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Flagpole Tips

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Flagpole Tips

I wrote the column about flagpoles as a result of the tragic September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country. Within days of the events, I was flooded with emails from people just like you who were flush with renewed patriotism.

I think it is wonderful and am so happy that so many people have decided to install a flag pole to fly Old Glory.

"Both Buildings Are Going to Collapse"

Firefighting happens to be a hobby of mine. The morning of the attack my wife frantically called down to my office and told me to come upstairs and look at the live TV coverage.

I knew that firefighters were rushing to the scene and I knew they were going into both buildings to rescue people and try to extinguish the fires. But I also knew something else.

I knew both Trade Center Buildings were going to collapse. I said that within a minute of seeing the rerun of the video of the second plane striking the second World Trade Center building.

The structural steel that supports the buildings was severely damaged. Load bearing columns were ripped out by the planes. Other columns had the fireproofing material scraped off. It was just a matter of time before the steel would soften and collapse under the weight of the floors above.

But yet, I knew that firefighters and police officers were climbing the stairs knowing the same thing. They were in a race trying to cool the steel before the collapse would happen. As we know, they lost both races. And we lost hundreds of heroes.

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local handymen who can install a flagpole for you in one day.

Some Flagpole Facts

The wind exerts a very strong force on flags. Simply hold up a flag on a windy day and you will see what I mean.

This means that poles need to be sized for the wind speed and for the size of the flag(s) to be flown on the pole. Tall poles need to be large diameter to offset the pull of the wind.

Be sure to match your flag to the size of the pole you buy or make. Most good flag pole manufacturers have sizing charts to help you do this.

Here's a telescoping flag pole. It's perfect for most homes. CLICK THE PHOTO NOW TO HAVE THIS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME IN DAYS.

In-Ground Pole Drainage

If you decide to do a ground-set pole be aware that the sleeve needs to be able to freely drain collected rain and ground water. If it can't do this, then the pole may rust away over time.

The danger is that the pole can weaken over time and blow over and hurt you or someone else. You can minimize corrosion by making sure the pole is not surrounded by water.

Cut slots in the bottom of any pole sleeve. Set the sleeve on a metal plate and have it welded if possible.

This sleeve sits on a poured concrete footer. Before you pour the concrete that holds the sleeve in place, pour three inches of washed gravel on top of the footer. This is done after the sleeve is in place.

Any water that goes down around the pole drains into the sleeve, exits the sleeve through the slots and then passes through the gravel to the soil. The concrete is simply poured on top of the gravel and it will not clog the gravel passageways. This drainage is very important. Don't overlook it as you build the foundation for your pole.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local handymen who can install a flagpole for you in one day.

Homemade Flagpole Parts

If you are on a tight budget there is no reason why you can't make a pretty nice flagpole on your own. The most challenging parts to get are the truck (flagstaff cap) that sits on top of the pole and the sleeve that is placed in the ground. In reality, only the sleeve may present a problem for you.

Different Truck Designs

The truck I saw that works perfectly for a homemade flagpole was sold at a local flag shop in Cincinnati, OH called Flaggs U.S.A.

At this store, I held in my hand a cast aluminum truck that would fit perfectly over the end of a 2 inch diameter galvanized iron pipe.

The cost was about $20.00. If you decide to look at other truck assemblies, you must determine if they fit inside a tube or over the end of the tube.

It makes a big difference! The ones that fit inside a pipe or tube must fit very snugly or you will have all sorts of problems. The one that I saw has mounting bolts that you tighten around the outside of the flagpole pipe. Once tight, the truck will not move on top of the pole. The manufacturers listed below also sell truck parts.

The Sleeve

In the column about flagpoles, I tell you to make a sleeve with a steel plate base. This makes it easy to install the sleeve but the plate is not necessary.

You simply need a pipe sleeve that has an inner diameter slightly larger than the outer diameter of the flagpole pipe. This pipe can rest on the concrete footer at the bottom of the hole.

The challenge is to keep it plumb as you pour the concrete. One method is to tap a slightly oversize square peg into the end of the sleeve. This peg can stick up about a foot or so.

