Can You Use Expanded Metal for Fencing?

Can You Use Expanded Metal for Fencing?

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Expanded metal has been around a long time. In fact, it was invented in 1884 by a man named John French Golding.

It's pretty certain that back then, it probably wouldn't have been used for fencing. In fact, it was most commonly used for industrial applications. But that doesn't mean that it can't be used fencing now. Here's what you need to know about what expanded metal is, and how to use expanded metal for fencing.

How Is Expanded Metal Made?

Expanded metal is made by cutting regular, uniform slits in a pattern on a metal sheet, and then the sheet is pulled or "expanded" to turn those slits into openings in the sheet.

Expanded metal can be flat or have a three dimensional texture, depending on the type of expanded metal you are buying, and what you are using it for.

Often, expanded metal that is used for things like walkway gratings have some texture on them, as this makes it easier for shoes to grip on the surface, even when it's wet.

How Is Expanded Metal Specified?

There are many different types of expanded metal out there. It's made from a variety of different types of metal, so that's usually the first place you will start, by selecting the type of metal. This could be galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum or something else. If you plan to hot dip galvanize something like a gate after it is clad with expanded metal, you could also choose to use a black, ungalvanized expanded metal product.

Next, there's the aperture size, which will have a long dimension and a short dimension, because the openings in expanded metal are diamond shaped.

Then you will choose a thickness, which is the thickness of the sheet material, and then finally, whether your sheet will be textured or flat.

What Sheet Sizes Do Expanded Metal Sheets Come In?

Expanded metal comes in a variety of sheet sizes, which could be anything from 4 x 8' to 6 x 12' and more. In metric dimensions, that would be about 1.2 meters by 2.4 meters and 1.8 meters by 3.6 meters.

This broad range of sizes is perfect for fencing, where you might need a variety of panel sizes to make your high security fencing design work.

How To Use Expanded Metal for Fencing

If you're planning to use expanded metal for fencing, it's safe to assume that you are looking for a high security fence system. Expanded metal is a good choice for this, and it's readily available, so might be easier to acquire than a fence panel like 358 mesh.

You can use the same type of fence structure for expanded metal fencing as you would for other types of fences. Which would usually be either an angle iron structure with flat cover strips bolted in place, or square or angle iron posts with custom brackets.

Top and bottom rails made from angle iron can be used if you want to add more rigidity to the structure.

Another option is to make panels from the expanded metal, using angle iron for the frame and fastening the panels in place with bolts and washers, with the nut on the inside of the angle. This makes the panel hardware harder to access, and gives it a more appealing appearance from the outside.

These kinds of panels are well suited to installation between existing walls or in openings in parking garages and so on.

Yes, You Can

The details of expanded metal fencing could vary enormously from one specification to the next, but the answer to the question "can expanded metal be used for fencing" is a definite yes. It makes a very good moderate to high security fence for various applications.