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Polyester versus Cotton Flags: Making the Right Choice for Flags
Posted by Bryan on 5/27/2012 to About Flags
There is perhaps no better source of pride than showing off your spirit by flying or displaying a flag. Whether showing your national or state allegiance, honoring your favorite sports team or just using a flag with colorful designs to highlight the time of year there are ample reasons to have one visible. But choosing the type and material of flag must be done carefully. Cotton and polyester are the two most common materials, and depending on what conditions you intend to have your flag face one may be much better than the other.

On the surface cotton and polyester flags look very similar to each other. It isn't until you pick one up and feel it that the key differences become apparent. High quality flags made with either material will be sewn. This means the image or colors are not printed on a blank canvas but rather the threads are colored and sewn together to create the display. This will prevent any fading like one might find on a large banner or signage. However polyester is a material that lends itself well to printing. Lower-grade flags of polyester may have images printed on. These will be cheaper and less durable than sewn cotton or sewn polyester.

The choice of material should depend most heavily on how the flag will be displayed. If it will be displayed indoors out of the elements then cotton is an acceptable choice. It will look just as nice up close and with weather a non-factor should be long-lasting and the most cost-efficient option.

For flags flying outdoors the pros and cons of polyester and cotton must be examined. Cotton is lighter and will produce the classic waving flag look in even light breezes. However it cannot get wet, so a cotton flag outdoors must be taken down at any hint of moisture. Should the cotton become wet it will get very heavy and droop, and may not dry out before mold and mildew set in. By contrast polyester is much better suited to outdoor flying. It can handle the elements without risk of molding and because it's much stronger than cotton it can resist much higher wind and strong weather. But polyester is heavier, so it needs more of a breeze to achieve the flying flag look. Because it is heavier and more durable polyester will also cost more for the same size flag versus cotton.
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