The materials required to make a flagpole differ depending on the application. In-ground flagpoles are designed to withstand wind and direct exposure to the elements, whereas house-mounted flagpoles are designed for occasional use. In-ground flagpoles are permanently in place and house-mounted flagpoles are easily removed from their brackets, which are permanently fixed to the exterior of the home. Building your own flagpole can be a rewarding experience--especially when you see the flag waving in the breeze for the first time after installation.
There are many premade flagpole packages available on the Internet from companies based all over the country. These kits use a galvanized metal flagpole that is wide at its base and tapers gradually toward the top of the pole to decrease its profile during windy weather. Ten percent of the total length of the flagpole is buried in the ground, so you will want to keep that in mind as you search for a suitable galvanized metal pipe for your flagpole. If you would like the flagpole to rise out of the ground 25 feet, 2 1/2 feet of the pole must be buried to keep the exposed portion stable during bad weather.
Flagpoles are mounted in the ground with concrete. The amount of concrete needed depends on the height of the flagpole, the amount of wind common for your area and the type of soil in which the flagpole will be buried. Hard, dense soils will require less concrete than loosely packed, sandy soils. Your municipal building inspector can give you an idea of how much concrete to use based on the soil type. Flagpoles are not set directly into the concrete. A 6-inch layer of gravel is added to the bottom of the hole and a ground sleeve made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe, or other similar material, is placed in the center of the hole with the bottom end buried into the gravel layer. Concrete is added around the ground sleeve and allowed to dry before the flagpole is slid into the sleeve. The amount of drying time that is needed for the concrete is generally estimated at 24 hours per cubic yard of concrete used. If your flagpole installation requires 2 1/2 yards of concrete (which is a lot of concrete), plan on allowing the concrete to dry for at least 50 hours before setting the flagpole into the sleeve.
Other hardware pieces that will be required to build a nice flagpole include halyard (rope), rope cleats, a lightning kit, snap hooks, trucks (pulley wheels) and ornaments. The hardware should be installed onto the flagpole, assembled and ready to use before the flagpole is placed into the ground sleeve. Purchase a nice, high-quality flag to go with the pole. There are many types of flags to choose from including American and international flags, sports flags, state flags and military flags.
House-mounted flagpoles are much easier to make. All that is required is a metal--preferably galvanized--mounting bracket, a wooden pole or thin-walled galvanized metal pipe, snap hooks, a flag, a pole-end ornament and bracket mounting fasteners. The mounting bracket and the pole have to be compatible or the setup will not work.