Grate Comparisons: Wedgewire and Perforated Grates

Wedgewire Vs. Punched Grates

More than an aesthetic or economic decision, selecting the right stainless steel grate for your needs depends on the application for which it is being used. Before you’re sold on a pattern or price tag, read on to find out the difference between wedgewire and perforated grates, how they are made, what that means for their performance, and where they can be used.

How Are Wedgewire and Perforated Grates Made?

Wedgewire Grates

Wedgewire grates consist of two elements – the grill and the surround, or trim. The grill is machine made, but the grate is hand finished, cut to the required dimensions, and the trim is then welded on.

Perforated Grates (Punched Grates)

Perforated grates are a less intricate construction. Rather than featuring bar grating, perforated grates are constructed from a piece of sheet metal that is punched or laser cut to make slots, squares, or, really, whatever shape you want. It is then pressed into the U form that sits in a receiving channel.

What Does This Mean for Their Performance?

Are They Similarly Strong?

No, there are massive differences in their strength. A perforated stainless steel (AKA punch metal or laser cut) grate doesn’t have the integrity of a wedgewire grate, it’s only as strong as the steel you make it from. Predominantly, perforated grates are made from 2mm thick sheet stainless steel (at best) that has then got a whole bunch of holes punched in it. Even though the grate is only 10 cm wide, it will deflect under a persons’ weight. This makes their usage very limited. Generally, the application of perforated grates is no more than bathrooms and (domestic) balconies. Strictly pedestrian, and certainly no vehicular, traffic.

Conversely, wedgewire grating is much stronger and thus its usage extends beyond residential use to civil use also.

Are Their Any Differences in Product Safety?


The term “heelguard” is simply used to describe the gap, the aperture, in the grate. While we predominantly associate heelguard with wedgewire, as it is predominantly aligned within the industry, some people have used the term “heelguard punch grate”. By definition it is possible to have a heelguard perforated grate, it means that the slots, cut in with a laser machine or punched, meet heelguard specification which is toe entrapment. Toe entrapment is less than eight millimeters.

Slip resistance

Wedgewire grates can be applied with a slip resistant finish, and they are used as such in many civil applications.

To give a punch grate some sort of slip resistance you have to bead blast it. So you’re actually changing the appearance of it and giving it a gritty finish. This would cause maintenance issues. All this said, slip resistance does not really factor in for perforated grates. Firstly, again, their applications are domestic. And, secondarily, at a maximum width of 10 cm and a footprint generally being wider than this, it s really more vital that the adjacent walk surface have some slip resistance, and the grate would, in essence, be covered by this.

To make the point, you don’t see large areas covered by a punched grate, it is always some for of wire grate as it has the structural design and composition to allow large areas to be covered. These typically also do have a slip resistant finish that is typical of heelguard grating.

Why People Would Choose Laser Cut Grates Over Heel Guard Wedgewire?

For purely economical reasons. Wedgewire verse the same size of pressed or perforated drain or punch grate is 3:1.

Wedgewire or Perforated Grates, Which Are the Choice for You?

If you are looking for an economical grating solution for a domestic drainage need such as a bathroom or balcony, then perforated grates should be sufficient for you. However, if you are looking for something with greater strength (physically, visually) and durability, or for some application outside of the home, be it in a commercial or public space, then wedgewire is likely the better choice for you.

If you are ready to purchase wedgewire or perforated grates, or are still on the fence as to what exactly you need, contact our helpful team to discuss your grating needs.

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