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How to Install a Mailbox Post That Lasts

Imagine waking up one morning to find your mailbox post uprooted and moved 50 feet from its original position in the ground. After looking around the only evidence that you see is a set of tire marks several feet long. The driver of the car that hit your mailbox not so surprisingly failed to stop to make you aware of the accident. Now it is up to you to replace your mailbox post and you have no idea where to start.

This scenario happens to thousand of people each year.  Replacing a mailbox is something that just about any homeowner with a good back and a few extra hours can do.

Remove Old Post and Dig New Hole

Before erecting a new mailbox post, you must first remove the old one. Sometimes this can be as simple as grabbing a hold of the remaining post and pulling it out of the ground. This can however be a bit difficult so you may need to use a shovel to remove what remains. If the post is stuck in the ground it may be best to cut it off slightly below ground level and dig a new hole next to the post that remains in the ground.

In general you should dig a hole about the with of a shovel head and deep enough to bring the mail box ledge to mailbox height specified by the United States Postal Service which is 41” to 45” from the ground to the bottom of the box. Measure your mailbox post and dig a hole to the appropriate depth.

Position the Post and Brace

This next step is important if you want to have a mailbox that stands up straight and tall. All too often you will see a crooked mailbox and wonder how someone could live with their lopsided box. Leveling and bracing the mailbox is an important step and only takes a few minutes. You will need:

• 4” X 4” treated wood mailbox post
• 4 scrap pieces of wood between 2’ and 3’ tall
• A power drill
• 3” deck screws
• A level

Begin by placing the post in the ground and eyeballing it for levelness. Attach 4 temporary braces around the post. There should be one on each side. With the braces attached have an assistant place a level on the top, side and front of the post. Use stone, dirt, wood scraps or whatever is nearby to make minor adjustments under the brace. Adjust each side until the box is completely level.

Pour Concrete and Allow to Cure

Stop by your local hardware or home improvement store and pick up about 160lbs of concrete. Concrete is usually sold in 80 lb bags so a couple should do. Mix the concrete as instructed on the package using a shovel and wheel barrow. Once mixed, pour the concrete mix into the void between your post and the earth. Fill the hole up to about 3” below ground level. Leaving this room  allows you to add top soil and seed around your post, giving it a finished look. Allow the concrete to set. This process usually takes between 24-48 hours depending on weather conditions.

How to Mount Your Mailbox

Mounting a mailbox is a fairly simple process that starts by first attaching a piece of 1” X 6” treated board to your mailbox post. Pre-drill several holes and use a good woodscrew with washers to attach the mounting board.

Once the board has been mounted, slide the bottom of the mailbox over the board and finish the job by driving about 4 screws in each side where the box meets the 1” X 6”.

Frequently asked questions

How far should my mailbox be from the road?

In most areas your mailbox door should rest 6” to 8” from the curb. Check with your local post office.

How high should my mailbox be?

41” to 45”. Remember the mail man puts mail in over 800 mail boxes per day. You do not want to make their job more difficult.

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