How to Install and Maintain a Wire Mesh Facade
A wire mesh facade can provide characteristics to a structure that are unlike any material. When implementing a facade into your architectural design process there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.
To that end, how the facade is installed is one of the most important of these factors. But what exactly does the installation of a wire mesh facade look like?
Having worked with architectural mesh for over 20 years, W.S. Tyler’s team of experts has the experience needed to ensure your projects leave your customers and their patrons in a state of awe.
In this article, we will break down the many components of a wire mesh facade, provide a step-by-step installation guide, and share some maintenance tips that will keep your facade looking like new for decades.
What Is a Wire Mesh Facade?
A wire mesh facade is best described as an assortment of mesh panels that enhance the exterior of a structure by providing it with unique characteristics. Depending on the environment and application of the facade, it can provide several beneficial qualities including sun protection, branding opportunities, and fall protection.
In most cases, facades are installed by tensioning mesh panels that are the full height of the project, with substructural support at the top and bottom of the panel. That said, cut-to-size infill panels, which are mounted using a framing system, can be applied as a facade, although they are more widely used for railings.
What Are the Components of a Wire Mesh Facade?
There are a lot of nuts, bolts, and brackets that allow wire mesh facades to maintain their architectural form for years. Among these different pieces, the substructure, clevis hardware, flat tension profile, pressure spring, and intermediate tubes stand as the most vital.
The substructure serves as the foundation of the facade and is attached directly to the building. These frames are usually made out of galvanized steel and take on an “L”-shaped profile.
The clevis hardware are the brackets placed along the top and bottom flat tension profile clamps. The purpose of these brackets is to connect the mesh panels to the substructure frame.
The flat tension profile is a clamp placed at the top and bottom of each mesh panel. These clamps allow the mesh and clevis hardware to be attached with ease.
The pressure springs are located on the bottom substructural frame and provide a safe means of tensioning the mesh. As wind hits the mesh panels, the springs provide just enough give to maintain the mesh's aesthetically pleasing qualities without being damaged.
Lastly, the intermediate tubes are designed to provide additional support throughout the length of the facade. The specific placement of the intermediate tubes allows them to prevent the panels from drifting and being damaged.
What Steps Are Needed to Prepare the Building?
The installation of a wire mesh facade is a pretty straightforward process and can be accomplished with ease with the right team. That said, there are a few steps that can be taken prior to your mesh arriving that can further enhance the installation process.
Typically, the building will already have the substructure frames in place. This includes both the top and bottom frames as well as the intermediate tube holders.
With that, the intermediate tubes themselves should also be installed prior to the mesh being hoisted.
Lastly, you are going to want to preassemble the clevis hardware so they are ready to receive the mesh.
To put this all into perspective, let’s say you’re walking past a 50-foot building that is being prepped for a facade installation. You’re gonna see preinstalled intermediate tubes, L-profile substructural frames at the top and bottom, and the clevis hardware attached to the substructural frames.
By following these steps, the contractor will simply need to lift the mesh panels and attach them to the substructure.
What Does a Wire Mesh Facade Install Look Like?
It should be noted that the installation of a wire mesh facade is tackled by an outside contractor of your choosing and not the supplier of the wire mesh. To ensure a successful installation, the contractor should use the following steps :
- Attach the clevis bolts to the top flat tensioning profile, leaving two clevis bolt openings available. The two openings will be used by the lifting tools when raising the mesh.
- Using the included self-locking nuts, secure the clevis bolts to the flat tensioning profile.
- Place the mesh roll into the cradle and attach the lifting tools to the tension profile openings mentioned in Step 1.
- Using a crane or cherry picker, hoist the roll, which will unroll within the cradle automatically. To avoid movement when lifting, attach a rope on both ends of the bottom and have two helpers guide the mesh roll.
- Attach the top clevis bolts to the top substructure profile. NOTE: Ensure the plastic isolation sleeves are in place to provide protection from bi-metallic corrosion.
- Repeat steps 1, 2, and 5 to attach the bottom clevis bolts.
- Compress the pressure springs on the bottom substructure profile to pre-tension the wire mesh. Use the provided compression values (to be measured between the washers only) to ensure uniform tension.
- If using intermediate tubes, wrap the wire connectors around the tube and fasten it to the back of the mesh.
How Much Does an Installation Cost?
There are several factors that can affect the cost of a wire mesh facade install. For example, labor cost is going to be a major contributor to the overall cost of the project.
What are the labor laws? Are the workers union or non-union? These are just some of the questions that should be considered when trying to work an architectural facade into your budget.
Another factor that ties in with the overall cost is the amount of panels being installed. Naturally, if you are installing a facade on a large, 80,000 square foot building it’s going to cost a lot more than a facade install on a 25,000 square foot building, as it will require more panels.
On average, the installation of a wire mesh facade will cost anywhere from $10 to $15 per square foot.
How Do I Maintain My Wire Mesh Facade?
Once the wire mesh facade has been installed, minimal maintenance is required. In fact, tension adjustments are not necessary if installed properly; however, yearly visual checks are mandatory.
As far as cleaning is concerned, the stainless steel construction of the mesh allows most debris to be washed away by rain. If rain is not enough, a power washer can be used if the operator holds the powerwasher at a minimum distance of one foot.
Lint-free towels may also be used if the dirt is dry.
For more information regarding how to clean your mesh, read the following article:
Become an Architectural Mesh Expert With Us
A wire mesh facade is a series of wire mesh panels assembled together, forming a one-of-a-kind structural aesthetic.
While there are dozens of pieces that are used to construct a facade, the substructure, clevis hardware, flat tension profiles, pressure springs, and intermediate tubes are the key components that you need to be aware of. With that, you should also be aware that the installation of a facade is carried out by an outside contractor of your choosing, not the mesh supplier.
Here at W.S. Tyler, our team of experts is here to help whether it be on-site assistance during the first phases of the installation process or help maintaining its lustrous appearance several years down the road.
To learn more about architectural mesh and the possibilities it can provide, review our Ultimate Guide to Architectural Mesh.
About Ronnie Brown
Ronnie is the Content Writer for W.S. Tyler and has four years of experience as a professional writer. He strives to expand his knowledge on all things particle analysis and woven wire mesh to leverage his exceptional writing and graphic design skills, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for customers.