Flagpole made of PVC conduit

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  #1  
Old 06-05-10, 07:48 AM
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Flagpole made of PVC conduit

Yeah, I know...not exactly an electrical question, but since I'm using PVC conduit, I figured this would be the best place.

Need to know just how "UV resistant" this stuff is. I know regular white PVC will discolor and get brittle in just one season in our sun here. Was going to use IMC..but that's 6X the cost of PVC.


Will painting it help at all?


Well, anyway...for only $6...I figured it was worth a try.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 09:28 AM
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Can you give a sense of how long a flag pole youíre thinking about? . . . PVC is not structurally sound, and will bend over time if either too long or supporting weight of a heavier flag. A PVC flagpole I purchased has an inner core to overcome that problem. If you had old pipe even if it looks ugly, it could act as the core to make the outer PVC rigid. While I havenít tried it, I imagine some epoxies could be poured into hollow core to keep it from bending but that becomes time consuming and adds cost possibly taking you back to IMC.

If needing smaller diameter PVC, Iíve found PVC for furniture making has far better UV resistance than common Sch. 40 Search Results | U.S. Plastic Corp. It also comes in different wall thicknesses and colors if you prefer something other than white . . . some mention UV resistance while others do not.

Painting PVC is not a problem, and it wonít degrade by sunlight when painted. I first use PVC cleaner to remove sheen. I then go with a primer and topcoat. I have a number of PVC bollards on property that cover a metal pipe, and have to repaint them about every 7 or so yrs. Same goes for PVC pipe at a pump station.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 10:06 AM
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If you are flying a large flag in some strong winds I'm not sure the PVC will be strong enough. I tried using 2" PVC plumbing pipe for a clothes line and the clothes just about touched the ground.

I have been thinking of a flagpole as well but the best material I have thought of that doesn't cost and arm and leg is EMT. Thought about getting a pipe expander like this: Medium Tail Pipe Expander but I'm not sure it would work with EMT.

As far as the UV resistance of electrical PVC, I have not seen any that has degraded due to sunlight. It will discolor and loose the gray. And these pipes are on top of buildings.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 10:35 AM
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You could fill with concrete. Maybe put a single piece of rebar down the center. Never tried it. Just a thought.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 10:50 AM
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Hell, you can get a aluminum flag pole for under $150:

15 FT Aluminum Flagpole Kit: 15FT Aluminum Flag Pole Package
 
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Old 06-05-10, 11:56 AM
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$150 (plus shipping) compared to $20. Hummmm. I'll take the $20 one.
Although the aluminum one would look nicer.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for all the responses....

I'm thinking 16-20 ft. I had some old 1" white PVC from a drainage project and used that to get me past Memorial day. Kinda surprised...even with 40-50 mph winds it wipped around and leaned some...but when it was calm it straightened right up.

See, we took down part of a block fence a while back, but had to leave a 4' metal gate post that was sunk in the fence footer and just wouldn't pull out....so I just dropped the 16' or so of 1" down in the post and stuck a bolt though the existing hinge hole.

The flag is 3 x 5, I think, and I just zip tied it as a test. As I said..it moved quite a bit..but held up. So I got 2 sections of 1 1/2" conduit (2" was too big) and put the belled end in first.

Don't really want it to be too permanent or heavy so can't do concrete or mortar filled...though I did think of maybe trying to fill it with Great Stuff...but then the cost will be 1/2 of IMC...so I think I'll just paint it silver...put it up and maybe use a brace over to the 2 x 6 fascia. I have all the material for that..so prob the easiest to start.

Thanks again...
 
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Old 06-05-10, 03:14 PM
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I think I'd try aluminum threaded conduit for stability and appearance.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 07:11 PM
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Yeah...thats what the next option is...but I got the PVC during the weekend sale so it was only about $6...as I said..I have everything else. We'll see...

Right now the project is the pergola over the grape vine....

Man, sometimes I wish I had a kid..working with your wife on a project really sucks sometimes. We get it done..but not w/o a lot of "discussions".....

Gotta say though...its looking pretty nice so far.
 
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Old 06-12-10, 06:34 AM
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Just an update....
The PVC was way too flexible. Wife didn't like how it was all bent over in the wind. Checked again on a trip to HD and I must have been looking at the 2" IMC not the 1 1/2" that I needed. 1 1/2" was only $19. So pulled the PVC out, screwed 2 sections of IMC together, swapped the hardware, put a PVC cap painted gold on top and we're off to the races.

Looks pretty good and steady as a rock even in 40-50 gusts.

Amazing what you can do with stuff laying around...I even used an old shop-vac hose end for a collar to center the conduit in the old metal fence post.

BTW..HD had a cheap lightweight aluminum 20' pole and flag for $130...mine cost about $45.
 
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Old 06-12-10, 10:29 AM
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Thanks for the update.

Just wondering, what is your opinion about the expanders I posted above? They are made for exhaust pipe. Do you think it will work on EMT or do you think EMT is too thick?
 
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Old 06-12-10, 10:58 AM
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No expert...but I think EMT is both thicker and harder than regular exhaust pipe. It might work if you heated it, but then you'd loose strength.

Like I said..the IMC was pretty cheap and plenty strong. Course it goes up some if you go to 2"...but I doubt you'd really need it. Bout 5' of mine is inside the old post sunk in the footing for the wall.

Still as I said..solid and strong for less than 1/2 the price of a cheapy that wouldn't last one season in our winds.....
 
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