Nylon vs. Polyester

SolarMax
® nylon is the most popular flag material flag in the world, the “default” fabric for U.S. flags. Nylon flags are lightweight and durable, with exceptional, sun-resistant colors, and they fly beautifully.
 
Spun, woven polyester is considered the longest-lasting and most durable flag material. Spun, woven polyester flags have an open weave (vs. nylon’s tighter, closed weave) which helps to minimize the whipping effects of the wind on the fly-hem. Polyester flags are heavier than nylon.
 
Nylon is meant to fly in the wind; polyester is meant to withstand the wind.
 
The larger a flag is the greater the effects of the wind on the fly hem, and for large flags (8’ x 12’ and larger) most flag makers recommend polyester.
 
Nylon flags cost, on average, about 22% less than polyester. Nylon flags are especially susceptible to fraying in the fly hem, which can be repaired.
 
Sun is the other primary source of flag degradation. All of our outdoor U.S. flags carry a One Year ColorFast Guarantee.
 
Polyester flags are the most heavy-duty outdoor flag you can buy. Polyester flags are more “stately” than nylon, similar to cotton in look and feel. They are beautiful hanging indoors on a wall or from a rafter.
 
What is your current flag telling you?
If you’ve flown a nylon U.S. flag and the colors have faded but the fly-hem is still in good shape, stick with nylon. If, however, your fly-hem is fraying while the flag still has good color consider polyester. Learn more about flag construction here.

By the way, it is perfectly acceptable, from a flag-etiquette perspective, to
trim and sew a frayed fly hem.
 
First time flying a flag?
If you haven’t flown a flag before we suggest you start with nylon, unless you’re in a high-wind, exposed area. Also, the larger the flag the more the fly hem will be “whipped” and subject to fraying and shredding, and a reason to consider polyester.

Make your flag last longer
There are several ways to extend the life of your flag:
 
Don’t fly it at night. This may not be a practical option for you, but if it is practical for you to take your flag down at night you can essentially double its life.
 
Take your flag in during severe weather. One severe storm can shred a flag. If you know extraordinary winds are coming, and it’s practical to do so, take your flag in.
 
Sew the fly hem (earlier, rather than later) if the color is still good. Acceptable and traditional.