Expanded metal stair treads can look great and keep you safe

How to make expanded metal stair treads safe and look great


Worried about aligning your stairways with the overall aesthetics of your building? Instead of sacrificing function for style or vice versa, there are patterns and metal types that you can coordinate together for safe stair treads that look great. This article will explore how to achieve both with expanded metal while meeting Australian Standards.

Industrial stair treads can prevent slips and falls. Industrial stair treads can prevent slips and falls.

Anti-slip treads

Understanding the purpose of stair treads can help you plan ahead and coordinate where possible. A stair tread is a surface you step upon when you climb or descend a set of stairs. Additionally, picking out the right tread can reduce the likelihood of slips or falls.

You can choose certain styles of expanded metal that work with the function of the stair. Specific decisions regarding the width, length and style of the expanded metal can help improve:

  • The load-bearing capacity of the stairs.
  • The safety of each step.
  • The stairs’ resistant to harsh weather conditions.
  • The longevity of the staircase.
  • The steps’ draining capacity.

Choosing the recommended widths and lengths of the treads can also help improve the economy of the project ahead.

Stair metal material

The metal type you choose should be determined by where the stairs will be used and the aesthetics of the rest of the building. Each metal type has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on if it is exposed to outside elements, chemicals, high traffic volume, and so on.

Stair treads are available with either bolted or welded fixing and come in several choices of grating styles, in the following materials:

  • Steel: Known for its strength, durability and sustainability, steel is a great option for stairs that will not be exposed to weather conditions or chemicals.
  • Aluminium: Lightweight, flexible and sturdy, aluminium is best for outdoor stairs because of its natural resistance to corrosion.
  • Stainless Steel: Very strong and durable, stainless steel can withstand high payloads and heavy traffic. These stair panels are less expensive and easy to install.
  • FRP: Ideal for scenarios where traction is necessary. FRP surfaces are naturally rough and slip-resistant. This material is typically used for outdoor industrial applications also because of its rust resistance.

Webforge offers Australian-made expanded metal steel for our stair treads so you know you can count on the quality of the material while supporting local businesses.

Pattern functions and benefits

The function of the stair tread will determine which pattern you should choose. While you can select any pattern, you will want to pick one that will provide the right amount of safety for pedestrians.

Serrated treads with bar grating are constructed with stair-specific reinforcement and additional safety adjustments. The treads’ nosing will help improve traction, the life of the stairs and the visibility of each tread. Following AS1657, the nosing on a tread should be easily visible against the background of the stair.

The holes in the treads will help minimise any pooling on the stairs from rain, snow or spills. Safety grating, for example, typically has smaller hole sizes for drainage but provides a lot of slip resistance and is ideal for an industrial platform, walkway or set of stairs.

Depending on how much weight the stairs will likely need to endure, the holes and patterns will need to align with requirements. Larger holes will allow for better drainage whereas smaller ones can help support more weight.

Our pattern and load bar recommendations will give you further insight as well. The table draws suggestions based on the material, pattern and load bar selected for your project. Below the table is another that outlines the recommended hole centres.

Safety and style

In most industrial instances, it’s hard to make a set of stairs stylistically aligned with the rest of the building when function and safety are paramount. However, in matching the style and metal type, you can more easily pull together a uniform look. Most metals can also be coated in a painted layer that can improve their longevity as well as change the colour of the metal for a more seamless aesthetic.

Handrails are a necessary part of every stairway project, and matching the expanded metal stair treads and handrails together can help create a put-together look that serves both the eye and the pedestrian.

Webforge Australian expanded metal

If you’re looking to improve the safety and aesthetics of your next stairway project, contact a Webforge professional today. We only source Australian-made expanded metal so you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best metal quality. Webforge professionals are experienced and available to help you with any questions you may have.

Expanded metal must go through a machine with predetermined metrics to achieve the diamond pattern industrial businesses look for.

Expanded metal: Sustainable, durable and versatile

There are more uses for expanded metal than creating fences or perforated metal sun covers, although these are popular and helpful applications. This versatile and durable material has the potential to underscore stunning architectural design.

This article will uncover the characteristics of expanded metal, how its made and how to utilise it to its fullest potential.

Expanded metal can be both functional and decorative to fit your next project.Expanded metal could be the solution you've been looking for.

Architectural expanded metal characteristics

Expanded metal is sheet metal pre-cut and stretched to form diamond shaped openings across its surface. It can easily be adapted to use for a variety of architectural metal projects. Expanded metal can provide many functional solutions as well, such as:

  • Security
  • Ventilation
  • Privacy
  • Sun protection

The material has characteristics that are unique to it and help improve its functionality in different architectural use cases. Expanded metal can be described as:

  • Rigid
  • Adaptable
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Decorative and functional
  • Flexible

It can be decorated with powder coating or by changing the size of the cuts made to the material during production to support certain design elements of the project. The larger the cut, the more sunlight and airflow can move through it. With smaller cuts, more privacy and sunshade is provided — the perfect solution for facades.

From an architectural perspective, expanded metal can provide texture and depth to a building facade or ceiling without taking away from its structural integrity or design.

Its durability depends on the type of metal you choose. All of Locker's expanded metal is sourced from Dandenong, Victoria steel or aluminium. Both materials are corrosion-resistant. With a powder coat or finishing, they can prove to be more durable against harsh weather conditions.

What makes expanded metal sustainable? There is rarely any scrapped metal at the end of a project. The panels are predetermined and instead of cutting forms out of the metal, as is the case with a perforated sheet, the holes are precut.

A brief expanded metal technical design overview

Depending on how you plan on using the expanded metal, we have a host of product types designed specifically to solve certain structural needs.

