In preparation for my house being painted, I'd like to remove the security bars (a.k.a. burglar bars) from the garage window. Overview of bars I'd have expected them to be screwed or bolted to the wood trim, possibly with a one-way screw, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Where the screw head would be, it just looks like a lump of metal. I thought that maybe this was just due to paint obscuring the real shape, so I wire-brushed one of the lumps, but the bare metal doesn't seem any different. Close up of attachment Close up of attachment Close up of attachment How can I remove these bars, ideally with minimal damage to the trim? I've considered a few possibilities, but I'm not sure what would work:

  • Cutting the lump of metal off flush with an oscillating tool.
  • Cutting a slot in the lump and trying to turn it, in the hope that there's screw thread attached.
  • Buying an angle grinder and grinding it off.
  • Removing the trim along with the bars, and then replacing the trim.

Update: At several people's recommendation, I tried using an angle grinder to remove one of the lumps. This was easy enough, but it revealed what looks like solid metal, not a washer around a screw like I was expecting: After angle grinding The bars don't seem to have loosened at all. What's the next step? Do I just have to keep angle grinding, removing way more metal than I was expecting to?

  • Security bars not much useful if there is an easy way to remove them, just by unscrewing. Good painters will paint around/cover them. Cheap painters might just spray everything in sight without covering.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 20:41
  • @crip659 I'm planning to remove them permanently—the painting is just the trigger for it. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 20:44
  • Angle grinder is probably your best friend then, if careful.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:01
  • These are shear screws, common for securty applications, the go in easy, then the drive head snaps off they don't come out easily. angle grinder. you could maybe cut a slot and try to undo them, else butcher them untill they let go. protect the glass from sparks.
    – Jasen
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 7:12
  • Somebody got their money's worth:-)
    – Gil
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 21:12

3 Answers 3


Angle grinder, 10 mins job done.

Make sure you buy AND use eye protection.

Watch your fingers - skin is removed very effectively by a cutting disc. (Guess how I know 😀)

Edit: I would use a cutting disc to cut the bars and close to the wood. Then a grinding disc to get it level or just below. However, if you are new to the game be careful.

  • Have been lucky with cutting disks. Taking hay knife sections out of the box is another matter.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 20:59
  • Looking at angle grinders now. (I have PPE on-hand already.) You mentioned using a cutting disc—would you recommend that over a grinding disc here, given that I'll need it to end up flush? Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:55
  • See edit, but both.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 22:32
  • Wait, so are you suggesting to cut the bars themselves? I was envisioning just cutting/grinding off the metal lump in the pictures, with the hope that releases the bars. There's no masonry here. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 22:56
  • You need to think about how and where you cut. I know how I would do it, but that may change once I physically see them.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 23:09

Driver head would make the security bars too easy for a burglar to remove.

I am guessing these are carriage bolts. Have you looked at the other side of the wall to see if there are nuts you can remove?

If carriage bolts, drilling off or grinding off the head would presumably get the bars off the wall. But you'd be left with the stub of the fastener blocking any attempt to remount them. Messy. Not recommended

Suggestion: just tell your painter to deal with these, or ask them what you should do. S/he may know this model, or may just decide that painting past them and wiping off any drips, possibly followed by black paint on the bars to hide anything that's left, is the much easier solution. You're hiring them for their expertise, after all.

One other thought: there are security screws designed so the piece with screwdriver socket/slot snaps off after driving them. If that's what you are dealing with, you could try cutting a slot in the head with a Dremel or hacksaw, shoving a screwdriver into that slot, and seeing if that lets you turn it to remove it. If not, you can go back to the plan of removing the head entirely.

Not promising this is the best answer, just an approach likely to work.

  • No sign of a nut or other protrusion on the interior. As I mentioned in another comment, I'm trying to remove these permanently, so "paint around them" isn't really a solution. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 20:54
  • See added thought re creating a screw slot.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:09
  • Thanks. I'll try that first, and if it fails, go with Solar Mike's recommendation of grinding it off. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:23
  • No luck. The metal is soft enough that the newly-created slot stripped trying to drive it by hand. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:44
  • Well, at least you know the rest of the head -- if it is a head rather than a decorative boss -- will be easy to remove.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 21:50

drive pin anchor

That appears to be a drive pin anchor similar to the one pictured above from Menard's, or possibly a blind rivet with a stem that broke neatly at the surface. In any case this fastener is not reversible. The only way to remove it is to destroy it. Your two best options are a drill or a grinder.

First, test whether the center pin can be driven deeper into the fastener. A nail or punch may be useful. If it can, that's great: often the center pin is steel or another hard metal while the outer portion is aluminum, zinc, or another soft metal. If the pin can be driven deeply enough then you won't have to drill or grind it.

To drill, estimate what size the fastener might be and pick a drill a little bigger. These look like they might be around 1/4" (diameter of the fastener pin, not the visible head/flange). If so I'd choose a drill 9/32, 5/16, etc. Center the drill on the drive pin and drill until the flange/head remnant breaks free from the fastener. If the drill won't stay centered then grind or file a flat and use a center punch to help keep it in place.

Or.. just use your favorite grinder and take the entire head down until you get to the bar metal below. While a grinder is fast it's also more prone to damaging the surface. Perhaps you're going to paint the bars anyway and not worried about damage to the existing paint.

After the bars are removed you'll be able to see better whether fragments of the fastener can be removed from the wall, or whether you'll have to offset the bars and drill new holes to re-anchor it.

  • All the drive pin anchor listings I can find say they're only for masonry applications, including the one in your photo. This is a wood-framed house, with wood siding and trim—would you still expect it to be that style of anchor? Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 22:59
  • @AbeKarplus It definitely strikes me as weird to find a drive pin on wood construction. They're usually for "solid base materials" like masonry or steel. It's not clear how one would hold in wood. Maybe there's some kind of additional insert or anchor that isn't yet visible. Although I can't find an example to hold out and say "this looks like it should work in your application" -- its outside appearance does look like a hammer-driven pin anchor of some sort.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 23:13

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