What Is an Architectural Mesh Attachment System?
Architectural mesh systems are a simple yet effective way to enhance virtually any architectural design process. From creating a dynamic feel with infill panels that run along an interior railing system to retrofitting an existing building to revive it, architectural mesh is one of the most versatile design materials on the market.
However, there are several components that you must understand to ensure you make the most of your mesh system. The attachment system, for example, is a vital element to a mesh system as it is responsible for creating the tensioning needed for the mesh to function as intended.
But what exactly do we mean when we say architectural mesh attachment system?
Here at W.S. Tyler, our team of experts has helped customers leverage the unique qualities of architectural mesh to create one-of-a-kind designs that will stand the test of time.
With that, we will discuss the following:
- What an architectural mesh attachment system is
- What is needed to attach a mesh system properly
- How architects can customize attachment systems
- How attachment systems affect the price of a mesh system
What is an Architectural Mesh Attachment System?
An architectural mesh attachment system is the hardware that allows the contractor to attach mesh panels to the substructure of a building or garage. Generally, this can be referring to two attachment system variants: an eyebolt attachment system or a flat tension profile with clevis assembly.
Eyebolt Attachment System
The eyebolt attachment system is typically only used to attach cable mesh panels, such as a multi-barrette panel. When these materials are used, the panel(s) will be manufactured to the length it needs to be per the customer’s drawings, spot welding the tops of the cables.
Once spot welded, several of the solid schute wires are removed and replaced with support rods that run the entire width of the panel. As these support rods are inserted, the eye bolts are being attached.
To that end, the attachment points are generally 2 to 3 inches from each end and 16 inches on center. These attachment points can go closer than 16 inches on center; however, they cannot go further away.
This method is then repeated at the bottom of the panel. That said, a pressure spring that pulls the panel into complete tension is incorporated.
Flat Tension Profile
Flat tension profiles are designed for use with solid, woven wire mesh panels. In fact, the eyebolt attachment system cannot be used on woven wire mesh as the weaving process prevents the removal of schute wires and incorporation of the support rods.
That said, you can use a flat tension profile for cable mesh panels.
Now, with a flat tension profile, a 4-inch wide stainless steel strip is folded over the top of the wire mesh panel then folded back onto itself. When it is folded back onto itself, the mesh is locked into the profile and will not pull out of the flat tension profile once tensioned.
The mounting points are the same as the eyebolt system, standing 2 to 3 inches from each end and 16 inches on center. The most significant difference with the flat tension profile attachment system is that a pre-drilled hole is punched out of the profile.
NOTE: These holes are slotted holes to allow for adjustments that may need to be made on-site.
A clevis assembly is then attached at the top and bottom of the panel and attached to the substructure. A plastic sleeve is placed through the substructure to prevent dissimilar contact corrosion.
Again, like the eyebolt system, a spring system that pulls the panel into tension is placed at the bottom of the panel.
For both options, intermediate tubes that prevent panel movement will be required. These tubes bear no weight and are placed every 10 feet in height of the panel.
Each tube will have a small flange welded onto it every 24 inches, as well as wire connectors that hook onto the panel and fasten it to the tube. The wire connectors are pivot points and allow for any expansion or contraction caused by variating temperatures.
What is needed for an attachment system to work correctly?
Most architectural mesh suppliers simply provide the mesh and the attachment system. This leaves customers responsible for delivering the substructure.
It is critical that the substructure that is in place can withstand the tension loads created by the mesh system. Failure to do so can lead to the substructure detaching from the building/parking structure, causing significant damage, and, more importantly, create a hazard for visitors.
Some mesh suppliers provide engineering services to help determine the structural calculations needed for a mesh system to function as it should.
How can attachment systems be customized?
Depending on the height of the panel, the tension spring system can be removed as the attachment system alone can be used to deliver the required tension. For example, if a cable mesh panel is 8 feet or smaller, the eyebolt hardware alone can be used to tension the panel.
There are also some instances where the industrial aesthetic of the spring system conflicts with the architect’s vision. To resolve these issues, the panel can be flipped, placing the spring system at the top and out of sight.
This method can also be applied if you wish to place the panel horizontally by placing the spring system on the sides.
If this is not practical, a hidden tensioning system can be implemented. To do so, a large tube is placed at the bottom of the mesh panel, and the mesh is wrapped around it. The spring system is then installed on the backside of the tube, leaving you with a fully tensioned panel without having a visible tensioning mechanism.
How do attachment systems affect cost?
The $20-$25 per square foot estimate of a standard architectural mesh system includes all attachment hardware you will need. To put this into perspective, if you were to eliminate all standard attachment hardware from your system, there would maybe be a cost savings of about $7 per square foot.
Now, the hidden tensioning system will have a more significant impact on the cost as there is more hardware and engineering that goes into it. For more insight into the cost of architectural mesh, refer to our article: How Much Does Architectural Mesh Cost?
Bring Architectural Mesh Mounting Into Frame
Architectural mesh attachment systems are a variety of hardware used to attach mesh panels to the substructure of a building. Whether you use an eyebolt system or a flat tension profile, it is critical that the building is outfitted with a substructure that can withstand the tension that the mesh system creates.
That said, there are several instances where you may find using cut-to-size pieces or a mounting grid to be the best solution. If this is the case, your framed mesh panels may provide the best results.
Having worked within the world of architectural design, W.S. Tyler strives to ensure your mesh system delivers an aesthetic that visitors will remember for years to come.
To learn more about why you may want to used framed mesh panels, refer to our article: What Is Architectural Mesh Framing? (Definition, Uses, and Cost).
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.