Installing a flagpole is a job that a couple of people can accomplish in just one weekend. The first order of business is to determine what type of flagpole will work best with your needs. While wood is a popular choice -- and has long been the traditional one -- today you can chose from fiberglass, standard aluminum and telescoping aluminum. Each one has its own benefits that should be carefully considered before you make your choice and move on to the actual flagpole installation.
*Our Flag flagpole installation guide has detailed information on flagpole installation complete with a full list of tools and pictures for each step.
Step 1: Call DigSafe
Once you’ve chosen your flagpole and location, it’s time to dig the hole. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the law requires that you call DigSafe before you break ground. DigSafe is a free service that lets you know if it’s a safe spot to excavate. Visit http://www.digsafe.com to learn more about their service. Other states have similar organizations and services.
Step 2: Dig Foundation Hole & Set the Pole Sleeve:
The dimensions of a flagpole foundation are directly related to the height of the pole. For every 10’ in pole height you must dig 1’ in depth, width, and length, i.e. 1 cubic foot. For example, the foundation for a 30’ pole must be 3’ deep, by 3’ wide, and 3’ long. While digging the hole be sure to set aside any larger-sized stones for use later in leveling the pole sleeve. Once the hole is dug to size, throw a small amount of gravel and sand into the base for drainage. Set the sonotube/ pole sleeve in the center of the hole.
Next, you’ll need to level the sleeve to make sure the sides are plumb. Keeping the sleeve level, place the stones gathered earlier around the outside cavity of the sleeve. This step provides additional support when it comes time to pour the concrete foundation. Now that the sonotube/pole sleeve is sitting securely inside the hole it’s time to mix the Quikrete. Follow the directions on the packaging, and when ready, pour the Quikrete around the pole sleeve. While pouring, use the level to make sure the pole sleeve stays plumb. This step is crucial. Any unevenness will result in a tilting pole. Continue to pour the concrete around the pole sleeve until the hole is filled to about one inch from the top. After ensuring again that the pole sleeve is level, let the concrete dry for a minimum of 24 hours. On the following day, fill the exposed edges around the sonotube/pole sleeve with earth to make the foundation flush with the lawn
Step 3: Unwrap Flagpole and Attach Hardware
Now that the pole sleeve is cemented into place it’s time to unwrap your newly-purchased flagpole and its accompanying hardware. Take out the hardware and start by mounting the “truck” to the top of the flagpole. The truck is the piece of hardware that is affixed to the top of the flagpole through which the rope/halyard is threaded. It acts as a pulley when raising the flag.
With the truck in place attach, an ornament to it’s top in the threaded hole provided. You may need to purchase this the ornament separately. Typically, flagpole ornaments are gold balls or flying eagles. *Side note: Eagle ornaments have been known to damage flags if the flyend gets caught up in the wings. You may be better off choosing a ball ornament or other smoothed surface option.
Included in an external halyard flagpole setup will be a cleat, which mounts to the side of the pole. You’ll want to attach the cleat firmly as it is used to secure the rope/halyard to the flagpole.
Step 4: Attach the Rope/Halyard and Thread Through the Truck
Once the hardware is mounted to the pole, unwrap the rope/halyard and thread it through the truck
(pictured to the right).
At this point you’ll want to tie the two ends of rope together. You’ll need a tight connection. Use a square knot or other self-tightening knot. Wrap the knot with electrical tape to smooth it out and add extra reinforcement. Before you continue to the next step, slide the “collar” or metal ground base halfway up the pole. You can use the rope provided to tie the collar to the cleat while standing the pole.
Step 5: Raise the Flagpole!
Depending on the size and material of the flagpole that you’ve chosen, you may need a crane or bucket truck to lift the pole into place. Typically any pole over 25ft. requires a crane or utility vehicle to help lift it. (When ordering your pole, ask about its weight. This will give you an idea of what you’ll need to raise it.) While holding the flagpole base into the sonotube/pole sleeve, lift the top half of the flagpole. Once high enough the pole should slide into place. Some smaller poles can be installed by “walking them up” until the flagpole base falls into the sleeve. While doing so, be sure to have a second person hold the base into position. With the pole finally upright check to be sure it is plumb using wooden shims inside the pole sleeve to keep it in position. Add dry sand in the space between the pole and the sleeve. As the sleeve fills, tap lightly on the pole to help the sand disperse evenly around the pole. Repeat this process until the sand has filled the sleeve completely. At this point you can pull out the wooden shims and lower the collar or metal ground base to cover the hole. Take care not to scratch the pole with the collar on the way down. Now that the flagpole is in place, snap hooks need to be attached on either side of the taped square knot. Be sure to space the snap hooks to coincide with the grommets on your flag. Thread a small loop of rope/halyard through the bottom ring of Step 4: Attach the Rope/Halyard and Thread Through the Truck Once the hardware is mounted to the pole, unwrap the rope/halyard and thread it through the truck (pictured to the right). At this point you’ll want to tie the two ends of rope together. You’ll need a tight connection. Use a square knot or other self-tightening knot. Wrap the knot with electrical tape to smooth it out and add extra reinforcement. Before you continue to the next step, slide the “collar” or metal ground base halfway up the pole. You can use the rope provided to tie the collar to the cleat while standing the pole. the snap hook. Then push the snap end of the hook through the rope/halyard loop and pull the rope/halyard tight. At last, attach your flag and hoist it with pride.
Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a beautiful new flag and flagpole.