Monday, October 20, 2014

We are interested in your flagpole success. This tutorial specifically covers installation of a cam cleat flagpole. Let's look at the flagpole in this video! Questions? Send us an email!

Black Anodized Commercial Aluminum 25 ft. Internal Cam Cleat Flagpole
  • Exposed Height: 25'
  • Butt Diameter: 5"
  • Top Diameter: 3"
  • Wall Thickness: 0.125"
  • Number of Sections: 1
  • Max. Wind Unflagged: 144 mph
  • Max. Wind Flagged: 104 mph
  • Suggested Flag Size: 5 x 8 ft.
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 113 lbs.
Features: Internal Halyard System, Lockable Access Door, Cam Cleat, Stationary Truck (Pulley) 


Quick Note on Internal VS. External: External flagpoles have fully exposed rope (halyard). This is the most common. Internal flagpoles have partially exposed rope. Most of the rope (halyard/cable) is on the inside of the flagpole. Basic advantages to internal halyard flagpoles, they are quieter, more secure, and have a more professional appearance - perfect for a business / home.

Black Anodized
Quick Note on Color: We are working with a black anodized flagpole. This means the flagpole shaft has been treated by a process called anodization. Anodizing the flagpole helps prevent staining and scratching. This keeps the flagpole looking beautiful for years. If you don't want a color, you can get a clear anodized flagpole which still has that brushed aluminum look / stays shiny.

Quick Note on Flagpole Dimensions: Flagpole dimensions help you determine if the flagpole you want is right for your weather. You may want a stronger flagpole if you fit one of these circumstances: you live on a coastal area, you want to fly more than one flag, you are installing your flagpole at greater elevation or more exposed area (i.e. building roof, hill top / open field).

Wind Zone Chart (Based on 3 second potential sustained bursts)

Tools for the job
Depending on your flagpole, you may need an assortment of tools and parts. Some components use Allen Keys while others use flat head bolts. It is important to be prepared. There will be several points on the job you do not want to stop mid-stream just because you are missing a tool. If you get your flagpole(s) from FlagDesk, we can tell you exactly what you will need to have on hand to get the job done right.

  • Concrete
  • Clear Silicone Caulk
  • Sand
  • Wedges
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tarp
  • Adjustable Crescent Wrench
  • Duct Tape
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • String
  • Knife
  • Old Coffee Can
  • Trowel
  • Hammer
  • Long Handled Shovel
  • Pike or Long Bar
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Spade
  • Levels
  • Socket Wrench Set
  • Sonotube / Form
  • Saw
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Screw Driver (Standard / Philips)
  • Allen Key Set
  • Work Gloves
  • Channel Locks or Plumbers Wrench

Preparing the hole dimensions and sleeve / pedestal depth
If you are using a pedestal, you can cut the sonotube to ~10" depth. It helps to make a guideline if you are cutting the tubing down by hand. Using a post or stake to mark the spot where your flagpole will go, use the sonotube to eye ball and mark the diameter of the top of the hole. We like to use screw drivers to stake  the sonotube as an outline for our initial dig. Spray paint or eyeball the surface if you choose.

Start digging with a spade. Go around the sonotube until you have a clear circle around the pedestal, deep enough to go thorugh the top soil ~4". Save some soil and the healthy grass to back fill around the pedestal later.

We are using an 18" diameter sonotube on this job for the pedestal.  The foundation sleeve (steel) is 8" in diameter and the flash collar to cover the foundation sleeve is 12" in diameter. The top perimeter of the foundation will serve as a digging guide.

The foundation sleeve depth is a simple formula. Depth = 10% exposed height of the flagpole. For example, a 25 ft. flagpole should have a 2.5 ft. foundation sleeve depth.

If your foundation sleeve has a lighting spike, that will add 6" to the leveling plate. The rest of the spike can be pushed into the ground. If you are going to build a pedestal it will end up ~3" above grade. The steel ground sleeve will be set ~4" above grade. This ~1" lip helps drainage by preventing water back filling into the sleeve. The pedestal ~7" below grade allows grass and other plants to grow right up to the pedestal itself. This approach adds protection from mower contact.

