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Commercial Flagpole Buying Guide

People love to see a flag display on a commercial flagpole or residential flagpole. Flying an American made flag on an American flagpole creates a sense of pride and enthusiasm. It can be a single U.S. flag flying solo, or the American flag combined with a state flag, custom flag, or military flag. All will fly in the wind to draw attention to a commercial flagpole display and the surrounding property. Know that a flagpole display will enhance any entrance to a business or accent a residential property.

FlagDesk has a wide selection of commercial grade aluminum flagpoles for sale for businesses, municipalities, places of worship or residential use. More importantly, FlagDesk has tools such as our Flagpole Finder to help you identify the appropriate aluminum flagpole to buy for your property. Whether it is a heavy-duty commercial grade flag pole for a business, or a quality residential flag pole for the estate, home or cottage, FlagDesk's Flagpole Finder can help narrow your choices per your flagpole specifications, such as height or wind speed for your area (specifications are explained further in our flagpole buying process below). If you have any questions on how to buy a commercial flagpole, or how to set up your flagpole display, contact FlagDesk at 1(800) 526-8183 or email us at support@flagdesk.com.

Selecting a commercial flagpole for a business or a residential flagpole for the front of a house may seem daunting, but don't be overwhelmed! Using FlagDesk's Flagpole Finder and following these steps will simplify the process and help you not under or over buy. We will explain the aspects in how to buy an aluminum flagpole:

  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

The first step is to determine the flagpole location and height. There needs to be enough space for the flag to fly freely and not be obstructed, i.e. not hit a building, house, trees or utility lines. Flags can wear very quickly if they are hitting another object. Clearance should be the length of the longest flag you intend to fly, plus several feet from nearest obstruction.

Local ordinances in your area may dictate restrictions on flagpole height and location. Be sure to check, along with permitting requirements. The most common heights for residences are a 20 ft flagpole, a 25 ft flagpole, or a 30 ft flagpole, to align and crest just to the house roof height as viewed from the street at car level. Also consider the location of the flagpole in relation to the building or house. Does the flag pole location enhance the site entrance or artfully draw attention to the property? Also, identify any visual obstructions, such as trees, from both up and down the frontage road, entrance, or driveway. Ideally, the display should be visible from multiple directions. Look for a window to use to center the flagpole or maybe center between two windows or other feature that bringing the look together with the building or house.

Some businesses (Municipal, Veteran, or Headquarter buildings) may want to install two or three commercial flagpoles to fly multiple flags (American flag, state flag, custom flag, or military flag). When installing more than one flagpole, spacing needs to consider flag length, and height differential of each flagpole to ensure that the flags will fly freely. A common mistake is putting flagpoles too close together. We have advised many customers to increase the distance between flagpoles so there is no obstruction during turbulent flag flying.

Businesses with taller builders and more open properties may consider a 40 ft flagpole, 50 ft flagpole, 60 ft flagpole or even up to 100 ft flagpole. Budget may be another consideration for height; cost will increase with height in both the flagpole itself as well as the installation/materials costs. For example, heavy equipment will be required to install a 35 ft flagpole, and flagpole heights above 35'.

2. Flagpole Wind Speed Rating

After determining the height of the flagpole, the second step is to identify the maximum wind speed for your area, such as 90 mph. Keep in mind that local ordinances may also dictate what the wind load requirements are, particularly for commercial construction projects.

FlagDesk's Flagpole Finder can help you determine the wind speed for your area. The Flagpole Finder displays a reproduction of the wind speed map published by The National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacters' (NAAMM). This ANSI/NAAMM map shows the wind zones across the U.S. It will help you determine which options for butt diameter size (i.e. 6") and wall thickness (thickness of the flagpole shaft, i.e. 3/16" or .188") that will meet or exceed the required wind speeds where the flagpole is to be located. The thicker the wall thickness, the stronger the flagpole, thus higher wind rating. However, a thicker wall thickness does increase the cost and flagpole weight. Flagpole Finder helps you compare and come to the best choice for model, cost, and strength.

3. Flagpole Type – External vs. Internal Halyard

The third step when choosing a flagpole is to consider the halyard system that raises and lowers the flag. External Halyard flagpoles place the rope halyard on the outside of the flagpole. Internal Halyard flagpoles (i.e. Cam Cleat or Winch System flagpoles) conceal the rope or wire halyard inside the flagpole shaft.

