Perforated metal can be used to create dynamic imagery along with providing many practical benefits.

How is perforated mesh made?


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.
Perforated metal structural art inside of a building.Perforated metal has a number of internal and external applications.

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.

Architectural mesh plays a key role in the visual identity of many buildings.

3 examples of beautiful architectural mesh

Architectural mesh can play a key role in creating a memorable and unique aesthetic for your next building project. With so many different types of mesh to choose from, you're more than likely to find a specific option that aligns with your structure's intended appearance and overall design goals.

Metal mesh can surround all of a building, be installed in a few select areas to attract attention or serve as a divider between the outside world and the property's interior. It also has useful practical applications. When designed and positioned correctly, architectural mesh can provide exposure to direct sunlight and help regulate heating and cooling needs. It also facilitates airflow, allowing for many uses in situations where other materials would restrict the free travel of air.

One of the best ways to understand the value of architectural mesh is through examples. Let's look at some eye-catching uses of Locker's metal mesh.

The Icon, an apartment building in the St. Kilda suburb of Melbourne.The Icon utilises architectural mesh and colour for a distinctive and appealing appearance.

1. The Icon, St. Kilda, Melbourne

The Icon is often compared to a structure of children's building blocks This is a positive association that focuses on the bright colours and distinct shapes. Sitting on a corner of a busy intersection in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda, it's a familiar landmark to locals and the many visitors passing through the area to reach amusement parks, beaches and other popular attractions.

Architectural firm Jackson Clements Burrows designed each block to align with the height of another nearby building, providing a sense of structure that balances the overall whimsical nature of these apartments. The mesh incorporates 40 distinct colours, which change ever so slightly based on the position of the sun. Additionally, the building gives off a subtle glow at night thanks to the reflections of nearby light sources by the architectural mesh and residents using lighting fixtures within their living spaces.

While not every building project is focused on achieving such a unique and visually striking end goal, The Icon is an excellent example of the flexibility in architectural design that architectural mesh can offer. Whether your goal is to create a patchwork of brilliant colours or use a more neutral design, metal mesh is an effective and reliable exterior element. 

2. Ozanam House, North Melbourne

A building featuring metal mesh.Multiple uses of of mesh create a detailed profile on the facade of Ozanam House.

Ozanam House fills a crucial need for the homeless in and around Melbourne, providing support, safe spaces, social services and much more to this vulnerable population. Architectural firm MGS Architects designed the structure with a mixture of openness and privacy in mind, according to ArchitectureAU. That meant specific considerations like leaving the activities centre and courtyard visible to passersby while making the residential entrances for long-term residents more private.

Architectural mesh plays a key design role throughout Ozanam House. It helps to form a large facade at the front of the building while also appearing in smaller panels across the entire structure. Offering a combination of practical benefits and distinct visual appearance, Ozanam House is an architecturally distinct facility. By leveraging the many attributes of metal mesh, it adds another dimension to its aesthetic while also reducing direct sunlight exposure, keeping temperatures more even and regulating the brightness of rooms. 

3. Sydney International Airport Car Park, Mascot

The front of the Sydney International Airport car park.Architectural mesh on the Sydney International Airport car park offers aesthetic and practical benefits.

Some airports are excellent examples of functional and aesthetic design. Others focus more on function exclusively. When it comes to the car parks tied to these busy travel hubs, some are built with efficiency and smooth operations in mind, not the visual appeal of the structure.

That's not the case for the car park at Sydney International Airport, which features a uniform perforated metal mesh that presents a clean and uniform yet intriguing appearance for its south side. With minimal ornamentation, the mesh facade can evoke a sense of security and consistency for those looking for and driving their cars into the structure. Its only major identifying signage is a large blue "P," a clear indication of the car park's purpose. A more open side, lacking the metal mesh, also features banners welcoming visitors to the airport, adding some visual variety to the mix.

The use of metal mesh on car parks is especially valuable because it helps promote temperature regulation within the structure. No one plans to spend much time in a car park – ideally, you find a spot and head on your way, then return to your vehicle and quickly leave. Because heating and cooling systems present a substantial cost, not to mention the need to fully enclose what are often open structures, other alternatives can help to manage the temperature of these buildings.

Metal mesh capably fills this role, diverting some but not all sunlight from reaching the interior. This helps to avoid the buildup of heat within each car and makes the start of the return home for arriving travellers that much more enjoyable.

Finding a dependable partner for your architectural mesh needs

Architectural mesh is an especially flexible construction material – not in the literal sense, but through its ability to take on many forms and be deployed across a small area of a structure or to wrap around most or all of the exterior. Choosing the right metal mesh to meet your unique needs is a critical and early step in this process. You want to be sure your project will have high-quality mesh that fully meets your organisation's and client's expectations.

Locker has decades of experience supplying durable, reliable and effective mesh for many types of construction projects. Our products have been used for decades throughout Australia and the greater Asia-Pacific region for creating facades, balustrades and screening, as well as interior applications of mesh and many similar materials. If you're set on using architectural mesh in your next project but need a supplier you can count on from design and fabrication to delivery, get in touch with the experts at Locker.