SECURITY SCREEN MESH TYPES
Once upon a time, there was only one Security Mesh. A woven 0.9mm 304 Stainless Mesh Wire screwed onto an aluminium frame. How things have changed. Nowadays there are many types of security screen mesh or sheet. Let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the woeful help you select the best one for your home, office or the whole apartment complex!
SECURITY MESH TYPES
There are two main types of security screen mesh.
- Starline Security manufactures and uses three different stainless woven wire meshes.
- BasiX: 316 stainless 0.7mm wire, 12×12 strand per inch weave.
- SecureView: T316 high tensile marine grade stainless 0.8mm wire, 11×11 strands per inch weave.
- Xtreme: 304 stainless 1.0mm wire, 10×10 strands per inch weave. At the time of writing Xtreme mesh and product is currently still in the development and testing stage but we hope this product will become available commercially late 2019.
- The different meshes have different applications and qualities.
- Woven meshes have better visibility VS perforated sheet.
- The smaller the wire strand the better the visibility.
- Woven meshes have better ventilation VS perforated sheet.
- The smaller the wire strand the better the ventilation.
- Stainless woven mesh costs more than a perforated sheet.
- The larger the wire the higher the cost. Apart from costing more for the actual wire, larger wire diameters are significantly more difficult to weave consistently and be free from imperfections. See “The good, bad and ugly” below for a detailed discussion regarding mesh quality and issues.
- Upping the wire diameter has a huge effect on the strength of a finished security screen. Starline Security will be conducting extensive testing to show you how much this difference is but anecdotally we are extremely confident in saying that Extreme’s 1.0mm wire mesh would be at least twice as strong a BasiX’s 0.7mm wire mesh.
- Woven wire mesh is designed and manufactured similarly to insect screening using strands of wire woven into an even mesh structure. These meshes are a lot stronger than metal fly screen meshes.
Flat VS Rolls
- Woven mesh used for security screens is manufactured into flat sheets rather than rolls like is typical for metal wire insect screens.
- In Australia, there are now many types of woven mesh sold as “security screens” using varying types of steel. Types marketed include galvanised wire mesh (we don’t sell this poor quality product), 304, 316 and T316 stainless wire in varying diameters, strengths and weave profiles.
- The various mesh weaves are specified in strands per inch (metric has not been adopted by the mesh industry yet) with smaller diameter wire strand mesh generally having more strands per inch while keeping the aperture or opening size square and similarly sized for mesh adopted and used in the security screen industry.
The good, bad and ugly
What is the difference? Mesh is mesh, right? Actually, No. Mesh qualities vary across a range of issues.
1. Service Life
Security mesh will last decades in service but only when the highest quality stainless steel wire is used and general maintenance is followed. There is considerable debate, but in our opinion, T316 marine grade high tensile stainless wire is the best. Then 316 and even 304 stainless wire has its place. But if the wire is not stainless then forget it. Galvanised steel wire mesh will have a very poor service life when used in a security screen. Regularly washing down a security screen mesh will considerably extend its life while minimising aluminium oxidisation of the screen frame.
2. Weave consistency
Just like all woven products, there are good weavers and there are poor weavers. The good ones result in a mesh that is easy to see through and has few manufacture imperfections. Woven mesh wire imperfections include:
- Inconsistent weave. One wire is woven closer to another resulting in openings that are not identical in size across the mesh. This results in what is called “reed lines”. It gets this jargonistic term because the woven wire mesh looks like grass reeds going every which way. Not ideal.
- Note: The picture shown here has wire strands missing on purpose but demonstrates the effect.
- Curved mesh. This means the wires are not woven straight and true but curve slightly.
- Uneven wire weave. This is where one wire is bent more than the other to create the weave. Generally consistent with lower quality woven mesh. Results in mesh being more difficult to see through depending upon which way the mesh is rotated during the manufacture of a security screen.
