House flag pole lenght

Discussion in 'Flag Poles' started by FoxValleyMike, May 7, 2018.

  1. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    Hey guys, been lurking for a few weeks and decided to join. My interest in flags has recently been rekindled when I hung some flags from the ceiling in my garage. I recently decided to start displaying my flag again on the house (for a variety of reasons, but anyway...). I also picked up a few (cheap) historic flags on ebay so I can change up what I display this summer.

    I have a cheap Annin starter kit, the flag is in decent shape still be the pole is bent at the bottom. Still usable but not ideal. I was looking at a new pole , and likely bracket since mine is loose and worn pretty well (it was on the house when we bought it). I was going to get a 1" pole ( I'm pretty well set on the bracket) but I can't decide on a 6 or 7 ft pole. It's going on my front porch columns and where the bracket is mounted there is no chance of it blowing into the gutters (it's a tall roof) but the flag is kinda close to the walkway. I'm not sure if the extra foot of lengthy will really make a difference.

    Is there other benefits to a 7ft pole? They're a bit more expensive but it's not a deal breaker. I'm looking at a spinning pole either way. Eventually I'll have two flags at the porch but first I need to redo some overgrown landscaping, so for now it's just one.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, Mike!

    "Spinning" (or "spinner") flagpoles for your home are usually 1" in diameter and come in three lengths" 5', 6', or 7'. Although some (very few) spinning flagpoles are "one-piece", most of them are "two-piece" poles where the bottom half (in the bracket) is static (non-spinning) and the top half spins freely on internally mounted ball bearings to prevent the Flag from furling (wrapping around) the flagpole. Assuming your house Flag is either 2½'x4' or 3'x5', I recommend using a 6' long spinning flagpole. It's kind of a "goldilocks" solution: The 5' one might be a little too short and the 7' might be a little too long, but the 6' one might be "just right".

    As an owner of several 7' spinning flagpoles that I've been using on an almost daily basis for the past 7 or 8 years, I can tell you the plusses and the BIG minus of owning and using them. I originally chose the 7' spinning flagpole because our "old" house had Flag-eating rain gutters. In the "PEANUTS" comic strip Charlie Brown had to deal with a kite-eating tree, but in the "real" world I had to deal with Flag-eating gutters. The 5' and 6' flagpoles were a little too short and allowed my house Flags (I usually fly at least two) to become breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my house's rain gutters. BUT... the 7' spinning flagpoles were just long enough to keep my Flags out of harm's way.

    There are three, perhaps four, ways that I could have used to avoid having my Flags being eaten by the gutters: (1) The angle of the flagpole bracket (I use 13-position adjustable cast-aluminum brackets) that holds the flagpole, (2) The height of the bracket's mounting relative to the gutters, (3) The length of the flagpole, and (4) the size of the Flag itself.

    Our "old" house had relatively low eaves and gutters so no matter the angle or height that the bracket was mounted helped solve the problem, so that left the two options of the length of the flagpole and the size of the Flag. I normally fly 3'x5' Flags, so that left the length of the flagpoles. In my case (and the circumstances), that left the final option of the length of the flagpoles. 5' and 6' flagpoles proved to be too short, but the 7' pole was long enough to keep my Flags from being dined on by my house's roof gutters.

    I found out (the hard way) about the main problem with using the longer 7' pole during a couple of windstorms we had here in the southern Willamette Valley. I use two-piece, 7' spinning flagpoles. In the wind, and especially in a HIGH wind, the flag acts as a "sail" on the end of the flagpole and provides some resistance to the wind, which causes additional pressure on the flagpole and bracket. The higher/faster the wind the more pressure on the flagpole and bracket. The longer the pole, the more pressure is applied to the that pole and its bracket. The "weak" point in the two-piece flagpole, which I found out about during the two wind storms, is at the joint where the two pieces connect. The two flagpoles that I was using at the time both got bent (slightly) right at the joint in the middle, which caused the poles to be "warped". Although they both still "spun" the warping did NOT allow them to do so "freely". I had to carefully (VERY carefully) apply enough pressure at the joint to straighten-out the poles, which worked well enough that I'm still using them today. Of course, now days, I pay more attention to the weather forecasts for our area, and when high winds (or inclement weather) is forecast, I don't fly my Flags during the inclement weather or windy conditions.

    Anyway, now that you've read my story, you can understand "WHY" I use 7' spinning flagpoles and WHY I recommend to folks (including you) why they should use 6' spinning flagpoles.

    BTW : I know you didn't ask about which kind of brackets to use... I STRONGLY recommend that folks should always use CAST METAL brackets and NOT use plastic or nylon ones. Cast metal brackets, aluminum, steel, or brass, always stand up better and longer than the cheaper plastic of nylon ones. Always! That was another discovery I made during those two wind storms we had. Although my two flagpole brackets looked almost identical, one was cast aluminum and the other one was some kind of plastic or nylon. The cast aluminum one made it through unscathed but the plastic one cracked and finally broke into two pieces which put my Flag on the ground, Needless to say, but I will, I was NOT happy! ALWAYS use CAST METAL flagpole brackets!

    I hope this helps!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  3. FoxValleyMike

    FoxValleyMike Member

    Robin that is very helpful information, thanks.

    My gutters and the eaves are about 12ft tall at the front door but the flag mount is right around 6ft so I don't have much concern at all about the gutters getting the flag. My bigger issue is the overgrown bush on the opposite side of the flag that is preventing me from having two flag out. It sounds like the 6ft pole will end up working perfect for my situation then. (probably why they seem to be the most common). I'm flying 3x5 flags mostly, occasionally a 2x3 flag as well.

    I was looking at a few different cast aluminum mounting brackets, one by Valley Forge and one by Evergreen, I think its just going to come down to price.

    Thanks for the advice!
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Mike!

    Since you've probably already thought about trimming back the overgrown bush I won't give you any advice about that.

    I normally fly two 3'x5' Flags (U.S. and State of Oregon) on my 7' spinning flagpoles. For "Half-Staffing" purposes, I fly the smaller 2'x3' Flags at "Half-Staff" on my poles by moving the flag-mounting rings (that hold the Flags on the poles) down so that the bottom ring is just above the joint where the upper (spinning) part is screwed into the lower (non-spinning) part of the flagpole. On the 7' poles BOTH halves are about 42" so the 2'x3' Flags are almost down to the true Half-Staff position and, I think, close enough to it to show my honorable intent. If I remember correctly, the 6' spinning poles are divided up with the upper (spinning) portion measuring about 40" and the lower (static) part at about 32", so that the lowered the 2'x3' Flags would be much closer to the true Half-Staff position on the poles.

    As far as I know, regardless of whose NAME is on the package, the vast majority of (if not all) cast metal (aluminum, steel, and brass) house flagpole brackets are imported, usually from China. So, usually the price of them might be more important than whose name is on the package, if you know what I mean.

    [ BTW : In case you didn't know, when you're flying your American Flag along with another Flag, the American Flag should always be on the viewers' left as they would see it. Another way of putting it is that the American Flag should be flown so that any other Flag flown along side of it should be to American Flag's "own left". Like if I was standing facing you and I had my RIGHT arm raised up, it would "look" to you like I was holding my LEFT arm up. ]

    Anyway, Good Luck with your project! Please keep us updated on your decisions & progress!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.

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