In this flag story, we take on an in-depth journey into installing a 20 ft. commercial aluminum flagpole with upgrades. From part 1 to part 7, we will remove an existing flagpole and check up on the flagpole after 21 months of flying the same flag!
On Flag Day, 2013, we set off not just to install a flagpole but help others do the same. These 6 tutorials have covered a wide range of topics. A quick read through would greatly help you plan and execute your job effectively. When we finished cutting the video together, it was over 30 minutes long! We decided this was too much information for one article or video. This has allowed us to get into more detail with each aspect of the flag flying process.
Today, we are looking at those final steps: Raising the flagpole into the sleeve, leveling the flagpole with sand, adding the snap hooks and covers, as well as raising the American flag.
Raising the flagpole
(Be careful when raising the flagpole. It can be easy to drop for the flagpole if you get impatient. Also, don't forget the flash collar!)
One of the most crucial stages to any flagpole project is taking the flagpole from laying on the ground to up-right in the air. Luckily, many flagpoles (30 ft tall or less) can be raised by walking the flagpole up with one or two people while a third person holds the base of the flagpole down into the foundation sleeve and helps guide the flagpole into the sleeve. In this case, we only needed two.
Level and set the flagpole
The flagpole is in the sleeve, but needs to be leveled. Here, you will need sand. It is recommended to not use a very fine sand. On the other hand, sand with rocks, or extremely wet sand will not work either. Center the flagpole to the hole, then use your hardwood wedges to keep the flagpole in place. Pour in a slight amount of sand so that the flagpole can move, but the sand keeps it from falling to a side. Use the level to get the flagpole perfectly plum. The flagpole is tapered, but the taper does not begin until 6 or 7 feet above ground. This way, you know the level will be correct.
Note: Level the pole at 90 degrees, use 4 hardwood wedges (one for each direction) to help carefully adjust the pole to make sure it is correct.
Fill sand the rest of the way and cut the top of the hardwood wedges flush with the sleeve. These wedges will stay in the foundation. Over time, they will rot away. But until the foundation sand has time to compact, they will act as a support to keep the flagpole in place, should there be an air pocket in the sand. Time to drop and calk the flash collar. Caulk the flash collar between the pole and collar. This is to prevent water from getting into the foundation. Water will eventually get into the foundation, the caulk acts as a regulator to prevent excess water from getting in.
Adding the snap hooks and covers
For this flagpole, your flag will have two (2) attachment points or two (2) snap hooks. One (1) snap will go above the knot and one (1) will go below the knot. Many people ask us, "Why put the knot up where the flag is and not out of site by the cleat?" 1) If the knot comes apart, the flag heading will act as the rope and keep the rope from coming off the pole and flag falling. 2) It is difficult to wrap the cleat with the knot int he way. You can't cleaning wrap the line.
The best way to attach the snap hooks and covers to the rope is to loop them onto the rope rather than tie them onto rope.This allows you to easily cinch the snaps up or down the halyard to fit the header. It also allows you to change the snap hooks without changing the halyard rope; you can add another set of snaps for a second flag.
Measure your flag
Measure the header of the flag and then mark the halyard with the similar measurement between the knot (aka 5x8' flag has a 5' header, measure 2-1/2' above and below the knot) on the halyard. This is where the snap hooks will be attached. You may need to adjust the hooks slightly.
Attach snap hooks and covers: Not all are the same
Pinch the rope through the small opening of the snap-hook cover and pull the loop through the snap hook cover. Similarly, pinch the halyard through the eyelet of the snap hook. Take the loop of the halyard from and pull it over the snap hook. Tighten the loop and push the cover up over the snap. Now you are ready to attach the snap to the grommet of your flag.
Raising the American Flag
Raising the flag for the first time on a traditional external halyard flagpole is a great experience. Take care to not let the flag touch the ground. It is helpful to have someone to help you. The flag should be raised firmly. Raise the flag all the way to the top and then back the flag off about 1 to 2" so that the top snap hook is not jammed into the pulley of the truck. The creases from the flag being folded will shake out over about a day or two. Happy flag flying!