Almost all security mesh screens are powder coated black. However, poor substrate paint preparation, application, paint quality and thickness all have an impact on how long your screen will remain looking like new. If your security screen mesh looks “cloudy” then you should wash it down immediately and then give it a good rub over with a soft cloth to remove as much of the fine debris embedded in the paint as possible. Do not spray your screen mesh with “Mr Sheen” style products to bring back that black shine as these products attract even more dust and debris exacerbating the problem. The best option is to purchase security screens from a reputable supplier who uses a mesh that has been applied with the highest quality paint possible.
It is a big problem in the security screen industry. There are two main types of substitution:
Mesh Manufacturer Wire Substitution
- This is where a mesh manufacturer substitutes cheaper lower quality wire but markets it as a higher quality stainless steel mesh.
- Starline Security bypasses this problem entirely by using a mesh supplier that has their own mesh weaving and manufacturing facility where we know they use a high-quality stainless wire sourced from Japan. Quality control has been brought back “in house” so we have complete knowledge and control over the wire used in the manufacture of the mesh supplied to us.
- Although this issue is not specific to the mesh itself, cheaper, poorer quality meshes are too often substituted by local fabricators and sold to consumers as a higher quality mesh. When you can buy mesh at half the price of the good stuff many fabricators fall victim to this temptation.
- In over 25yrs+ of fabricating security screens and doors, Starline Security has never knowingly substituted inferior mesh in any of our products. We have always sourced our mesh from reputable suppliers and where we can trace who the mesh manufacturer is. Substitution is not worth it. When the mesh fails consumers will complain, the substituting business will quickly become inundated with warranty claims, bad online reviews ensue and in many cases, the business closes leaving unwitting consumers owning sub-standard failing products. Consumer solutions to this issue:
- Buy only from a supplier, fabricator or installer you trust.
- If the quoted price looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Use a fridge magnet on your mesh. If it sticks to the mesh then it is not stainless steel and you have definitely been duped.
- If the mesh starts “rusting” not long after purchase then we suggest that it may not be manufactured from stainless steel. (or you live in a highly corrosive environment)
Starline Security manufactures and uses one perforated sheet. Xceed: Black 1.6mm flat structural grade aluminium with closely spaced 2.2mm round holes creating a perforated sheet
- Perforated sheets tend to lose visibility VS woven mesh. Especially when viewed from an angle.
- Thinner sheets offer better the visibility but in our experience even quite thin sheets have less visibility VS an equivalently strong woven stainless wire mesh product.
- Another aspect to consider is the opening area. We do not have specifications on the opening area of Xceed (hey supplier…where’s this info?) because the opening area can have a bigger impact on visibility than sheet thickness. If the holes are positioned closer together you get more visibility at the expense of strength. So there is a constant compromise between sheet thickness, opening area and strength. We feel that Xceed has the best result when taking all factors into consideration.
- Perforated sheets, even those with statistically equivalent opening areas, provide less ventilation than woven meshes in real life. We suspect the reason for this is that a breeze tends to deflect off the very flat surface of a perforated sheet whereas when a breeze hits woven mesh it may be “broken up” by the wire. Theoretical tests have yet to be conducted so this observation is purely anecdotal.
- Perforated sheet products generally cost less than Stainless woven mesh.
- Xceed’s 1.6mm thick hardened aluminium sheet is very strong. Certainly strong enough to pass all Australian standards for Security Screen and Doors.
- In Australia, there are a few types of perforated sheet used in security screening. A thin stainless steel perforated sheet is quite good and there is a 1.2mm thick aluminium sheet available however we use and recommend Xceed’s 1.6mm thick aluminium perforated sheet for its great strength while still allowing good ventilation and visibility.
Diamond grille and bar type products have not been included in this discussion because they are not a security sheet type of product.
We hope this information has made it easier for you to choose the right security screen mesh type for your home. Contact us if you still have any question about our products. We will be happy to help you 🙂