How to Attach Flagpoles to Railings

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The size and mounting method of a flagpole bracket makes it unusable for thin railing as well as vinyl and metal constructions. Clamp-style mounts offer an adjustable solution, fitting securely around porch handrails of any material without requiring that you drill holes in the railing. But when you have a wood corner post or handrail thick enough to support a bracket, screw-on mounting brackets offer a more streamlined look when compared to a clamp. Both products are available in various finishes, including basic metal, decorative bronze and brass along with other colors and finishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Clamp-style mount with hardware
  • Crescent wrench
  • Bracket mount with hardware
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Drill bits

Clamp-Style Mount

  • Unscrew the knob or nut from the threaded bolt with your hand or a crescent wrench. If the bolt has a nut, loosen it with a wrench and then finish unscrewing it by hand. Set it aside.

  • Position the clamp so that the pole mount is facing in the direction you want the flag to hang. On a front porch, the slanted angle of the pole mount will likely point toward your front yard.

  • Center the clamp on the hand rail and angle it as desired. Push the top plate down toward the bottom plate so that the front threaded bolt slides through the open hole on the bottom plate.

  • Twist the knob or nut on the bottom of the bolt. Tighten it by hand just enough so that the mount stays in place without support, but not so much as to limit adjustments.

  • Insert the flagpole into the holder. Adjust the clamp-style mount until the flag is angled as desired. Have a friend or family member stand several feet in front of the flag to suggest angling adjustments. When you’re satisfied with the position, tighten the knob or nut to hold the mount in position. Tighten nuts with a crescent wrench for a secure fit.

Bracket Mount

  • Calculate the height of the bracket hardware’s mounting plate and use that to find the desired center point of the mounting area on the corner post, column or handrail of your railing. Mark the position with a pencil. Measure up and down from this point half the height of the bracket plate and mark the wood. This creates an outline for the bracket by noting the top and bottom edge of the hardware.

  • Place the bracket against the railing, lining the top and bottom edges up with the top and bottom guide marks. Hold a level against the railing, aligning the bottom of the level with the top edge of the bracket. Adjust the bracket until level and mark the positions for the screw holes.

  • Set the bracket aside and drill pilot holes with a drill bit one size smaller than the screws provided with the bracket. Hold the bracket against the railing, lining the holes on the plate up with the pilot holes. Secure the bracket to the railing with the provided screws and insert the flag into the flagpole holder.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set the knob or nut in a safe place as you work to avoid losing essential parts. Knobs are typically made of hard plastic; although durable, when handled roughly they can crack. Take care when unscrewing and screwing the knob in place and avoid dropping it or setting heavy items on top of it.
  • Some clamp-style mounts come with a preinstalled flag pole. Install the product in the same manner and then attach your flag to the mount's pole.
  • Socket-style mounts, commonly used to mount flags on boats, work well for porches with round handrails. Measure the diameter of the railing before purchasing to ensure a tight fit.
  • A few standard brackets come with a slot for a mounting strap, eliminating the need for holes and updating this classic hardware to work with vinyl railing. Size the bracket so that the plate fits comfortably on the railing and thread the strap through the slot before wrapping it around the railing and tightening to secure.
  • The portion of the hardware that holds the pole on both clamp-style and traditional flagpole brackets may be adjustable, allowing you to raise and lower the flag. Most move the holder up or down when you loosen a small screw or wing nut near the base. If this is the case, install clamp-style mounts so that the front bolt is vertical and the top and bottom plates sit flush with the top and bottom of the handrail.
  • Every type of flagpole hardware installs in a slightly different manner. Always follow manufacturer directions for the best results.

References

  • Photo Credit Robert Kirk/iStock/Getty Images
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