markdown from that price because we did so many windows. Some of our windows are huge and we weren’t charged extra for them.

    I am so sorry you are unhappy with your screens. Can you work with the company to come up with a solution that you can both live with? If they made the screens the wrong size or gave you poor measuring instructions (if you measured yourself) then it seems like you would have some recourse. In the past I have had good luck reaching a solution by staying calm, speaking with the owner and saying, “Are you sure there is no way we can reach an amicable solution? I’d hate to have to escalate this. I guess my nest step is to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.”

    I absolutely LOVED the company who made our screens. We were able to select a frame and screen color. We selected bronze for the frame and dark grey for the screen. The company was so professional and accommodating.

  7. Ted

    Working with our Real Estate Agent (IngridMyers.com), we recently came across the whole concept of security alarm screens, which sounded like a great idea – especially in the Summer with all the bugs. The company we were referred to, National Security Screens, sells security alarm screens. They were very professional and their onsite installation was very thorough – onsite was required, since all our windows weren’t exactly standard size.

  8. Jean

    Heather, could you advise who you got the screens from?
    Ted, how much did you spend per window. I just got a quote from the company installing the alarm system and the cost was $175 per screen – not inexpensive. Thanks.

  9. heather

    Hi! Here is the company we used:

    Alarm Screens Van Nuys
    7661 Densmore Ave #7
    Van Nuys, CA 91406
    ph: 818.901.9033


    We are in the process of selling an older American Democratic Four Square and just downsized to a small bungalow. I will research the alarm screens before we choose the alarm system for this house.

    We put an alarm system in our old house about 15 years ago, before they had “remote” sensors. Determined to have fresh air I resisted the window contact sensors that everyone was using. We also had cats and dogs, so that eliminated the motion sensor devices.

    The alarm company set us up with a combination of glass break detectors, door contact sensors and an item called a “Window Bolt”. I don’t know if that is a commercial name or not. You drill a hole @ 1/4 inch diameter in the upper corner of the lower window where it overlaps the upper window. Go though the lower window and 1/2 way through the upper window.

    Then insert one of these special bolts that has no head and so cannot be removed once in. Unless you have this special gadget thing. You drill the hole when the window is shut, when you slip the bolt in it cannot be opened without breaking the glass which sets off the alarm.

    You can also open the window about 2″ and drill 1/2 through the second window frame again, put the bolt in and you have a secure window. Not as good as your screen option in which you can have the window fully open, but better than the traditional system with no ventilation.

    I don’t know the pros and cons nor the costs of the different systems but I thought folks might like to know there is another option out there. Delightfull site-very well organized and laid out also! Cathy

  11. Tony

    Dear Sir or Madam:
    Have a nice day!
    We are Shangdong WanYi company specializing in manufacturing and exporting of fiberglass products with various specification. Our main product include: Fiberglass mesh, Fiberglass Insect Screen, Self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape, Window screen, PP bag,PVC bag, and so on.
    If any of our products are of interest to you, please feel free to let us know. We will be happy to give you a quotation upon receipt of your detailed requirements. When you consider of our product you will find they are highly competitive in quality and price. Because we are manufacturer, so we can reconsider our price if your order is big enough. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.wygroup.cn.
    If you have any question, please feel free to let me know.
    Let’s hope for good cooperation between us in the very near future!
    We look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Warm regards,
    Shandong Wanyi Co.,Ltd
    E-mail: [email protected]
    [email protected]
    MSN:[email protected]
    website: http://www.wygroup.cn.

  12. Lya Frank

    Sorry, I have been unable to get in touch with Van Nuys Alarm Screens. Their telephone does not seem to work and their message box is “full”. How can one run a business in that manner ADT refers their customers to this company for Alarm Screens and or part. Does not seem to work!!!
    I will notify ADT to find a different source for their customers, who might need screen parts.
    Response will be appreciated. [email protected]

  13. Heather

    Hi Lya. I used this company over 6 years ago in 2004. I am just a home owner and not associated with them in any way. I would work with your alarm company to find another source.

    The economy has been rough for small businesses over the past few years. Hopefully, they aren’t another casualty! We are very happy with their product and the service they provided.

  14. Scott Lamb

    Cool idea. How did these end up looking? Can you see the detection wires? Does the mesh look different than before? Do you like them? I suppose compared to the giant bars in the windows you had before they must seem invisible, but I’m starting with plain screens and wondering if I’d notice the security screens.

    • Heather

      If you look closely you can see them, but they aren’t readily obvious. We have even had people out from the alarm company who didn’t notice that we had alarm screens until we told them.

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