Installing your own mailbox is an easy do-it-yourself project that doesn’t take much skill or tools to do the job well. A well-placed and decorated mailbox can add a nice aspect to your landscaping or yard. Also, mailboxes can easily be mounted on walls outside your house or along a fence. Both installation processes are relatively easy and inexpensive and don’t require too much planning in advance, so you don’t need to hire professionals to get this job.
Before beginning this DIY homeowners project, look into the specific requirements laid out by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that you must follow when installing a new mailbox on your property or home. Then, follow our step-by-step guide to help you install a mailbox on your property.
What You’ll Need
Before you get started, be sure you have what you need:
Dig Post Hole
Keeping the USPS requirements in mind, which says that a mailbox can be no higher than 45 inches above the street level, select your spot, and post accordingly. Choose a spot on your lawn six to eight inches from the curb. Because the curb itself is a few inches high, plan to have your mailbox around 42 inches off the ground. This is the standard mailbox height. You will likely want your post to be sufficiently buried in the ground, so measure your post beforehand to ensure it comes around 42 inches off the ground once buried. Using your post digger, dig a hole for your mailbox post at your chosen spot. Dig down no more than two feet so your post will be the right height. Also, don’t dig too shallowly otherwise your mailbox will be too high.
Insert Mailbox Post
The mailbox post you use is important. Not only should it be the appropriate height as per USPS regulation requirements, but it also needs to follow Federal Highway Administration recommendations. A mailbox pole should be stable enough to stand but soft enough to bend or fall over if hit by a moving vehicle. With this in mind, wood and aluminum are the best materials to use for posting up your mailbox. Materials such as metal or concrete are unyielding, and while they are stable, they are dangerous if hit. Choose a 2-inch aluminum pipe or a 4 x 4-inch wooden post.
Once you have chosen your post, place the mailbox post into the freshly dug hole. In preparation for cement, use supports to prop up the post in the hole so it’s not tipping from side to side. Make sure these supports are steady so the post doesn’t wiggle when the cement is poured. You can also use a level to check that your post is straight.
While it’s not necessary to use concrete to set a mailbox post in the ground, it will help increase the stability of your mailbox. Prepare the ready mix cement according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Pour the concrete around the post into the hole to just about a few inches before the ground level. You don’t want the concrete to be flush with the ground, but instead a little below the surface. We recommend using fast-drying concrete, if possible.
Once you’ve poured the concrete, check that the post hasn’t moved after. Use the level to make sure it’s still level, and if it has moved, adjust it quickly before the concrete dries. Now it’s time to wait and allow the concrete to dry. Check the manufacturer instructions for more detailed information on drying time, as dry time can be different depending on the kind of concrete. Once the concrete is dry, you can remove the support beams from around the post.
Your New Mailbox
Now it’s time to attach your new mailbox! Using your drill if needed, attach the mailbox to the mailbox post according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mailboxes come in many styles, so each one may have its own way of attaching. Once the mailbox has been attached to the post, it’s time to label it. According to USPS requirements, mailboxes need to be clearly labeled with the house number and letters. You can easily get letter and number stickers at your local hardware store or online that are at least one inch tall and can be applied to your mailbox. If your mailbox is not right in front of your house, you may need to add more than just your house number like your name and address. It’s best to always check with your local post office to be sure you have everything done properly according to regulations. Once the stickers are on, you’ve got yourself a brand-new mailbox! Plant flowers or other decorative plants around the base of your mailbox to make it another aesthetically pleasing addition to your front yard.
Installing a wall mailbox is more straightforward than a ground mount. Check with local post regulations to be sure you choose the right wall or fence area to mount your mailbox. Once you’ve chosen it, simply mark the area where your mailbox will go, drill the holes, install the mounting hardware, and hang your mailbox.
Whether you are replacing an old mailbox or installing a new one, mailbox installations are a simple DIY project that most homeowners can easily do on their own.
While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.