The most common questions we are asked about flags, is ‘how long will it last?’ or alternatively ‘is there a longer lasting material?’
The quick answer to these questions is a flag will only last for as long you look after it, and the longevity of the flag is impacted by the weather conditions, pollution (I.E vehicle fumes), where the flag is sited and your diligence in looking after it.
The very nature of flags is they are intended to fly in the lowest of winds, so the flag will unfurl and be seen. You don’t buy a flag for it to be sat limply at the top of our flagpole, right? (Of course with no wind this is exactly what happens). Anyhow, like any fabric the more it is used the more likely it is to wear and fade, so you need to be prepared to purchase new flags regularly.
The question then is how regularly do I need to get a new flag as they can be expensive which is prohibitive. Well the answer to this is you need to look after your flag much as you would your favourite piece of clothing.
To ensure your flag looks as good as it can for as long as it can you should:
- Make sure there are no obstacles fouling the flag when it flies, like trees, buildings etc. If a flag is constantly hitting obstacles it will of course shred. Now most of us know this from the outset, however having been making flags for 40 years we have seen some let’s say surprising sites where flags are flown and shred almost instantly.
- Keep a watch on your flag, and if you know there is going to be a storm or gale then take the flag down and bring it in. We would recommend any winds above 40mph you need to do this. Ironically unless you are a meteorologist and have an anemometer to measure the speed you won’t know the wind speed. In normal terms then, watch weather forecasts locally and if you know or can see it is windier than usual bring the flag down. storms do tend to also happen overnight when you may be asleep, so the recommendation is to take the flag down overnight too, and especially when the weather forecast shows storms at night.
- Pollution unfortunately has a huge impact on your flag too, both on the integrity of the fabric and fading of the colours. Unfortunately, at the moment this one can’t be avoided until the world has a different or more popular way of powering vehicles and machinery. To combat this, we would recommend regular washing of your flag. Our flags can be machine washed at 40 degrees, and dried flat and then ironed on a medium 150 degrees centigrade. Do not dry clean. Cleaning instruction come with all our flags and are on the label stitched to the flag. The same thing also applies to sites that are near the coast, salt air will impact the flag, and you will need to follow the same procedure as above.
Other options to help prolong your flag is to order your flag with an antifray strip. This is a sacrificial piece of material sewn onto the fly end of your flag. Whilst this will not prolong the life of the flag itself, it will be the first part of the flag that frays. The idea is you check on your flag regularly and as soon as you see the antifray strip fray, you take your flag down and send back to us to remove the strip totally, wash, and add another strip. This we do at a minimal fee and considerably less than purchasing a new flag.
As a side note, if you are unlucky enough to have your flag fray, it is worth talking to us as we offer a wash and repair service.
Bottom line then, a flag needs to be treated well and looked after. The better you look after it the longer it will last. There is no hidden secret or magic material that will work better, it is good old diligence and common sense, that will keep it flying proudly.