You may know it as perforated mesh, perforated metal or another name. Understanding what sets this material apart from others like it and how it’s made is an important step in choosing the best options for your construction or major renovation plans. More information allows you to make better decisions and realise the best possible end result.
Let’s take a look at the process of fabricating perforated metal, what makes it unique and how it can be applied to a wide variety of projects.
What is perforated metal?
Perforated metal refers to sheets of various types of metal that are stamped, drilled or otherwise altered to create a series of holes in the base material. This process is called perforation. The concept of perforated metal is an easy one to understand, although there are numerous specifics that can vary greatly based on product range, customisability options and other elements offered by the manufacturer. Taking the time to learn about these different choices positions you to select the best possible material for the job. Some specifics to consider include:
- Type of metal: Aluminium, stainless steel and galvanised steel are common choices when selecting perforated metal sheets for architectural projects. Most common finish is powder coated for colour consistencies, and you can get the same or similar warranty on coating these days without the headaches. Interpon and Dulux now offer 25 year warranties, same as an anodised finish. Anodised aluminium has increased resistance to corrosion due to a thick oxide layer formed on its surface as part of the anodising process. Improving the metal in this way also allows for other benefits, such as colouring the metal. Stainless steel is a steel alloy designed to inhibit the development and spread of rust through the addition of chromium during the steelmaking process. Galvanised steel has a zinc coating that also inhibits rust.
- Finishes and plating: Electro-polishing makes the surface of stainless steel more uniform and visually pleasing. Powder coating offers both an additional layer of protection and the ability to incorporate various colours into a durable final product.
- Final appearance: Absolutely uniform, unblemished final products are not always possible with durable materials like anodised aluminium and stainless steel. Taking the intended use of the perforated metal into account and the distance from which staff, customers, guests and passers-by will view the material is an important consideration. A dependable supplier will be happy to discuss options for selecting the material and finish that offer the best combination of durability and aesthetic quality based on specific application.
How is perforated metal made?
The perforation workflow itself is relatively simple when compared to the various chemical and electromechanical processes used to treat and finish metal. On an industrial level, a specialised machine creates holes in a sheet of metal, like stainless steel or aluminium.
While worker safety, consistent function and a desire for high-quality end products mean this process is closely managed by well-trained staff, perforation itself is a direct mechanical action. However, there is still plenty of room for creating different designs that have an aesthetic appeal or address specific functional concerns, such as achieving the proper level of light filtration or airflow.
How is perforated metal different from similar materials?
Expanded metal, perforated metal and wire mesh all have a similar final appearance, especially when viewed from a distance. However, they’re quite different in how they’re formed. We’ve already covered the process for creating perforated metal, so here’s a quick review of expanded metal and wire mesh:
- Expanded metal: Expanded metal also involves making holes in a sheet of metal. The major difference is that the sheet is compact when this action is performed. The metal is then stretched, or expanded, so that the holes take on their intended final shape and the metal attains the dimensions required for a given project or general use.
- Wire mesh: Mesh is constructed of wires that are either welded or woven together to increase the overall strength of the material and to create a variety of aesthetics.
What makes perforated metal beneficial, and how can I use it in my project?
Perforated metal has a number of advantages that make it a common choice in a variety of building projects. Specific benefits include:
- Privacy: Positioned correctly, perforated metal can make it easy for those inside a structure to see out while still providing a sense of privacy from passers-by and the general public seeing in. If your project team needs to consider safety as it relates to visibility but doesn’t want to sacrifice aesthetics, perforated metal may be the perfect choice.
- Ventilation and airflow: Perforated metal allows air to flow freely through it when used as an interior wall or external facade, as long as it isn’t positioned directly over another layer of material.
- Regulation of natural light: When used in front of windows and similarly transparent architectural elements, perforated metal can reduce overall exposure to sunlight – which can also provide benefits in terms of HVAC costs and temperature regulation – while still allowing some natural light to enter the structure.
Check out our blog post dedicated to this topic to learn about more benefits, including the eco-friendly nature of perforated metal, its ability to absorb sound and more.
You probably already have a good idea of how perforated metal may support your next project. If you’re still wondering how to utilise it, there are a number of options. It can be applied in a purely aesthetic context, creating a visually striking interior or exterior. It can serve as an internal divider, allowing for more airflow and a flexible degree of visibility, based on its design, while defining distinct spaces. It’s also an effective shield against the sun, whether in a car park or applied to the side of an office building or other structure.
Finding perforated metal that meets your project’s needs
Perforated metal needs to be carefully fabricated to produce a useful and consistent end result. Locker has decades of experience providing our standard range of perforated metal as well as a variety of customisable options. To learn more, get in touch with us today.