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Commercial Flagpole Buying Guide

Displaying a flag on a commercial or residential flagpole enhances any property, creating a sense of pride and attracting attention. Whether showcasing a single U.S. flag or a combination of the American flag with state, custom, or military flags, a flagpole display makes a significant impact at business entrances or residential properties.

FlagDesk offers a diverse range of commercial-grade aluminum flagpoles suitable for businesses, municipalities, places of worship, and residential use. To assist in selecting the right flagpole, FlagDesk provides the Flagpole Finder tool, which helps identify the best aluminum flagpole based on your property's needs. This includes factors such as pole height and wind speed requirements.

If you have questions about purchasing a commercial flagpole or setting up your flagpole display, feel free to contact FlagDesk at (800) 526-8183 or email us at

Choosing the right flagpole may seem overwhelming, but FlagDesk's Flagpole Finder simplifies the process, ensuring you select the appropriate flagpole without over- or under-buying. Here's a guide to help you navigate the aluminum flagpole buying process:

  1. Flagpole Location & Height
  2. Flagpole Wind Speed Rating
  3. Flagpole Type – External vs. Internal Halyard
  4. Flagpole Finish
  5. Single vs. Multi-Piece Flagpoles
  6. Flagpole Delivery & Storage

1. Flagpole Location & Height

To start, choose the location and height for your flagpole. Ensure there's sufficient space for the flag to fly freely without obstruction from buildings, trees, or utility lines. Flags can wear out quickly if they hit obstacles. Allow clearance equal to the length of the longest flag you plan to fly, plus several extra feet from any nearby obstructions.

Check local ordinances for restrictions on flagpole height and location, as well as permitting requirements. Typical residential flagpole heights are 20 ft, 25 ft, or 30 ft, often aligning with or just above the height of the house roof when viewed from the street. Consider how the flagpole's location enhances the site's entrance or highlights the property. Ensure the flagpole is visible from multiple directions and avoids visual obstructions, such as trees, along the road, entrance, or driveway. Aim to place the flagpole in a location that complements the building or house, possibly centering it between windows or other features.

For businesses or larger properties, multiple flagpoles may be needed. When installing two or three commercial flagpoles, ensure adequate spacing between them to allow flags to fly freely without interference. Avoid placing flagpoles too close together to prevent obstruction during windy conditions.

Businesses with larger or more open spaces may opt for flagpoles up to 40 ft, 50 ft, 60 ft, or even 100 ft tall. Higher flagpoles can be more costly, both in terms of the flagpole itself and the installation materials. For example, installing a 35 ft or taller flagpole requires heavy equipment and additional resources.

2. Flagpole Wind Speed Rating

Once you've determined the flagpole height, the next step is to identify the maximum wind speed expected in your area, such as 90 mph. Local ordinances may also specify wind load requirements, especially for commercial projects.

FlagDesk's Flagpole Finder tool can assist you in determining the appropriate wind speed rating for your location. It provides a reproduction of the wind speed map published by the National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers (NAAMM), which shows wind zones across the U.S. This ANSI/NAAMM map helps you select the right butt diameter (e.g., 6") and wall thickness (e.g., 3/16" or 0.188") to meet or exceed the wind speed requirements for your flagpole's location.

A thicker wall thickness increases the flagpole's strength and wind rating but also raises the cost and weight. The Flagpole Finder tool allows you to compare different models to find the best balance between cost, strength, and wind resistance.

3. Flagpole Type – External vs. Internal Halyard

When selecting a flagpole, the third step is to choose the type of halyard system that will be used to raise and lower the flag. There are two primary options: External Halyard and Internal Halyard systems.

External Halyard Flagpoles:
  • Description: In External Halyard flagpoles, the rope halyard is positioned on the outside of the flagpole. It runs through a pulley at the top and is secured by an external cleat, typically mounted about 4-1/2 feet above grade. This setup allows for easy operation and adjustment of the flag, including raising or lowering it to half-mast.
  • Cost: These flagpoles are the most economical option and are popular for both residential and commercial projects.
  • Height Range: External Halyard flagpoles typically range from 20 ft to 80 ft.
Internal Halyard Flagpoles:
  • Description: Internal Halyard flagpoles feature a concealed rope or wire halyard inside the flagpole shaft, with a lockable access door for secure operation. The halyard travels up through the flagpole truck at the top.
    • Cam Cleat Systems: These use a rope halyard secured by a cam-action cleat. Cam Cleat flagpoles are known for their streamlined appearance and added security but are more expensive due to the additional components, such as the access door, cam cleat, retainer ring, counterweight, and internal halyard truck. Cam Cleat flagpoles are available up to 40 ft in height.
    • Winch Systems: These use stainless-steel cable and a gear-driven winch for operation. Winch System flagpoles are often used in commercial applications due to their higher cost and complexity, which includes components like the winch, retainer ring, counterweight, internal truck, and flag arrangement. Winch System flagpoles are available from 20 ft to 100 ft.

