Often plaster mesh is not required, but when it is needed it’s useful to know which type of plaster mesh is most affordable – chicken wire, plastic mesh or fishing net. I think stucco mesh is overkill and so it’s not covered here, although it’s often required by code and so you’ll have to plan for this if your building regulations call for it. For ease of checking prices on lots of items quickly for cost estimates, I suggest an online site such as Lowes.com.
Poultry netting (chicken wire): $14.97 for 4’x50′ roll = 200 sq. ft., which is 7.5 cents/sq. ft. (narrower, shorter rolls are much more expensive).
Plastic mesh: (low cost option) $13.93 for 4’x50′ roll = 200 sq. ft., which is about 7 cents/sq. ft.
Nylon fishing net (priced locally): $3.78 for 6’x52’ roll = 312 sq. ft. when stretched out. That makes it about 1.2 cents/per square foot. (You might even be able to obtain used fishing net in decent condition for free.) Like plastic mesh, fishing net won’t rust and so it’s durable in wet climates.
At about one sixth the cost of poultry netting and plastic mesh, fishing net wins hands down. And think how strong it is. It’s used to pull out heavy loads of fish year after year and stand up to underwater use. So, fishing net is my first choice for affordable plaster mesh. Photo below shows typical 1.5″x1.5″ spacing.