How long will my flag last?by Sian Wilson
There is no exact answer. There are many variables which affect and therefore determine how long a flag may last. The expected life will also differ across styles of flags. If all due care is taken, a flag can be expected to last many months. However, they have lasted less than three months on occasions, having been damaged by severe conditions.
A Street Flag, by their nature and design, will have a much shorter lifespan than any other flag product. Prevailing conditions will largely determine the longevity or the life of a flag. A flag that is flown in extreme conditions will not last as long as a flag flown in more temperate climates.
Ultra-Violet (UV) rays affect the flags. Some colours will deteriorate quicker than others. UV rays and high winds cause the breakdown of fibres in flags, particularly around the extremities and sewn edges. As light does not ‘illuminate’ the back of double-sided flags, the impression is that UV affects double-sided flags quicker. We suggest avoiding solid background colours (such as black) as these are known to fade faster than other colours.
The life of a flag also depends upon its flying time. A flag that is flown constantly (24 hours per day, seven days a week), cannot be expected to last as long as a flag flown during the day and then brought in in the evening or in extreme weather conditions. It must be recognised that the flying time of a constantly flying flag is more than doubled, thus its life is considerably reduced.
Generally, we expect a nylon or cotton flag to last 90 days based on being flown daily from sunrise to sunset - but not during periods of inclement weather. Tests have shown that, in some cases, a flag flown 24 hours a day will last only one-fourth as long as one flown only during the daylight hours.
Regardless of how well it is constructed, a flag is, after all, only made of cloth and will sooner or later succumb to the elements.
Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy your new flag longer:
- Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.
- For the best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow, or abnormally high winds. These forces of nature can shorten its life considerably. Should the flag become wet, it should be spread out and allowed to dry completely. Do not fold or roll up a wet or damp flag.
- To keep its rich colours looking bright, clean your flag regularly. Smoke, dust, and other airborne contaminants "set" in the fabric.
- Do not place the flag where the wind will whip it against rough surfaces, tree branches, wires, cables, etc. The smallest tear can soon result in a tattered flag. Keep pole surfaces free of heavy dirt, rust, scale, and corrosion that could damage your flag.
- Inspect your flag regularly for signs of wear.