Choosing between these types depends on factors such as budget, desired security level, and the flagpole's intended use. External Halyard flagpoles are cost-effective and suitable for most needs, while Internal Halyard flagpoles offer enhanced security and a more polished look, with Cam Cleat and Winch Systems providing additional functionality for larger or more demanding applications.

4. Flagpole Finish

After selecting the flagpole type, height, butt diameter, and wall thickness, the final step is to choose the flagpole finish (color). Your choice may also be influenced by your budget.

  • Satin Aluminum: This is the most affordable finish, featuring bare brushed aluminum with a shiny appearance. While it is cost-effective, a Satin finish may fade or dull over time.
  • Anodized Finish: Anodized finishes are more durable and maintain a consistent color for many years. They come in options like clear anodized, dark bronze anodized, and black anodized. Although these finishes are more expensive, they offer long-lasting protection and color stability.
  • Powder Coat Finish: Slightly less expensive than anodized finishes, powder coat finishes provide good durability and a variety of color options, including Bronzetone, Black, Clear, and White Powder Coat. Powder coating is known for its resilience and can be a good middle-ground choice between cost and durability.

Keep in mind that both anodized and powder-coated finishes may require longer fabrication times compared to the Satin Aluminum finish. Consider your budget and desired finish durability when making your selection.

5. Single vs. Multi-Piece Flagpoles

When considering flagpoles such as a 30 ft, 35 ft, or 40 ft model, it’s important to evaluate whether a single-piece or multi-piece flagpole is more suitable for your needs.

  • Single-Piece Flagpoles:
    • Description: A one-section flagpole of these heights will be longer in total length due to the portion buried below grade in the ground sleeve. For instance, a 40 ft flagpole is 44 ft in total length, a 35 ft flagpole is 38'-6" long, and a 30 ft flagpole is 33 ft long.
    • Considerations: Single-piece flagpoles can be more expensive to ship, as they require a long bed semi-truck with limited availability. They can also be more challenging to handle and store due to their length.
  • Multi-Piece Flagpoles:
    • Description: Multi-piece flagpoles, often available in two sections for heights like 30 ft, 35 ft, and 40 ft, offer several advantages. They are easier to store, handle, and deliver since they can fit on a 'pup truck,' which is more commonly available than a long bed semi-truck.
    • Considerations: While a two-piece flagpole might have a slightly higher initial cost, it may provide benefits such as reduced shipping time and easier onsite handling and storage. Flagpoles taller than 40 ft, such as 45 ft, 50 ft, and 60 ft models, typically come in multiple sections by default.

Choosing between a single-piece and multi-piece flagpole will depend on factors like shipping logistics, handling capabilities, and budget considerations. Multi-piece flagpoles can simplify delivery and installation, making them a practical choice for many applications.

6. Flagpole Delivery & Storage

Ensuring proper delivery and storage of your flagpole is crucial to maintaining its quality and appearance.

  • Unloading: Commercial flagpoles can typically be unloaded by hand with the help of two people. Avoid using forklifts or other lifting machinery, as they can potentially damage the flagpole, such as by causing dents from excessive pressure.
  • Inspection: Upon delivery, inspect the flagpole immediately. Check for any damage to both the carton and the flagpole itself. Take photos of any damage and document it with the LTL driver. This documentation should be sent to the flagpole fabricator for review. Verify that all components, including the ground sleeve, are received with the flagpole shaft.
  • Indoor Storage: If possible, store the flagpole indoors to protect it from weather conditions. This is the best option for maintaining its condition.
  • Outdoor Storage: If indoor storage is not feasible and the flagpole must be stored outside, remove it from the carton tubing and paper wrapping. Store the flagpole elevated on sawhorses and cover it with plastic or a tarp to shield it from the elements.
  • Avoid Moisture: Ensure that the flagpole carton does not get wet. Moisture can cause the dye from the carton to stain the flagpole, particularly with satin aluminum finishes. It is advisable to remove the carton upon delivery to prevent these issues.

Proper handling during delivery and appropriate storage practices will help ensure that your flagpole remains in excellent condition.