Then extend two pieces of wood over the hole in the shape of the letter X that are nailed to the square peg. Drive stakes into the ground and nail the X pieces to the stakes once the sleeve is plumb.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local handymen who can install a flagpole for you in one day.

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22 Responses to Flagpole Tips

  1. I have a 25 ft aluminum flag pole I put a solid brass eagle on the top of the pole should I ground the brass eagle from the top of the pole with a insulated copper wire and a aluminum grounding rod 6 ft long or just the aluminum pole its self? thank you for your input and service in this matter.

  2. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, nicely written and included approximately all vital info. I would like to see more posts like this. Thanks!

  3. I want to install a flag bracket on a 23" diameter porch column (hollow). The last time we did this the bracket we purchased did not work.. It was made for a flat surface. Any ideas on how we can make this work? Thanks

  4. I'd like to build a flag pole approximately 20' tall. All diy flag pole instructions I've found call for galvanized pipe. Since I have a smaller yard I don't like the idea of having a 20' tall lightning rod so close to my house. Is there any way to use pvc pipe and if so what would be a good size to minimize pole swaying in the wind? Thanks for any feedback!

  5. Hey, I am working on building my own flag pole, what is the best metal pip at Lowes i can get that would be best, I want a 3" pipe and want it to be about 25ft. also with it being in the ground like that, how can i make it less like to get hit by lightning?

  6. Hi,
    I have an aluminium 20' flagpole that in in the middle of an area that we now would like to put a path in for disability access.

    I would like to know if it is more cost effective to move the pole or cut it down and purchase new and reset it?

    Thanks

  7. Hi There!
    My flag was flying fine and stayed up on the pole. My brother-in-law went over to it and I asked him what he was doing. He said he was getting the slack out of it. I thought that there was suppose to be some slack on a non-windy day. Anyway, within a couple of days, my flag was lying on the ground when before he messed with it...it NEVER fell down. What am I to tell him when I call him to come back up here and fix this? THANKS!

    • It may not have been his fault. The sun's UV rays may have caused the lanyard to deteriorate and his messing with it was the last straw.

      Check the rope for fraying damage. Talk to a local flagpole company and ask them how long lanyards usually last.

  8. How many inches from the ground is appropriate when mounting the pole screwed into a home's exterior. The pole is 50"

  9. Hi , while I had my landscaper at my house I asked if he could install my new flagpole and he proceeded to dig a square hole . He was going to come back the next day but I told him I'd finish and now I'm concerned about the square hole . Does it make a difference for the strength of it after the concrete is set ? Thank you for any advice .

  10. I am in the planning stages for my 30' aluminum commercial flag pole. I am concerned that I might over engineer the base or not provide enough strength. My pole needs to be bolted to the base. I have researched galvanized rods, galvanized anchore bolts etc. I am confused as to the required diameter of the base needed and how to secure the pole to the base.
    Looking forward to your response.

  11. I purchased the pole used and there are no instructions with it. I didn't think about down loading instructions from a company that sells the same pole. Kinda feel stupid now. I appreciate your response and I will keep you informed as to how I make out or if I need further assistance.
    Sincerely
    George

  12. hi, just found your informative site while looking for advise reguarding our flag pole. the pole bent over at about 3 feet. we had just moved into this home. I had noticed that the flag pole had looked as if it had been been bent before but quickly forgot about it, You can guess the rest. We thought the Flag looked so pretty when it suddenly just bent over breaking off the pole . Is there a way that we can fix this pole and make it stronger at the bottom section?

    • Harriet,

      I'd just reach out to the flagpole manufacturers and ask them the best way to solve the issue. You may be able to cut the pole at the failed area and insert a strong inner pipe that will bond the two sections together.

  13. Hi i have dug a hole 15" wide and 5' deep and i want to build a 30' pole so it would be 25' tall.My flag is a 10'x15' commercial flag so could you tell me what size and what kind of steel pipe i would need. Thanks for your time.

    • Shane,

      This specification is provided by the pole manufacturer. Contact the company that MADE your flag pole. Trust NO ONE ELSE. Be sure your pole is designed to handle your flag.

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