When properly installed, a tall commercial flagpole makes an impressive statement in front of any public building, business, or organization. Choosing the right location and going through the proper installation steps takes some work, but it’s worth it to fly your flags with pride. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process in detail, from selecting the perfect location, to digging an adequate foundation, to raising the flags sky high on your finished flag pole structure.
First, Do You Need Professional Help?
Installing a flagpole isn't rocket science but there are limitations to what you can do without professional help and it's good to understand your specific situation before breaking ground. We recommend getting professional flagpole installation help for any flagpole taller than 25' so if that's you, start looking for a contractor and sign company to assist in your installation.
Select the Location
Determining a thorough plan for your future flagpole requires contemplation and analysis of the outdoor space. Above all, identify a flat spot with suitable clearance from electrical wires, trees, buildings and other structures. Consult your city’s specific zoning laws and building codes to determine any restrictions like required setbacks, preventative lighting directives, or maximum height limitations for your property. Check with your power company to ensure distance from power lines as well. You’ll want ample circumference clearance to take into account future landscaping plans or any possible construction of additions if applicable.
Before installing most permanent commercial flagpoles, you must also obtain permit applications through your municipality’s building department. Many areas require proficient stamping from a licensed structural engineer as well. Be prepared to submit detailed flagpole diagrams and dimensions plus your desired location clearly marked on site plans. Triple confirm your proposed placement meets all zoning ordnances including wind clearance requirements based on height. Once the plans are approved, you can move forward confidently knowing your positioning satisfies both legal and safety regulations.
Acquiring the Proper Equipment and Tools
Now it’s time for a major trip to the hardware store. Carefully take inventory of all necessary flagpole components and installation accessories you’ll need. Come equipped with a comprehensive checklist:
- Flagpole sections (pole, truck, finial ball, lighting)
- Pulleys, cables, snap hooks, block and tackle
- Foundation supplies - concrete, rebar, sleeve
- Excavation tools - post hole digger, tapered shovel, pick axe, manual pole tamper
- Leveling tools - 4 foot level, 2 foot level, plumb line with weight
- Assorted wrenches, vise grips, sleever hammer, power drill
- Lifting equipment - crane, gin pole, come-along, blocks
Having all equipment, accessories, and safety tools clearly laid out before starting will streamline the process and prevent unexpected delays or disasters. Don’t take shortcuts by trying to merely rent certain equipment on demand later. Compiling everything ahead of time is wise preparation for smooth sailing installing your flag pole from start to finish.
Installing the All Important Foundation
As repetitive emphasis will indicate, the unseen foundation underground provides the most vital structural component in permanently mounting vertical poles. This involves extensive digging, precisely installing the anchor bolt reinforced concrete foundation sleeve, then mixing ample concrete to pour the circular footer.
Digging the Hole - Use a tapered shovel initially for quick removal of grass and topsoil. Then shift to a post hole digger for digging a neat, uniform hole. Girth should allow at least 3 feet depth and up to four times the pole's diameter in width. Create gradual slopes without uneven seams along the sides to avoid pressure points on the sleeve. Dig deep enough to allow for a minimum 12 inch gravel drainage base layer beneath the footer too. Remove all loose surrounding soil and debris.
Sleeve & Rebar Installation - Lower the oversized steel anchor bolt foundation sleeve centered perfectly into the hole with at least 4 inches protruding above ground. Delicately backfill underneath using gravel to keep the sleeve completely plumb in all directions. Drop a plumb line or level against opposite sides checking for perfect 90 degree angles. Next place rebar inside the sleeve cavity for concrete reinforcement before pouring.
Concrete Pouring - Mix plenty of dry concrete to entirely fill the hole and sleeve while still allowing ample room for internal rebar latticework and anchor bolts. Carefully pour concrete in 6 inch lifts, gently tamping each layer with a rod to gradually pack while reducing air pockets before finally coming flush with natural grade after ample curing time when soil is tightly packed around the exposed neck.
Assembling Sections and Raising the Finished Pole
Now the visible flagpole gets assembled by stacking sections and connecting hardware. Use proper techniques to safely raise the finished multi-section pole vertically either manually for shorter heights or via mechanical lift for taller commercial sizes.
Assembling on the Ground - Arrange aluminum flag pole sections parallel on protective drop cloths alongside the concrete footer. Use vice grips and pipe wrenches to incrementally hand tighten the joining sleeves of each section while carefully aligning their spin direction for proper pole rotations. Inside the truck spindle, string the brake cable through aligned openings top to bottom, securing snap hooks on the opposite end. Confirm smooth 360 degree truck rotation under ball bearings before raising the whole assembly.
Raising & Plumbing - With enough people or mechanical advantage from pull ropes and a gin pole, slowly elevate the base pole section centered into the anchored sleeve, finial point facing skyward. Gradually add mid sections one by one while monitoring balance and alignment. Check level and plumb again periodically to correct deviations before packing tightly with sand stabilizing mix.
Finalizing Installation for a Permanent Flag Pole
Once fully cured and compression tightened, pull testing confirms an immobile flagpole ready for adding functional components top-to-bottom. Ensure smooth system operations under your hanging pulley mechanism, rope, and flags.
Complete Mounting - Wrench down the sleeve’s clamping bolts into the sunken foundation neck to take tension off the towering top sections. This transfers lateral and shear forces along the length of the pole for stability. Next lash off the internal cables at the truck lines using the turnbuckle to keep taut. String the external halyard through truck pulleys finishing with stout knots inside the bronze cleat jaws.
Trial Run - Check all fittings under weight of rope and flags. Clip on a sand bag near the truck equal to the flap force pressure of your intended flags. Hoist up and down to simulate flying conditions. By properly installing your commercial flagpole following these guidelines, you’ll maximize enduring structural integrity for prominently flying symbolic flags for decades to come.
Ongoing Flag Pole Maintenance
Check the brake and snap cables after 30 days under windy duress for taughtness. Occasionally grease rotative truck components if not originally equipped with lifetime lubricated bearings. Routinely confirm halyard tie offs to replace worn ropes before they snap or fail. Take pride of ownership in your professional flag display by properly maintaining the working parts within your towering flagpole.