Posted on

What is a door bar anyway?

2x4 bar holder
2x4 bar holder
zombie bar holder latch

A “bar” is a very long THING that is placed in front or behind of swinging doors to create a very secure, very difficult to kick-in, very difficult to breach method for keeping doors shut and invaders out.

I say “THING” because a bar can be almost anything that is long and strong. Today, in most apartments or houses, I would think that the most common type of bar would be a 2×4 (pronounced two by four). 2x4s are cheap, easy to cut, lightweight, strong, and readily available just about anywhere in the world.

But a door bar doesn’t have to be a 2×4 and it certainly doesn’t have to be wood either. Bars could be steel, aluminum, cast iron, and while a bit silly – composite materials.

Bars USUALLY go across doors and use the doors own swinging action to prevent the door opening by having the door swing against the bar. The bar then distributes the power or force of the door throughout the bar to all of the touchpoints on the bar. The wider the bar, the more spread-out the force is, the harder an intruder will work to breach the door.

Contrast the highly distributed force of the bar versus the highly concentrated “in one spot” breach-able spot of a standard lock. Focus as hard as you can on the point the lock is contacting the door jam and kick very, very hard and you are likely to breach the door, either by destroying the lock mechanism OR by ripping out the door jam.

Does a door bar need to be a 2×4

Bars could be 2×6, 2×8, or 2×12, subject only to the size of the board and the strength of a person putting them in. I imagine that a person could more easily put in TWO 2×4 bar holders at different heights on a door than a single 2×8 or 2×12. My wife would struggle getting that to work because it would be heavy and unwieldy to handle. Never-the-less, I’m sure that I’ll eventually make 2×6 bar holders (of the secure variety) and put them on my site.

Some bar holders don’t bar ACROSS doors, but instead go from a door handle or knob to a strong point on the floor or a wall. These, I believe are better than a standard lock. They work well for a single door to give a person much more security than they normally would get with just a door lock.

If you look at the picture in this article, you’ll see what I think of as the most standard type of bar and its standard usage – probably outdoor with a classic two door set of swinging door.

Why would you use a bar here?

Because you don’t want a complex latch where you have to fasten one door shut just to make a door latch work. A bar makes it simple. Just put in a bar and you are done. It is simple and very solid.

The downside of most bars (not mine), is that they ASSUME you always have the bar on the inside.

That isn’t a horrible assumption either – honestly, have you ever seen a storming the castle movie where they put the security bar on the outside of the castle gate?

Me neither.

But if you wanted to use the bar on the outside of the door, then there is only one solution


But now you know what a “bar” is.

And for fun, here are some door bars from Amazon: