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Installing a Mailbox for Easy Curb Appeal

Looking for a quick way to boost your curb appeal? Installing a new curbside mailbox can be your solution- literally. This quick weekend DIY can be a budget-friendly project, or as elaborate as you would like. Follow the steps below to install a post and mailbox, then let your imagination run wild with customizations to make it as unique as your home and family.

How to Install a Mailbox

 

Before you start your installation, call your local utilities to make sure when you dig your post hole you won’t be disrupting any services like a power or gas line. If you have an HOA, confirm your plans are appropriate for your neighborhood.

Step 1: Decide on Your Post and Mailbox

You can really make your mailbox your own by choosing the box color. Many mailboxes are galvanized steel and powder-coated to prevent rust from forming out in the elements, however, hard plastic is also an option. Mailboxes come in various sizes depending on how much mail you typically get and come in a standard size, a large, and an extra-large for bigger packages. A unique feature that you might opt for is a lockable mailbox that will provide extra security for your mail.

All incoming and outgoing mailboxes should include a carrier signal flag on the right side that alerts the mail carrier there is mail to be picked up. Flags are normally red or orange and shouldn’t be a color that blends into the surroundings like white, green, yellow, brown, or blue. The flags must also be easy for the mail carrier to move up and down and not made from wood. It is best to look for a statement on the package that says it is approved by the Postmaster General.

When it comes to choosing the right post, pick a material that is sturdy but will bend or fall if hit by a car. Solid concrete posts pose a danger if there is an accident. The best (and easiest) posts are treated wood, metal like steel or aluminum (that is not too thick), or a PVC plastic shell that can be installed over a wooden post. All three of these options provide resistance against rot, decay, and other pest problems and will yield to a car if they are hit. Mailboxes can also be mounted or installed into brick or paver mailbox columns.

Step 2: Gather All the Materials Needed

After you have decided on your mailbox and post types, gather all your materials for installation.

Step 3: Mark Your Spot

The U.S. Postal Service has specific rules as to where curbside mailboxes should be placed so mail carriers can easily deliver your mail. Contact your local postmaster if you need guidance.

Your mailbox should be:

  • 41 to 45 inches tall from the road or edge of the curb to where your mail will be deposited.
  • 6-8 inches back from the edge of the road surface to where your mail will be deposited. Your post should be that distance plus the length of the mailbox.

Once you have determined the correct spot, mark where you will place your post, so you are as accurate as possible.

Step 4: Dig Your Hole

Using your post hole digger, dig a hole down to no more than 48 inches deep. If you are using a 4x4 wood post, your hole should be around half of the height of your post above ground. The hole should include 6 inches of gravel plus concrete to set in a 10- to 12-inch diameter post hole. If you are using a metal or PVC post base, check the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended post hole diameter.

Step 5: Set your Post

Once you have dug your post hole, add a 6-inch layer of gravel to the bottom. In a bucket, mix your concrete to package instructions. Lower your post into the hole and use a level to ensure it is standing as straight or as “plumb” as possible. Use braces to help hold the post in place as you pour in your concrete. Add dirt and/or gravel on a slope around the bottom of the post to help with water runoff. Let your concrete dry (about a day) before moving onto the next step.

Step 6: Add Your Mailbox

After your concrete has set and the post is secure, attach your mailbox by screwing it onto the mounting board or brackets.

Step 7: Customize

While legible house numbers at least 1 inch high is a must, there are lots of options for personalizing your mailbox. Adding flowers, gravel, or rocks around the post base will give extra curb appeal. Think about adding some custom lettering, your family name, or a custom paint job to add some character. If you have a wooden post, a coat of exterior wood stain will increase protection from the elements and add different color options. Whatever you add to make it your own, make sure nothing will inhibit the mail carrier’s ability to find your mailbox or deliver your mail.

Mailbox Maintenance

 

Mailboxes need to be maintained to ensure they are in working order for your mail carrier. Make sure your mail flag and mailbox door can open and close easily by replacing or tightening the fasteners and replace any house numbers that may have fallen off. If you have sealed your wood post, it is best to re-seal it every two years to minimize the effects of weathering.

The Best on the Block

 

Adding a post-mounted mailbox is the perfect weekend DIY to get some added curb appeal and functionality. Need help finding what you need? Our friendly store teams are ready to help you get started. Stop in-store or online today.