Selecting a Flagpole
Jun 16th 2020
At Northline Express, our guide to selecting a flagpole will help you choose the right pole to fit your budget. For example, high-wind areas require sturdier flagpoles. Our wind speed chart can help you choose the right construction. For low-wind areas, choose our economical residential-grade sectional or telescoping flagpoles. Telescoping flagpoles don't have a halyard, which eliminates the need to replace worn out halyards.
Your location in the country will help narrow down your choices of flagpoles. Generally, mountains, desert plains and coastal areas need flagpoles that can withstand strong wind gusts. Other areas throughout the country with higher winds require a sturdier flagpole. Some of these areas include the Great Lakes region, tornado prone areas, and any islands or peninsulas. The loads created by winds on flags and flagpoles increase with height above sea level, and tend to be greater along the shores and in wide open rural areas.
Click here to view our wind speed chart.
For areas with very little wind, we do offer more cost effective residential grade sectional and telescoping flagpoles. Our residential grade sectional flagpoles come in 20ft. or 25ft., use swedged ends to attach to one another, and utilize an external halyard to fly their flags. Swedged ends are similar to male and female pipe fittings. These swedged ends form a smooth, tapered look, and make these poles very easy to install. Flagpoles of these heights typically can fly flags up to 5x8 ft., although due to the pole’s lightweight residential style, a smaller flag, which would cause less stress on the pole (due to wind), is suggested. Sectional poles can also be shipped via UPS or other traditional shipping methods.
Telescoping poles offer even easier installation and do not have a halyard, which eliminates the need to replace the halyard when the rope becomes worn. A simple click of a release button allows the telescoping flagpole to either extend or retract in seconds. They range in height from 15ft. to 20ft., and they are fitted with swivel rings to mount the flag to the pole instead of a halyard. Because they can be retracted to five feet, telescoping poles can also be shipped via UPS or other traditional shipping methods. Telescoping flagpoles are not available in a commercial grade, and should only be used in areas which will not experience high wind conditions.
The composition of the flagpole will be an important factor in selecting a flagpole. We offer both aluminum and fiberglass flagpoles. Our high pressure fiberglass flagpoles are made using an innovative high strength method. Inside a steel clamshell mold, seven layers of reinforced fiberglass roving are mixed with a polyester resin and aligned in a vertical plane for maximum strength and then placed on a thick layer of gel coat. An inflatable bladder is laid the length of the mold. The mold is closed, the bladder inflated and the resulting pole is created by subtle inside pressure and slow curing during an exothermic chemical reaction. The result is a lightweight, strong, slender and graceful flagpole. So strong in fact, that tensile strength is 50,000 pounds per square inch. Each pole is rated to withstand wind speeds of 120 mph.
Our aluminum flagpoles are extruded pipe or tube, and must be produced in accordance with government standard ASTM B241, "Aluminum Alloy Seamless Pipe and Seamless Extruded Tube." Most of these poles are aged, or hardened, by heat treating to produce a temper rating of T6, the hardest form of this alloy. This temper rating yields an astounding level of minimum stress at 25,000 pounds per square inch, and an allowable design stress for tubes of 18,000 pounds per square inch.
The wall thickness of the flagpole is the major factor in determining how strong a flagpole is, and how susceptible to wind it is. Furthermore, if you plan to erect your flagpole close to the ocean, the salty air may interact with an aluminum pole, whereas a fiberglass pole is not conducive to the corrosive nature of the salty environment. Fiberglass flagpoles should be strongly considered in regions with acidic rain and any immediate area surrounding a factory with substantial emissions, due to corrosion.
The installation site also will help you determine the proper flagpole. Residents of inner-city communities may wish keep their flagpole heights to a minimum. Taller flagpoles within a city may obstruct residents’ view of the city, or may interfere with utility wires. Generally speaking, if a municipality has a limit on the heights of its buildings, this restriction will also apply to flagpoles. Checking with your city or county planning department to verify your municipality’s requirements before deciding on the height of your flagpole is recommended. However, choosing a flagpole that is too short may limit the visibility or exposure you desired. Furthermore, flagpoles have limits to the size of flag which can be safely flown. For instance, a flagpole of 20 feet can only fly a five by eight foot flag safely. A flag of this size will obviously not be seen as far away as a 12 by 18 foot flag which can be safely flown on a 60 foot pole.