If budget is a concern, External Halyard flagpoles are the most popular for both residential flagpole projects and commercial flagpole projects. These flagpoles are the least expensive commercial flagpole option. The rope is exposed on the outside of the flagpole and travels through a pulley mounted at the top of the flagpole. An external cleat completes the rigging allowing the halyard to be tied off at about 4-1/2 ft. above grade. This enables ease of operation allowing the flag to be displayed and move up and/or down as required, such as half-mast observance. External Halyard flagpoles range in height from 20 ft to 80 ft.

Internal Halyard flagpoles have a streamlined look and added security with a lockable access door. The rope or wire halyard is inside the flagpole shaft and travels up and out of the flagpole truck at the top of the flagpole. The rigging is accessible and controlled by unlocking an access door. Cam Cleat flagpoles use rope halyard which is secured in place by a cam-action cleat. Winch System flagpoles use stainless-steel cable secured by a winch mounted inside the flagpole's access door.

Cam Cleat flagpoles are more expensive than External Halyard flagpoles as they require upgraded hardware and additional fabrication time to produce. Some of the additional components includes the access door, cam action cleat to hold the rope halyard, a retainer ring, a counter weight, and an internal halyard truck. Cam cleat flagpoles only go up to 40 ft in height.

Winch System flagpoles, with wire cable inside the flagpole and operated with a gearless winch, are the more expensive models. Winch System flagpoles are often selected for commercial applications: businesses, municipalities / government. Winch System flagpoles have more components such as a winch, retainer ring, counterweight, internal flagpole truck, and flag arrangement to hang the flag, and thus have a higher cost. Winch System flagpoles are available from 20 ft to 100 ft.

4. Flagpole Finish

Now that you have navigated the Flagpole Finder and have decided the flagpole type, height, butt diameter and wall thickness, the last step to consider is the flagpole finish (color). Again, budget may be a consideration here. The most common finish is Satin Aluminum (least expensive) which is bare brushed aluminum and has a shiny appearance. A Satin finish will fade or somewhat dull over time. Anodized flagpole finishes cost more but help keep a consistent color and durable finish for many years. We offer flagpole finishes in clear anodized, dark bronze anodized or black anodized. Another option is a powder coat finish, which is slightly less expensive than an anodized flagpole finish. Colors for powder coat finish include Bronzetone, Black, Clear and White Powder Coat. Anodized or powdercoated finishes have longer fabrication times.

5. Single vs. Multi-Piece Flagpoles

One final note about buying a 30 ft flagpole, 35 ft flagpole or 40 ft flagpole, is whether to consider a two-section flagpole. This may offer some advantages such as ease of storage, handling, and delivery. A one-section 40 ft flagpole is 44' in total length (that includes the 4' portion that goes below grade, into the ground sleeve). A one-section 30 ft flagpole is 33' total length and one-section 35' flagpole is 38'-6" in total length. Any of these one-section flagpoles may be more expensive to ship, difficult to handle and store, so we have a 2-piece option. Also, delivery time may be reduced with a two-section flagpole because the two-section flagpole can fit on a 'pup truck' (more carrier availability) vs. a long bed semi-truck (limited number of freight carriers will ship the long flagpoles). A two-section flagpole is slightly higher in cost, but it may be worth the cost to be able to store adequately at the job site or house and reduce the shipping time. Flagpoles above 40' (45 ft flagpole, 50 ft flagpole, 60 ft flagpole, etc.) come in multiple sections as standard.

6. Flagpole Delivery & Storage

The flagpole delivery process is also very important. Most commercial flagpoles can be unloaded from the truck with two people manually. It is not recommended to use forklifts or other lift machinery that may damage the flagpole. Even though it is a heavy-duty flagpole, we have seen this happen because the pressure from the forklift can dent the flagpole. The flagpole should be inspected immediately upon delivery. Photos should be taken of any damage to carton or flagpole itself and damage recorded with LTL driver. The photos will be sent to the flagpole fabricator for review. Make sure that the box of flagpole components and ground sleeve are received with the flagpole shaft.

Proper storage is equally important. If the flagpole must be stored, the best option is to store inside if feasible, bring it in out of the weather. If the flagpole is stored outside, remove it from carton tubing and paper wrapping, store above ground (on sawhorses) and cover with plastic or a tarp. The flagpole carton cannot be allowed to get wet because the dye from the carton can stain the flagpole, particularly satin aluminum flagpoles. It is recommended that the carton be removed at delivery.

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