If you want to show off your patriotism and love for America, your respect for the military, or support for another cause, there's no better way to do it than to have a flag flying proudly in your yard.
Before you do that, you’ll need to install a flagpole in a suitable location. While your first thought might be that you need to call in the professionals, a flagpole installation can be a fun weekend project to undertake with friends or family members. You might even be able to do it over a single afternoon, but for this guide, we'll assume you're taking a couple of days.
Here’s how to do it.
What You Need to Install a Flagpole
If you don't have these, ask a friend or hit the DIY store before you start.
- 1-inch auger bit, 12-inches long
- Aluminum flash collar (optional)
- Battery-powered drill
- Duct tape
- Flathead screwdriver
- Hardwood wedges
- Level at least two feet long
- Long crowbar
- Post hole digger
- Tamped stone and dry-tamped sand*
- Tape measure
- Water and water hose
- Wrench set, including a large adjustable wrench
*For a 30-foot flagpole, we’d use 2 x 50lb bags of sand and 12 x 80lb bags of Quikrete.
Now, onto the installation!
1. Choose a Suitable Flagpole and Location
First, decide where your new flagpole will go. Depending on whether it's going in your front or rear yard, a grassy spot by your door is an ideal location. Remember to double-check that where you plan to dig your foundation isn't going to take you down to pipework or underground wires.
Assuming you're good to dig where you'd like to, the next step is to put together a mock-up. Use a PVC pipe as the "flagpole," and have your flag on hand to attach to it. Get a friend or family member to hold it in place and go and stand opposite and a little further down the street, so you get an idea of how it will look.
Finally, you'll need to choose the flagpole itself. Opt for a one-piece aluminum flagpole if you're in a particularly windy location or aren't limited by budget. Choosing a telescoping flagpole is a good idea in less windy areas and will also make it easy for you to swap or remove your flag should you wish to for any reason.
A helpful rule of thumb for choosing the height of your flagpole is:
- If you live in a single-story building, you need a flagpole of 18 to 25 feet
- For two-story buildings, you need a flagpole of 25 to 30 feet
- For a three-story building, you need a flagpole of 30 to 40 feet
Our 30- and 35-feet flagpoles come with a corrugated steel sleeve and lightning spike, making installation easier.
Assuming you're doing this over a weekend, you'll need to dig your foundation hole on day one. Your hole needs to be deep and wide enough so you can:
- Install your foundation sleeve
- Pour concrete around the foundation sleeve to secure it
Your hole should taper toward the bottom, so it's around a third narrower than the top.
If you’re installing a flagpole shorter than 30 feet, you now need to add around six inches of tamped stone. Add more or less depending on the height of the foundation sleeve; the end result needs to be that your sleeve sits around two inches above the surface level. Next, you'll need your helper to hold the foundation sleeve in place. Cover the top with duct tape, ensure it's level, and then add the concrete around it a little at a time, ensuring the foundation sleeve is level at all times. Fill the hole and ensure the top is smooth. Leave the concrete to set.
If you’re installing a 30- or 35-foot flagpole, your foundation sleeve will have a spike. Use the auger bit to drill a hole, and you can go ahead and place your sleeve spike and sleeve into this without adding the stone.
You can also check out our video guide to installing a 30-foot flagpole
3. Install the Lower Part of Your Flagpole
With your concrete set, you’re almost there!
If you have a multi-piece flagpole, the next step is to place the lower part of your flagpole into your foundation sleeve.
Use your level to ensure this is standing 90 degrees to the ground, and use the hardwood wedges to secure it. Pour the sand slowly into the hole, checking that the flagpole is level as you go. Tamper the sand down as you go, so it's packed as tightly as possible. When you're around an inch from the top, remove the wooden wedges but continue adding sand until you've reached the top of the sleeve. Then, add silicone caulk across the top to create a waterproof seal to prevent your sand from getting wet.
If you have a flash collar, install it now.
If you have a single-piece flagpole, skip to the next step, then come back and follow the instructions for a multi-piece flagpole. For 30-foot flagpoles, you may need more than one helper! Rest your flagpole on a couple of bags of sand to create a pivot and make it easier to walk your flagpole into the foundation sleeve.
For larger flagpoles, the foundation sleeve will have guides at the bottom to help you position it in the center.
With a single-piece flagpole, you're done after jumping to step four and then coming back here. Great job!
4. Attach Everything to the Upper Flagpole
If you’re installing a multi-piece flagpole, you’re almost there!
Next, attach the spun ball, cleat, and other parts to the appropriate locations on the flagpole using the tools and pieces provided.
If you have a three-piece flagpole, put the upper sections together at this stage so you can easily do the final part of the installation.
5. Install the Flagpole
Finally, lift the upper part of the flagpole onto the lower section you’ve already secured in the ground. Use the bolts and fixings in your flagpole pack to secure your flagpole.
Then all that’s left to do is attach your flag, grab a drink, and admire your work!
6. Final Tips for Your Flagpole Installation
As well as following this guide, keep the following in mind when installing your flagpole:
- Aim to do it over a calm and sunny weekend. Installing a flagpole in the wind is a bad idea and not particularly fun or safe.
- Keep your flagpole in its shipping container until you're ready to install it. Don't leave it lying on the ground or standing against the wall. The last thing you want is a damaged flagpole!
- Follow the instructions! Granted, installing a flagpole is probably more straightforward than building your average piece of flat-pack furniture, but that doesn't mean you should just go and do it. Following the instructions means you'll get it right and avoid problems with your flagpole installation. Have this guide or our video open on your phone while you’re doing it!