| Height of Flagpole
|| Minimum Flag Size
|| Maximum Flag Size
|15 ft||2.5ft x 4ft||4ft x 6ft|
|20 ft||3ft x 5ft||5ft x 8ft|
|25 ft||3ft x 5ft||5ft x 8ft|
|30 ft||4ft x 6ft||6ft x 10ft|
|40 ft||5ft x 8ft||8ft x 12ft|
|50 ft||6ft x 10ft||10ft x 15ft|
|50 ft||6ft x 10ft||10ft x 15ft|
|60 ft||8ft x 12ft||12ft x 18ft|
|70 ft||10ft x 15ft||15ft x 25ft|
|80 ft||10ft x 19ft||20ft x 30ft|
Line of sight is yet another consideration within your property. A flag should be visible from where the majority of people will see it. If most of the people who will view your flagpole will be driving down your street, then go out to the street and try to visualize how you will want your flagpole to be seen. A further word of caution here, please check with your local municipality as to the proximity requirements for erecting a flagpole next to a street.
If you live in a rural area, a taller flagpole may be necessary. Once again, go to where your flagpole will be viewed from most often and try to envision how you want your flagpole to appear to motorists or community residents.
Flagpoles are purchased to serve a particular function. Organizations such as car dealerships, government buildings, colleges or universities, or even professional organizations like a sports franchise will want their flagpole to make a statement. Even some rural areas are good environments for larger flagpoles ranging from 50 to over 100 feet tall. A flagpole to be installed at one of these locations should be a prominent fixture and will need to be tall and sturdy. Flagpoles purchased for a warehouse, a private office building, or even some rural homes will need to integrate into their environment more than a statement pole. These types of poles will typically range from 30 to 50 feet depending on the other factors. Other locations may even need a smaller flagpole. Most urban homes, office buildings with multiple poles, and extremely wind prone areas may want to have a smaller, more functional pole. Flagpoles that are to be installed in such areas are usually less than 30 feet tall.
After deciding what height and composition your flagpole should be, next you need to figure out what features your flagpole should have. Today flagpoles are fitted with two types of rope, or halyard to fly your flag. An external halyard is a rope looped up over a pulley system, called a truck. To fly a flag, you simply attach the flag to the halyard and pull the end of the rope down from the pulley, which in turn, raises the flag. Once the flag has reached the top you simply tie the halyard to a cleat, which holds it in place so your flag will remain at the top of your flagpole. The biggest drawbacks to an external halyard system are weather and vandalism.
External halyards are typically polypropylene rope, which in time will corrode from the elements, and will need to be replaced. Additionally, an external halyard is susceptible to vandalism. Anyone who can reach the cleat, which is mounted around four or five feet from the base of the pole, can cut the halyard, or lower your flag and steal it. An internal halyard is a safer and more weather resistant alternative, although more expensive. An internal halyard is contained within the flagpole. A crank is located inside a lockable box approximately 4 feet from the base of the flagpole. To lower your flag, you simply turn the crank to allow the steel wire (not rope like the external halyard) to rise up to the truck. This wire is looped over the pulley and then falls on the outside of the pole to hold the flag. As the wire is raised, the flag is lowered on the outside of the pole. The only drawback with this system is the difficulty in changing the halyard if it breaks, but a steel wire should not break in your lifetime.
The last choice to be made is cosmetic. Fiberglass flagpoles can be gel coated to be virtually any color. You may want to select a dramatic color that will stand out, or your selection may match the siding on your house, depending upon your desired flagpole function. Aluminum flagpoles generally come standard with a satin or brushed finish. The finish is slightly susceptible to the elements, and may need to be cleaned with special chemicals. A process called anodization is used to coat the flagpoles with a color if you desire an alternative. Because anodization is a chemical reaction, the range of color options is quite small from gold to dark bronze. These colors are beneficial however. The reaction actually creates a layer on the exterior of the aluminum pole, which will protect the aluminum from any corrosion, as there is no aluminum on the surface of the pole. Flagpoles colored through anodization typically can be cleaned with soap and water.
As you can see, choosing the correct flagpole to fit your needs should be a decision reached through good planning. Taking into account the factors we have mentioned here should help you to determine the proper flagpole for your location and preferences, or at least give you an idea of which flagpoles you should consider.
Flagpoles up to a total length of 38.5 ft. are manufactured in one piece.
Any flagpole exceeding this overall height is typically split into two or more sections. They are fitted with a self-aligning sleeve which requires no welding and upon proper assembly will only have a hair line joint.