Painting Flagpoles

Before and after

The pole looks shiny and new when you paint it with aluminum color. We also always paint the top ball gold while we are up there free of charge.

Paint is essential for rust protection. If left unattended, expecially in coastal areas, rust will eat through the entire flagpole and result in it being condemned and taken down for safety reasons.

Flagpole Types

Steel and wooden flagpoles are the flagpoles that need the most care. Bare metal rusts, and when rust sets in it is like cancer to metal. It starts a decaying process that eats away at the metal. Depending on the area, rust will grow extremely quickly. Areas with lots of rain or areas near the ocean are the most prone to develop rust and get it fast. Water, metal, and air do not mix. You may ask then why do all the light poles on the freeway and on the street along with all the power lines never get painted. Well, there is a process called galvanization that can protect metal for a very very long time. The biggest issue with galvanization is the cost and the process. It has to be dipped in a solution that’s electrified and the solution almost becomes part of the metal. Galvanized metal is next to impossible to grind off and is one of the best ways to protect the metal. Since the metal has to be dipped, everything has to be applied before installation. Some metal flagpoles are galvanized and will almost never rust except maybe where the pole was welded as that destroys the galvanization process. If you don’t happen to have a galvanized pole then you have a metal pole and if it has not been painted in a while there is most likely rust all over the place. In order to slow down the deterioration process, you need to paint the flagpole and do it regularly.

Benefits of Painting

When you paint a metal or wooden flagpole you need to prep the surface first. Like any painted surface you have to scrape off any old flaking paint and sand down any glossy areas as well as all surface rust. Severe rust sometimes requires a grinder to remove the thicker patches of rust. If you want your final coat of paint to last, you need to do a primer coat first to help block the rust and give the paint a good surface to adhere to. Primers are designed to stick very well to surfaces and if you decide to go with a light color, the primer coat will help give the light color a more uniform look. Oil-based paints are also a good recommendation since they are stronger overall than water-based paints. Between the rope going up and down and the flag flapping in the wind, flagpoles get quite a bit of abuse even though you might not notice. If you want your pole to be looking in tip-top shape and be protected from rust, a two-year painting routine is a good idea. Depending on budget and how much use the pole gets, the intervals might be more regular than every two years. If you schedule us at least once every two years we will waive the prep fee since the flagpoles will generally still be in really good condition. The more time between pole painting, the more likely it becomes that the flagpole will be beaten up by the flag clips and thus incur more of a prep fee since there will be more sanding/grinding of rust and flaking paint. Here is the most beneficial routine you can do for a metal flagpole. It’s a two-year plan and will keep your pole in working order and looking brand new:

  1. Inspection of the top ball and revolving truck assembly for safety and operation. We will replace if needed. (See Truck Replacement)
  2. Replacement or lubrication of sheaves (pulleys).
  3. Installation of halyards (ropes) and flag snaps (wire-core rope is available for high theft areas.)
  4. Surface preparation, to include: scraping, sanding, and priming.
  5. A finish coat of top quality oil-based enamel or aluminum paint. The most common colors are white and aluminum, but you can choose almost any color you like.

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