To help you decide on diamond sizes and types, we've narrowed down manufacturing specifics to three styles:

  • Security and fencing
  • Agricultural
  • Sunscreen

These categories can help you choose the correct range for your use. However, Australian-made expanded metal can be employed in just about any space you need it.  The versatility comes from how it is manufactured.

Raw material is put through an expanding machine, where it is cut and stretched using a pressured slitting and stretching methodology. The larger the cuts, the more flexible the panel is and the thicker it must be to support the slits. You can choose any variation of hole sizes. At the end of the process, the metal is cut into sheets or rolled into coils.

Expanded metal applications

Outside of the three categories, there are many ways you can use expanded metal. Choose a long-way diamond (LWD) or short-way diamond pattern (SWD), large cuts or small, or even add colour to the expanded metal sheet to improve its visual effect. The pattern of the expanded mesh can be staggered, providing the most open space, or aligned in straight columns and rows.

Expanded metal can be seen in any number of applications, such as:

  • Facades
  • Walls
  • Grilles
  • Handrails
  • Infill panels
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Doors

The intended use of the material will help determine the open area percentage you will need. The larger the space, the more air, water and light can come through the cuts. Typically, architectural expanded metals can be used for building structures, trim, decoration, railings or roofing. Some expanded metals could be combined with concrete to help support the structure's strength.

We use expanded metal most often for building facades. We've helped design vertical facades, polygonal facades and free form facades that are not supported by a wall or structure but simply used for their design and function. A free form use of expanded metal could be outdoor partitions or a part of an art piece adjacent to a building.

What separates Australian metal from the rest

At Locker, we take pride in providing Australian-made metal from Dandenong, Victoria. This is metal you can trust from the manufacturers that are committed to the integrity of our product. We offer an extensive range of expanded metal products and custom designs that can fit any project idea.

Reach out to a Locker professional to learn more about our process, the materials we offer or to get started on your own project.

Wire mesh can bring a building to life, add depth and cut down on energy costs.

Why wire mesh is a breakout architectural design

Windows don't provide enough sun protection for your outdoor/indoor space, but you want natural light — without worrying about constantly cleaning curtains. Wire mesh could be your fix-all solution, while adding a tinge of stylistic flair to your architecture.

Keep reading to learn why architectural mesh is the breakout architectural material you should use in your next project.

Wire mesh should be considered as part of your next architectural design.Wire mesh should be considered as part of your next architectural design.

Components of wire mesh

Architectural wire mesh is also referred to as architectural wire cloth. This material is factory-made with woven wire to form uniform, parallel spaces and symmetrical gaps. It can be made with a variety of materials, but Locker uses low-carbon steel, high-carbon steel and nickel.

Decorative mesh provides design professionals with the perfect combination of style and function. It can both separate one area from another, like a wall, and allow natural airflow and light through a space, like a window with curtains.

Wire mesh is a versatile material that offers a wide range of exterior and interior applications while lending itself to timeless elegance and a modern appearance. 

Types of wire mesh products

Metal woven wire can add beautiful elements to your building. From car parks to cladding, enclosures and balustrades, wire mesh has a multifaceted look that can fit into any project. It is perfect for outdoor uses because of its durability in the face of extreme weather conditions and resistance to corrosion. This material is easy to maintain and can be customized to reduce metal waste.

Fences and enclosures

Designing an outdoor space with this adaptable material is easy and can bring a building to life. Layer the woven wire to create a rippled effect or manipulate it into a shape that aligns with the architectural design vision. Wire mesh can be used around pools, playgrounds, sports venues and many other structures that utilise safety and security fencing.

The Juliette Cycleway Overpass Bridge, highlighted in our 2019 LookBook, used powder-coated woven wire throughout the pedestrian path to provide protection for visitors and add an interesting, colourful design element to the area. We used inter-crimped wire to improve the locking tightness and fencing rigidity.

Facade cladding

Wrap the entire exterior of a building facade or just a few sides of it with cable metal mesh to protect the building from environmental exposure while changing its presentation. Cladding is not used for the wall itself but as an added "coat" in front of the wall. This creates incredible depth and uniqueness. This is a great use for offices, lobbies and even elevators to improve the look of otherwise ordinary spaces.

In 2018, we worked with architect Hansen Yuncken to design a wire mesh curtain, mentioned in our 2018 LookBook, along the central facade of the Monash University Caulfield campus' library. It created a truly inspiring enhancement to the space that provided shade for the students inside without making them feel locked away from the outdoors.


YYou can use wire mesh for function as well. An infill panel can work in tandem with your railing system. You can create a protective barrier to fill the large open area for pedestrians while directing high trafficked areas. The railing contributes to the overall aesthetic of the area while maintaining transparency.


Want to increase the high visibility properties of an outdoor space while maintaining airflow? Give pedestrians and visitors a chance to experience the outdoors with an architectural wire mesh canopy. You can easily manipulate the material to construct a fascinating design element while creating shade and shelter. Architectural canopies create a sense of playfulness or luxury to a space that can be a point of interest for the overall design.

Custom ceilings

If you're ready to impress and inspire onlookers, use wire mesh in your next project. Modern design has created a path for wire mesh to add a sense of luxury to ceiling style. It can add texture, vastness or intimacy to a space as it works seamlessly with various lighting and privacy needs.

2018 was the year of wire mesh. We worked with Futurespace to help develop a woven wire mesh ceiling project. It was used to form a ribbon along the ceiling that would break the mould of what a professional building "should" look like. Without sacrificing any metal, we developed a material that would support the aesthetic of the space, as well as ideal conditions for visual and acoustic considerations. 

If you're looking to add more interesting elements to your project, reach out to a Locker professional today to get started. We provide custom builds, colours and materials that can work with the architectural intent of your project.