When Should I Replace My American Flag?

An American Flag flying graciously in the wind.

When Should I Replace My American Flag?

Your American flag stands as a symbol of pride and patriotism, but constant exposure to the elements can cause it to wear down over time. Even the most durable flags can fade, tear, or fray. So, when is the right time to replace your flag? Action Flag is here to guide you with our expertise in high-quality, American-made flags. Let's dive into the signs that indicate it’s time for a new flag and tips for extending its lifespan.

Understanding the U.S. Flag Code

Flying the stars and stripes is an honor, and the U.S. Flag Code ensures it receives the respect it deserves. The code states, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

The decision on when to replace a flag is subjective, with no specific guidelines on the extent of damage. However, noticeable wear and tear are clear signs that it's time for a new flag.

Signs It's Time to Replace Your American Flag


Tearing appears as long rips or holes in the fabric, indicating that the material is breaking down. High-quality outdoor flags are designed to be durable, but extended exposure to the elements can weaken the fibers. Replace your flag at the first sign of tearing to prevent further damage.


Fraying occurs when the edges of the flag start to unravel and look tattered. This often results from windy conditions, contact with trees or buildings, and prolonged outdoor use. Replace your flag as soon as fraying appears to maintain a dignified display.


A faded flag loses its vibrant colors and appears pale. This is a sign that the material is deteriorating, which can lead to fraying and tearing. When your flag begins to lose its vibrancy, it's time for a replacement.


Outdoor flags can accumulate stains from exposure to elements, wildlife, and pollution. If you can't remove noticeable stains, consider buying a replacement to keep your display looking pristine.

How Often Should You Replace Your Flag?

Several factors influence how often you should replace your American flag, including weather, location, and material. According to the U.S. Government, the average flag lasts about ninety days. Flags flown daily need more frequent replacement than those used for special occasions.

At Action Flag, we craft our flags from the highest-quality materials and offer a six-month guarantee. Our flags, proudly made in America, are built to last.

Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Flag

Take Down During Bad Weather

Flying your flag in bad weather reduces its lifespan and is against the U.S. Flag Code. Strong winds, rain, and hail can cause significant damage.

Repair Small Tears

For small tears and holes, repairing your flag can extend its lifespan. Use thread designed for outdoor use or hire a seamstress with flag repair experience.

Avoid Rough Surfaces

Never let your flag touch rough surfaces like the ground or rough walls, which can cause tearing and fraying.

Choose FMAA-Certified Flags

FMAA-certified flags are made in America from domestic materials and undergo strict manufacturing processes. Action Flag products are proudly FMAA certified.

Regularly Clean Your Flag

Regular cleaning removes dirt, algae, and bacteria that can cause damage. This also allows you to inspect its condition and make repairs before they worsen.

Rotate Your Flags

Having at least two flags and rotating them every two months helps maintain their vibrancy and resist fading. Rotating gives your flag a break from the elements and allows for repairs.

Switch Flags Based on Weather

Use nylon flags for low-wind days and polyester flags for harsher weather. This ensures your flag is suitable for varying conditions.

Proper Disposal of an Old American Flag

The U.S. Flag Code specifies proper disposal methods, including burning, using a disposal box, recycling, and burying. Contact the American Legion or a local Boy Scout troop for assistance. 

Action Flag: Quality American Flags That Last

Action Flag is the premier provider of American flags, partnering with top industries, including the U.S. government, schools, the Boy Scouts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion posts and more. We offer Net Terms to qualified customers. 

For over thirty years, we've provided high-quality, American-made polyester and nylon American flags, military flags, state flags, POW-MIA flags, and flagpoles. Our commitment to excellence includes the industry's best guarantee, unmatched customer service, and expert graphic artists. Search our catalog or fill out our contact form today and discover why we're a trusted name in the industry.


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