Talk about a DIY project that delivers! Post mailboxes are a curb-appeal classic.
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Residential mailboxes come in many shapes, sizes and styles, but they come in just two main forms: wall-mounted
(also called roadside
). Though they're utilitarian in nature, mailboxes can play a big role in curb appeal
. While many of modern wall-mounted mailboxes
are chic and easy to install, post mailboxes have a stately, classic appeal that never seems to go out of style.
Post mailboxes usually come in two parts that are selected separately: the post mount box
and the post
itself. There are lots of styles to choose from
both online and at your local home improvement store. Choose a post that coordinates nicely with your mailbox, and take special note of the post's height in case you need to make adjustments. Posts come in treated wood (resistant to mildew and insects) or vinyl, depending on your taste.
Choose a treated natural wood if you'd like to paint it.
Post hole digger. Photo: The Home Depot
- Shovel or post hole digger
- Protective gloves
- Concrete mix
- Wheelbarrow or something in which to mix and hold the concrete
- Two wood stakes
- Thick string
- Tape measure
Removing an Old Post mailbox
If you have an old post mailbox, you'll need to remove it before installing the new one. Here's how:
1. Take the mailbox off of the post.
If you're planning on just replacing the post, you might consider reusing the old mailbox. It's probably held on with screws, so you'll need to unscrew them and remove it from the post. If you plan to reuse the box, place the hardware (nuts, bolts, screws) aside.
2. Using a shovel, dig out some space -- a few inches all around the post
. Rock the shovel back and forth to loosen the concrete.
3. Once it is loose enough, you can pull and drag the old post
from the ground.
Installing a New Post Mailbox
Here are the steps to take when you're ready to install your post mailbox:
1. If you are adding a post mailbox for the first time, before you do anything, call your utility companies
to come out and ensure that you will not be digging on top of wires or plumbing.
2. Next, you should call your local post office
and ask them how high your post should stand as well as how close or far from the curb. They may have specific regulations that you should know up front, before you start digging.
3. Using a shovel or post hole digger, dig a hole about a foot down
and about three times the diameter of the post. When the post is placed in the hole, it should be at the regulated height set by the post office. If you've removed an old post, you can reuse the same hole, just be sure that the height of the new post in the old hole meets the requirements.
4. If you're installing a treated wood post, dig two or three inches deeper
and place a few inches worth of small rocks or gravel at the bottom of your hole. This will help with drainage and prevent the bottom of your wood post from rotting (even if you've selected a treated wood post, this can happen).
5. Before you fill the hole with cement, you want to make sure you're not stuck holding it up straight while the concrete sets. Place a wood stake on either side of the post
about three feet away, and then cut two pieces of string, tying one end to each stake and the other end to the post. Use a level to make sure that the post is straight and adjust as needed.
6. Now that you're ready to set the post, mix your concrete
according to the instructions and fill the hole with concrete.
Leave about 5-6 inches at the top so you can fill it with dirt later. Let the concrete dry according to the instructions.
7. Once the concrete is dry, you can remove the string and stakes.
Fill in the rest of the hole with the dirt you originally dug out and plant some grass seed on top.
8. Attach the mailbox
to the post according to the installation instructions. Your mailbox is now open for business!
Tip: Your mailbox post will likely come with manufacturer's installation instructions, so be sure to read those as well before starting the project.