How to Install a Panic Exit Bar

Panic exit bars are vital components of your building’s safety system. They provide a quick means of exit for guests and workers in the event of a fire, flood, shooting, or other emergency. There are many types of panic exit bars on the market, so it is best to have them installed by professionals. For a general overview of how this process works though, check out this guide for how to install a panic exit bar.


Remove the Existing Door Hardware

If there is any door hardware on the door at this time, you will need to remove it before installing the panic exit bar. If you are upgrading your existing panic exit bar, you may be able to reuse some of the old components. However, most people choose just to replace the entire unit because it’s typically the more time-effective approach.

Read the Instructions Thoroughly

While this may seem like an obvious step in the process, we need to iterate just how important it is to read the instructions that come with each panic bar individually. Every model is designed a little differently, and one error can compromise the operational integrity of the bar. Read through the instructions carefully before you get started to make sure you have the tools and other equipment necessary to install the panic exit bar.

Drill Holes That Correspond to the Template

Most panic exits will come with a template to identify where you should drill the mounting holes for the bar. This template will go on top of the hole where the door knob normally goes. Drill holes in the indicated areas so you can have an easier time mounting the door hardware to the door itself. Just make sure you use the right size drill bit so the screws will still be able to latch onto the door material.

Once you have the holes in place, you will need to create replica holes on the other side. You can sometimes do this by flipping the template over or using another template provided in the instructions. If you do not have that available though, you can measure the current positions of the holes and draw them onto the same spot on the other side of the knob.

Install Mating Bolts

Install mating bolts into the front of the door, if applicable. Not all panic exit bars require mating bolts during installation. Some use self-tapping screws or other types of mounting hardware.

Cut the Exit Bar to Length

Draw a line on the door when the door is shut to mark where the frame hits it. Hold the panic exit bar into place and draw that same line on the edge for cutting. Make sure to measure and re-measure this line so you make the right cut the first time. Mark all sides of the panic bar for accuracy. Use a saw to cut the bar to the right length.

Install the Panic Exit Bar

Draw a level line across the back of the door to use as a reference point during the installation. Create the holes for the mounting bracket on the side of the door opposite the knob. Then screw in the bracket accordingly. You may have other mounting hardware to put on the front side of the door. Follow the instructions to secure that hardware into place.

Replace the door knob and secure it in place. Then you can attach the panic exit bar on top of the door knob hardware. Mark where the bolt bracket goes on the door frame and secure that into place. Screw on the exit bar cover and any other finishes that come with the bar, and make sure it locks properly. If so, you should be able to enjoy years of use out of your panic exit bar.