I frequently see articles spreading inaccurate information about securing hardware cloth to wood, claiming that washers are needed to properly protect from predators.
This is inaccurate.
1/2" stainless steel staples, spaced 1" apart, possibly a light tap or two from a hammer, and you could walk on that mesh for years and the mesh would fail long before the staples.
The issues folks have from using staples mostly likely arise fromit'
1) Using 1/4 inch staples.
The most inexpensive models of staple guns do not take 1/2" staples, so the builder is left with no choice. Fortunately, Stanley makes a 1/2" compatible staple gun for $15 and I honestly prefer it to my $35 DeWalt staple gun. It's more ergonomic, the trajectory of the staple is more clear, and the action takes the same amount of force.
2) incorrect spacing.
We're not just putting the mesh there to keep chickens in, we're keeping predators out. Staples are cheap and easy to apply. Put one at least every 1.5", but there's no reason not to go every 1". There's also some fantastic structural advantages to properly secured hardware cloth.
3) Incorrect staples
Gotta go stainless steel. They're outdoors and they're metal - galvanization would be sufficient in other applications, but in the case of holding hardware cloth, the staple immediately takes a metal-on-metal hit when used, which damages the coating. (Galvanization is dipping something into Zinc to give it a rust-resistant coating.)
The basic $15 Stanley Heavy Duty staple gun can suit you needs.
There are a host of things you can do to further improve how well the hardware cloth is secured, but they are unnecessary. I've built 20"x30" sifters that handle thousands of hard bounces from 50+ lb loads of soil using methods weaker than the one I've prescribed here.
The reason going any deeper into staple upgrade territory is unnecessary is because of the old adage "a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link." With this stapling, other things (frame, the mesh itself, gravity - in the form of your run being tipped over or even uprooted) will fail before the fasteners.
Hope this helps, saves you some time and $, and makes your runs a little less cluttered.
Edited by Staff