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The Difference between Expanded Metal, Perforated Metal and Wire Mesh

Apr. 30, 2021

If you are looking for a product that will ventilate, drain or add a decorative touch, there are three main options available to you: expanded metal panels, perforated metal panels, or welded/woven mesh. So, which one do you choose and why?


There are three main differences between expanded metal, perforated metal, and wire mesh.

The way they are manufactured

Their characteristics

Their end-use

The manufacturing process

Stencil mesh



A metal mesh can be made by first creating multiple slits in the sheet and then stretching the sheet. The stretching produces a distinctive diamond-patterned opening where one strand protrudes at a slight angle. These raised strands can be smoothed out later in the process if desired. As you can see, this process causes no waste (thus reducing production costs) and increases the structural strength of the product.

Perforated Metal

Perforated sheet metal

Perforated metal is a product made from a steel plate that has been fed through a machine with a punch (or other design). These holes can be in straight rows or staggered to increase the number of openings. Usually, the sheet has a non-perforated border around the perimeter. This increases the stability of the sheet. The metal removed from the holes can be recycled, but also increases the cost of the product. The larger the size of the holes (or the increased number of holes), the greater the amount of scrap and therefore the cost will increase.

Wire mesh (welded)

Welded wire mesh is a metal mesh made from a variety of alloys including steel, stainless steel, brass, and copper. It is available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Using electrofusion, parallel longitudinal wire grids are welded to cross wires at the required spacing. The machines used to produce the meshes have precise dimensional control.

Wire mesh (woven)

Also available in steel, stainless steel, brass, and copper, woven wire mesh is a fabric made of metal wires woven at right angles. The threads that run along the length are called warp threads, while those that run in the vertical direction are called weft threads. There are two common weave styles: plain weave and twill weave. It can be made from a variety of alloys, including stainless steel, brass, and copper. Wire cloth can be woven to produce a variety of opening sizes and wire diameters.



One of the benefits of steel plate mesh manufacture is that the plate retains its structural integrity as it is not subjected to the stresses of a punched shape (like a perforated plate) and the mesh pattern does not come apart (like woven mesh) can do). Stretched metal mesh is stretched rather than punched, thus reducing waste of scrap metal; making it cost-effective. The main considerations when using metal mesh are the chosen thickness and strand size (weight and structural design requirements). Expanded metal can be almost transparent (depending on the opening). It has mechanical properties and is an excellent conductor.

 Stainless Steel Wire Mesh

Perforated metal sheets

Perforated sheet metal is available in almost all sizes, dimensions, hole shapes, and material types. Holes range in diameter from a few thousandths of an inch to more than 3 inches and are punched from materials as thin as foil or from steel sheets as thick as 1 inch. From lightweight decorative elements to load-bearing structural components, perforated metal offers a unique opportunity to combine strength, functionality, and aesthetics.

Wire mesh (welding)

As the bending machine bends the mat as a single unit, the possibility of incorrect bending is reduced. With variable rebar size and spacing, accurate rebar sizes can be provided where required, thus reducing steel waste. Significant savings can be made as the mesh is easy to handle and can be installed more quickly. Often you can purchase welded wire mesh without the woven mesh.

Wire mesh (woven)

Wire mesh is suitable for almost all applications. It is very durable and very easy to clean.


Typical end uses

Steel plate mesh

Expanded metal sheeting is ideal for steps, factory floors as well as construction rigging, fencing, washing stations, and security applications.

Perforated Metal Sheets

Perforated metal can be made into a wide range of products such as screens, filters, baskets, waste bins, oil pipes, lamps, vents, speaker enclosures, and patio furniture.

Wire mesh (welded)

Widely used in agricultural applications, industry, transport, horticulture, and the food procurement sector. It is also used in mines, horticulture, machine protection, and other decorative applications.

Wire mesh (woven)

From sieving and screening machinery to conveyor belts and car belts, all the way to animal fencing and building frames.

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