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5 Steps To Select The Best Flagpole For Your Display

Written by
Rob Brittain
Published on
April 15, 2021 at 5:38:00 AM PDT April 15, 2021 at 5:38:00 AM PDTth, April 15, 2021 at 5:38:00 AM PDT

Much like when considering the purchase of a new vehicle, shopping for a new flagpole requires research, planning and forethought. To simplify the process, below is a five-step guide to help you decide which flagpole best meets the needs of your environment and the desired “look” of your flag display.

Step 1. Determine if local ordinances, covenants and codes will allow the installation of a flagpole in your desired display area. In a perfect world, you could install a flagpole anywhere you would like. However, neighborhood housing association covenants, city or county building codes and local ordinances often have aesthetic requirements that mandate where and when flagpoles may be erected. Be sure to verify with all applicable governing bodies that a flagpole is allowed in your preferred area for display. After receiving the green light of approval to move forward with selecting and installing a flagpole, ask if there are any restrictions regarding either the height or the appearance of the flagpole.

Step 2. Give thought to your new flagpole’s height, diameter and wall thickness. In general, the height of your flagpole should be at least 5’-10’ taller than its surroundings. Following this flagpole height minimum helps to avoid wind blockage of your flag while also allowing your flag display to have a greater visual impact.

After meeting the flagpole height minimum for your chosen area of display, give some thought to the flag size you plan to display, the number of flags you plan to display on a single flagpole and the type of flag material you plan to use (some flag materials, such as polyester, are considerably heavier than other flag materials). Each of these factors (flag size, number of flags displayed and flag material) plays a role in helping determine the flagpole height that you will need for your display. The graphic below provides a generally accepted flagpole height to flag size ratio:

Equally as important as your flagpole’s height is the diameter of your flagpole and the thickness of its shaft wall. Combined, these factors are critical components of your flagpole’s structural integrity, stability and ability to stand up to high winds.

As you evaluate each flagpole option, be sure to marry the needs of your local weather conditions with the wind ratings for each flagpole. The chart at the below provides an overview of maximum wind gusts that are experienced throughout the United States. Recommendations for in-ground flagpole types, as well as in-ground flagpole brand names, are provided for each wind gust category.

Step 3. Select the composition of your flagpole (aluminum, gel-coated fiberglass or steel).Of the three flagpole construction materials, aluminum

flagpoles are the most commonly used because aluminum does not rust and is lightweight, durable and equally well-suited for both commercial and residential settings. Two different finishes are typically available for aluminum flagpoles: satin and anodized. The satin finish of aluminum flagpoles is achieved by sanding the exterior with specially formulated abrasives that yield a natural, brushed aluminum look. While the brightness of the satin finish will soften over time, a satin aluminum flagpole is both low-maintenance and long-lasting. For contrast, anodized aluminum flagpoles are subjected to a chemical/electrical process that bonds the finish to the metal at the molecular level. Anodized aluminum flagpoles are slightly duller in appearance than their satin counterparts and are available in three different colors: traditional aluminum (with a clear coating), bronze and black. While anodized aluminum flagpoles are best suited for coastal locations (since the anodized finish protects against fading and pitting (oxidation) of the pole, satin aluminum flagpoles have historically been the most popular in non-coastal areas.

Gel-coated fiberglass flagpoles are exceptionally strong and feature a high-quality finish that allows the flagpole to retain its pristine appearance for a lifetime. Thanks to their gel-coated finish, fiberglass flagpoles are resistant to sun, moisture and corrosion. In addition, fiberglass flagpoles are lightweight, extremely durable (and able to withstand high winds), maintenance free and their non-metal composition will neither conduct electricity nor attract lightning.

Finally, steel flagpoles are made from carbon steel pipe or tubing. Noted for their strength, steel flagpoles are oftentimes reserved for special situations in which a customer requires a flagpole that is 90’ tall or taller. Although steel flagpoles are considerably heavier than their aluminum and their fiberglass counterparts, they are also subject to rusting.

Step 4. Determine if a flagpole with an internal or an external halyard system will best meet your needs.The rope or wire and the corresponding pulleys that allow a flag to be raised and lowered are collectively referred to as a flagpole’s halyard system. These ropes and pulleys may be located either inside the flagpole’s shaft or mounted on its exterior. An interior halyard system is a top-of-the-line option that features a lockable panel at the base of the flagpole which makes the flagpole tamper proof and ensures that the flag on display cannot be stolen. In contrast, an external halyard system runs down the outside of the flagpole and is fastened to the flagpole using a cleat. Flagpoles with an external halyard system offer upgrade options such as heavy-duty pulley mechanisms or double halyards. Of the two halyard system options, the external option is the most popular, most economical and best accommodates a wide range of weather conditions.

Step 5. Choose the flagpole installation method that will best meet the needs of your display area (ground set, shoe base, hinge-base or wall-mount). A ground set or in-ground flagpole installation is the strongest and the most common form of flagpole installation. With ground-set installation, 10% of the flagpole's height is embedded below ground in a concrete foundation. Generally, the flagpole height listed by flagpole manufacturers and resellers reflects the flagpole’s above-ground height after installation.

In a shoebaseflagpoleinstallation, the installation involves a support structure and hardware which normally includes a set of anchor bolts that are embedded in a concrete block. Flagpoles with a base diameter of 3” or larger may be installed using a shoe base. Consider a shoe base installation for displays in areas with a particularly rocky terrain, in which embedding 10% of the flagpole’s height below the ground would be difficult or cost prohibitive. The key benefit of using a shoe base installation is that it allows the flagpole’s installation to be completed above ground.

For a hinge-base or atiltingflagpole installation, a hinge-base mechanism is installed into the ground so that a flagpole may be either lowered or laid flat on the ground. The key benefits of hinge-based flagpoles are they are strong, resistant to high winds and more economical to service when flagpole accessories require replacement. Most hinge-base flagpoles are counterbalanced so they can easily be lowered or raised by a single person.

Finally, with a wall-mounted flagpole installation, an external halyard flagpole is mounted either vertically or at an angle on the side of a building. While wall-mounted flagpoles require a bracket and hardware for mounting, brackets are available in a variety of designs so you can select the bracket that best matches the aesthetics of your building façade. Wall-mounted flagpole installations are a great option for urban areas where space is at a premium.

In addition to using the five steps listed above as an aid in selecting the best flagpole to meet your needs, keep in mind that Carrot-Top Industries has over forty years of experience guiding customers through the flagpole selection process. Our Customer Care Professionals will help you select, purchase and install the finest flagpoles for your location. We recommend filling out our Flagpole Request Call Back Form to help us determine the best flagpole for your display needs. After you complete this online form, one of our Customer Care Professionals will call you to discuss the best flagpole option to meet your needs. For immediate assistance with your flagpole purchase, please call 800-628-3524.


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