Home Improvements - Iron Bars

Rejas add a decorative touch to your house. © Michelle Chaplow
Rejas add a decorative touch to your house.


A Guide to Living Behind Bars

by Brenda Padilla


Iron bars are part of life in Spain. In fact, few Spaniards would even think of living without them, and many even enjoy decorating their doors and windows with custom designs that are intended to be both beautiful and secure.



Your Spanish home will typically come with bars on doors and windows, but if you build your own home, you will be able to decide whether or not to install this security measure. And, if you plan to have the bars eventually, it is best to do it now as the built-in variety are more secure than those that are installed after construction is finished.

If you can't stand the thought of obstructing your views with bars, there are a number of alternatives to the norm. First of all, you can install a system that folds back like shutters, a solution that is commonly applied to sliding glass doors. Secondly, you could combine high quality security glass with an alarm system backed by the services of a reputable security company. These measures are particularly important in isolated urbanisations and in homes that are left unoccupied much of the year.

No matter what option you choose - even if you choose to go with the standard bars on all doors and windows, and even if your home is in a highly populated area and you live there year round, it doesn't hurt to have a good alarm system in the background.

But back to your bars, here are a few things those living behind them should know:


Types of Bars

If you get the chance to choose your bars, beware that some are solid and others are hollow. Obviously the solid bars will be more difficult to open - with a carjack, for instance - and are thus a higher quality choice.


Another distinguishing factors between various types of iron bars is whether or not they have been galvanised. Galvanisation is a process of coating metal with zinc in order to keep it from oxidising. Galvanised iron, if it has received a high quality treatment, might avoid rusting for up to 30 years - without maintenance!


Design Factors

You can order custom designs for your windows and doors. And you should be aware that certain designs are more secure than others. Placing bars closer together and using diamond shapes within the design, for instance, both contribute to making the structure more difficult to open.



Maintaining Iron Bars

Because galvanised bars are more expensive, most are not galvanised. Therefore, you will need to maintain the bars as often as rust begins to show through the paint. And as a word of advice, the more meticulous you are during the maintenance process, the less often you will have to repeat this time-consuming task.


The process of maintaining your bars begins with complete removal of all rust. This means you need to thoroughly sand each rusty section. Next, meticulously remove all debris with a dry cloth before applying two coats of a lead primer called "minio de plomo" in Spanish. Finally, you can finish up with a decorative metal paint in the colour of your choice. (Note: you can use an anti-oxidant paint in order to prime and paint in a single step.)


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