What You Should Know About Flag Cloth
There are five main flag cloths used in the flag industry worldwide. Knowing the difference will mean your money has been spent wisely, or unfortunately. There is nothing so disappointing as to find an economical purchase was a waste of money. Tends to put you off flags, doesn’t it!
The following guide will help you get best value and satisfaction in your flag purchase.
Top of the Line: Polyester Flag Bunting
Also called Woven Polyester, or Poly Bunting. Sometimes described as Heavy Duty. Examined closely you will see the threads run at right angles and if there is back light, the cloth is semi transparent. The tough weave of flag bunting stands up well to wear when the flag whips in the wind, particularly at the outside edge, yet the semi open weave is light enough to lift in a light breeze.
Wear in a Bunting Flag:
As the flag whips in the wind the fibres rub against each other like a garment in a laundry tumble dryer, where wear is evident by the lint filter. Wear is first apparent in the outside (fly) edge of the flag and the outside corners where the cloth gets thinner and thinner until it breaks through in the corners. Next the hem breaks through at the corners, and from there wear progresses steadily inwards. As soon as wear is visible in the outside corners, the worn end can be cut off, the flag re-hemmed, and the flag’s life extended.
The Frayless Fly:
We offer to sew on a sacrificial strip of light flag cloth to the fly edge of our flags. As the flag wears in the normal way, this sacrificial strip wears out first, thus extending the life of the flag. After the first sacrificial strip wears out, another can be sewn on. However, wear in a flag extends progressively all the way back to the header, with greatest wear at the fly edge, so a Frayless Fly is useful once or twice, until the outermost areas become too thin to be saved any more . Cost of a Frayless Fly is quite nominal and would be worth your while asking about it when you order.
How Long Will it Last?
Wind is the enemy of a flag, not the rain. Flag life will depend on how windy it is. Flying 24/7 in a moderate climate our poly bunting flags usually last between 15 and 24 months. In an elevated location with constant wind, less than this. There are many variables here, and it is not possible for us to make a firm statement on flag life. However woven poly flag bunting IS THE MOST DURABLE FLAG CLOTH.
Also called Trilobal, Poly Knit, or just Knit. WARNING: This is NOT Bunting. Examined closely the cloth is not a weave. It is noticeably smoother on one side than the other, and also slightly shinier on one side than the other. It is a lighter fabric than bunting and flies well in light breezes, but does not have comparable durability.
Wear in a Trilobal Flag:
The most common evidence of wear looks like a piece of cord hanging from the fly edge of the flag. As the flag whips in the wind, wear occurs in its weakest place – where the sewing needle punctured the cloth as the fly hem was sewn. After a while the hem peels off along this perforation, producing the “hanging cord” effect. From there, wear is rapid. A Frayless Fly is not recommended for trilobal because of this “peeling off” effect.
How Long Will it Last?
No hard and fast rules apply here, but generally less than half the life of a bunting flag.
200 Denier Nylon
This is an American flag cloth with similar characteristics to poly bunting. It has a closer weave than bunting, weighs about the same, has a similar length of life, and costs about twice that of poly bunting. It is available to us in a wider range of colours than bunting, so we use it for special purposes, special flags.
Acetate Satin and Polyester Satin
The preferred cloth for ceremonial flags, with a good shine on one side. Being a “one-sided” cloth, some customers order a two sided flag with the shiny surfaces outermost, doubling the cost. Satin has no durability for outside use, and is usually fitted with a sleeve for use on a flagstaff or pike and paraded.
Very Cheap Polyester Flags
are to be found in discount stores, souvenir shops, and offered at low cost on the Internet. Cheaply printed on very thin material, these have a life of very few weeks up a flagpole. Ideal for patriotically waving at a sporting event, or as a momento. These cheapies should not be dignified by the title “flag”, but are well printed, usually in unofficial proportions, e.g. 5’ x 3’ is a common offering for an Australian flag which officially is 6’ x 3’.