When building, the question of what type of mesh to use in a straw bale build is a big one. I show the use of 14 gauge welded wire mesh in my videos, and that is a great option; however, it also has its downsides like any other application. For one, it is expensive. Secondly, it is a bit harsh on the environment to use so much steel. So, what other options are there?
One option is to not use mesh at all for the majority of the structure. This is only applicable when the structure is plastered with an earthen or lime plaster as cement based plaster require a structural mesh by code.
Another option is to use plastic mesh like Tenax. It cuts with a utility knife and is lightweight which make it easy to work with. It stretches a bit, like the old days of chicken wire, so it can be difficult to maintain a desired shape.
Jute netting is an environmental option that will work well with earthen and lime plasters. It is a bit harder to find in some markets, but is easy to work with and has a low impact on the environment. It is difficult to successfully shape corners with jute because, like chicken wire or plastic mesh, it does not hold a shape well.
Stucco netting or even chicken wire can be used; however, I find them to be not worth the hassle. They are very flexible and sharp and are made of steel. If you use the steel, then I suggest moving up to the welded wire mesh as it is far superior to the stucco netting or chicken wire.
In any situation: no mesh, jute, stucco netting, chicken wire, I recommend using a stiff wire on the corners. The welded wire mesh I use is a great option because it holds a shape very easily. This allows you to create smooth corners without the bumps and holes that you might otherwise have with the other materials. What mesh you choose depends on the design and finish you are going for as well as your structural design.
Keep in mind that the welded wire mesh I use in my DVDs can be used as the lateral shear design for the home, eliminating the need for shear bracing. Although I no longer use that method as my number one option, it is still viable and a good choice for the owner builder. I now use HardyFrames or other structural shear panels in my homes for shear walls. They are expensive as far as materials go, but they cut back on labor costs which, as a contractor, are more of a priority than material costs.