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How do I Install a Mailbox?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There can be several reasons why you need to install a mailbox along the curbside of your home. Perhaps your previous one was damaged by an errant driver, or worse, a vandal. Maybe you feel that your old mailbox is outdated and it is simply time for an upgrade, or you want to install a custom mailbox that stands out on the street. Whatever the reason, the steps involved to install a mailbox are not necessarily complicated, but may require a bit of hard work, which will be worth it in the end for the true do-it-yourself person. Some of the things you will need to complete this task are a mailbox, a mailbox post, a post hole digger, a bag of quick-dry concrete, a level, a shovel or spade, a hammer and a scrap piece of wood.

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The first thing you must do when installing a curbside mailbox is to purchase the mailbox itself, along with a post to mount it on if they aren't sold together. A wide range of stores carry many different types of mailboxes, so it may be difficult to choose a style that you like. A good place to start is your local hardware store, but there are other places that sell mailboxes, and there are no shortage of stores that offer them online. One major thing to keep in mind is to be sure that the mailbox you decide on does not break any city codes and is okay to use in your specific neighborhood, as some developments require uniformity when it comes to items like mailboxes. It is also important to be sure the mailbox you purchase is compatible with the post if you buy them separately.

Next you will need to look at the manual that comes with the mailbox post to determine specifications about where the mailbox should be placed and how deep and wide of a hole you need to dig in order for the mailbox to be installed securely. To dig the hole, you should buy, borrow or rent a post hole digger that will help you dig the size hole that is necessary according to the specifications of your mailbox. This type of tool makes it easier to dig a smaller hole to install a mailbox securely, and does so with less difficulty than a regular shovel. You will also need to be sure to dig the hole where the mailbox will be easily accessible when the postman drives up to it.

Next you need to mix the bag of concrete according to the directions on the package. Be sure to pay attention to the time that is necessary for the concrete to dry so that you can pour it at the right time and do not allow it to dry up. While waiting for the concrete to process, put the mailbox post into the hole, place the scrap piece of wood on top of it, and use the hammer to tap it into the hole until it is secure. Before pouring the concrete in the hole, you will need to use the level to be sure that your mailbox post is straight. If it isn’t, carefully make the proper adjustments.

Once you are ready to pour the concrete, do so by using a shovel or spade, and place the concrete into the hole until it reaches about six inches (15 cm) below the surface. Loosely fill in the remainder with dirt, be sure the mailbox post is still level, and allow the concrete to dry, which will usually take at least 24 hours. Once it is dry, you can pack more dirt into the hole before attaching the mailbox to the post if it isn't already connected.

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