MeshGuard Code Compliance: What You Should Know

Deck Rocking Chair

MeshGuard has been subject to testing done by the ICC-ES and the results are published in ESR-3938 which outlines its structural, durability and surface-burning characteristics.

What is MeshGuard?

The MeshGuard porch screening system is ICC code-approved as an alternative for pickets or other visual obstructions below the porch handrail. The system can be used on elevated porches and decks for openings up to 6×3 feet and consists of several innovative components that work together to give MeshGuard unrivaled strength.

The proprietary MeshGuard screen is incredibly durable and provides excellent visibility and airflow. It’s made from vinyl-coated polyester, similar to popular pet screens on the market. The manufacturing process creates a significantly stronger mesh over standard fiberglass screen. Most importantly, it retains its strength over time where fiberglass often deteriorates — especially in coastal environments.

The rigid PVC base is fastened to the porch framing with stainless steel fasteners and reinforced with a galvanized steel strip which acts as an ultra-strong washer to hold the base in place. The tear-resistant polyester screen mesh installs using a proprietary rounded-edge flat spline to lock it into in place. The result is the first screening system that exceeds IRC requirements for 50 pound load applied to a square foot area of guardrail infill.

MeshGuard’s ESR-3938 Findings

The ESR-3938 findings state that MeshGuard has been tested and is compliant with both International Building Code and International Residential Code for interior and exterior use as an infill system on guards for balconies, porches, and decks.

What is the Tear Strength of MeshGuard Screen?

MeshGuard maintains its code compliancy through rigorous testing including the ESR-3938 and through ASTM D5733.

The ASTM D5733 is a test of the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM). This is the measurement of the pounds of force required to tear coated fabrics with non woven substrates and composites. A specimen is cut in the shape of an isosceles trapezoid at the smallest base of the trapezoid. The nonparallel sides of the trapezoid are clamped in parallel jaws of a tensile testing machine. The separation of the jaws is continuously increased to apply force to propagate a tear. The number of pounds required to cause a tear determines the rating.

MeshGuard has recorded a warp strength of 26.3 and a 24.0 fill strength. (Warp refers to threads that run the length of the fabric and fill refers to yarn or threads that are woven in with the warp and run the width of the fabric). Although, MeshGuard is designed to not tear, if it does rip, it will not run due to the unique fibers and PVC that make up the screen.

What is Unique About the MeshGuard Spline?

The rounded-edge spline and the MeshGuard base fit together like matching puzzle pieces. The orange edge, which is the rounded edge, matches the interior mold of the PVC base. The rounded edge of the spline rolls right into the rounded channel of the base which creates a “locking” factor. The  orange edge also matches the orange edge of the MeshGuard screen so code inspectors can tell that the proper components were used.

What does my Building Code Inspector Need to Know?

Most local building code inspectors use the ESR report in order to approve your installation of MeshGuard. They may also review the installation instructions to ensure all the proper steps have been followed.