What you might expect when digging
Before you dig, you should be aware of what you might run into. You can hit any number of hidden things: rocks, roots, (but also) gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, fiber optic cables (expensive mistake), tree roots, bricks, and more! Every state has their own services for identifying these hazards. Before you dig, call your local underground agency.

Because you never know what you might run into below, we recommend digging the foundation by hand for flagpoles under 40 ft. Digging by hand will give you the flexibility to make adjustments should you run into any surprises. Don't expect soil all the way to the bottom of the hole. In many cases we find gravel, clay, rocks and bricks. Some holes need water to help loosen the ground if it is too dry. Other holes you just need to use the coffee can! It really depends on your conditions.

If you have a high water table and you run into water before you reach the bottom of the required hole depth, you may need to compensate be creating a wider hole or using reinforcing bars. It is best to consult with a local person in your area who can make recommendations.

Mixing the concrete and leveling the foundation sleeve
Before setting the foundation sleeve, measure the center point in your hole. Take your long bar or the opposite side of a shovel handle and mark the spot. Pound a guide to make a hole at the bottom center point of the hole for ground spike on steel sleeve applications. This will center the lightening ground spike at the base of the foundation sleeve. Now place the foundation sleeve into the center of the hole, once you seat the lightening spike into the ground, it should become stable. Use a level to plum the sleeve. Run the level parallel to the sleeve and check the sleeve from two points, at 90 degrees.

CONCRETE! It is recommended that a strong 3000 PSI concrete mix or better be used. There are many ways to mix your concrete. You can use a pan (like the one in this video) or you can mix it in a bucket or even use a spinner. You can pour each bag in as you mix, remember to keep leveling the sleeve. It is easy to forget to level the sleeve as you mix the concrete. WARNING: if the sleeve is not level once the concrete sets up, you may not have enough tolerance for error and have to start over. We suggest you go slow, mix each bag, apply evenly around the sleeve, and level. If you are really concerned, you can set up a 2x4 form, but these can have a host of troubles as well. Whatever you decide, check and double check your work as you go. Slow and steady works great.

Setting up the pedestal (Centering, sloping)
Once the concrete is over 8" from the top of the foundation sleeve, you can press the sonotube pedestal into place (see the video for clarification). The Sonotube will be approximately 1" below the top of the foundation sleeve and approximately 3 inches above grade. This will give you a lip which looks great and protects the flash collar from getting dented by landscapers.

As you leveled the sleeve from the two points at 90 degrees check the pedestal form for being centered. You will also want to make sure the sleeve is equal distance from the sleeve or still centered visually. Use a tape measure and look to see if the sleeve is centered around the outer lip of the pedestal form, all the way around. Don't worry if it is not. It rarely is! You can adjust the pedestal form by pushing the wall of the pedestal as needed from the inside and the outside but check your ground sleeve again to make sure it is still plum.

Finishing the Foundation!
Before you finish the foundation, make sure the last mixture of concrete you put in is not too wet and has few pebbles. Double check the sleeve and pedestal. Are they level? If not, you can stick the pike down into the sleeve and try to adjust the sleeve some more. Good luck, you're not going to get much movement. Time to pour your final top layer (~2 inches) and start smoothing the top of the pedestal with a trowel. If your mixture is too wet, you can use the trowel to gently press out and remove the excess water. Slope the concrete up towards the sleeve. Make sure the surface is smooth, no air bubbles, and the slope is holding.

How long does it take for the foundation to set up and cure?
Congratulations, you now have your flagpole foundation! As you stand back to admire your work you may be thinking, let's get that pole in! We get that feeling every time. Unfortunately, you need to give the foundation time to set up. This can take anywhere from 5 to 7 days. For larger foundations, you may want to give it even more time. Weather determines the concrete cure time too. Cold weather just takes longer. If you have a lot of rain, cover the foundation to keep it dry, but make sure air can get in to dry and set the concrete. Once the foundation is protected, it's time to walk away.

Check out the after party! You might be wondering, "What is the end result going to look like?" Check out the after party, as this family honors Gavin for his graduation and commission into the United States Air Force!