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Installing a mailbox post

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Installing a mailbox post

This article is a step-by-step guide to installing a mailbox post on your property.
Whether you have an old mailbox post that has rotted away or you just don't like the one you have, installing a new one is a simple process that can be completed in one day. You can find pre-cut mailbox posts made of wood or metal at almost any home improvement store. They come in many varieties and lengths. If you are choosing a wood post, be sure to buy pressurized wood for the longest life possible. Remember before you do any digging anywhere, you should call the North American One Call Referral Service to be sure you are not going to damage any utility lines that may be running through your property. The number for One Call is 1-888-258-0808. Once you have called and know that you are about to dig in a safe place you are ready to begin.

Be sure to call your local post office for specific regulations about heights and placements of mailboxes. The federal regulation for post height is 42 inches from the ground to the bottom of the mailbox. The post should be at least two feet from the side of the road so that your mail carrier can safely pull off of the side of the road to deliver your mail. If you have purchased an extended post, be sure to compensate for this when you decide where you will place your post. An extended post means that the mailbox will be set closer to the road then it would be if placed it on a straight post. Your local post office will be able to tell you what side of the road the box should be placed in the event that you are installing a box on new property for the first time.

  • The first thing you will need to do is remove the old post if one exists. Use a shovel and dig around the post until it comes loose and can be removed. If the old post was set with cement you will have to dig around the clump of concrete until it can be removed. If you do not have to remove a post, you will need to dig a new hole. Remember to measure out the exact distance you will need and mark the spot before you dig. Measure your pole for length. Subtract 42 inches from the length of the pole to decide how deep the hole will need to be. If you are using a wooden pole, you may want to add four to six inches to this length to allow for gravel to be placed below the pole. If you have 4 to 6 inches of gravel below the post this will help with water drainage and save the bottom of your post from rotting quickly.
  • You can use a shovel or a post-hole digger to dig the hole. A good size for the hole is a foot and a half wide. Remember to dig so that the mark you made for your post is directly in the center of the hole. Once you have your hole dug to the size you need, insert the gravel, if needed, into the bottom of the hole. Insert the post into the center of the hole and measure again to be sure post will be sitting at the required height above the ground.
  • Next you will want to add the concrete. This is a great time to have someone help you if anyone is available. Have them hold the post as you pour the concrete. Be sure to use a level to ensure that the post is straight. You can also use two long pieces of rope or wire to steady the post as you pour. Tie the rope or the wire around the center of the post and use two stakes to secure the post into an upright position.
  • Mix the concrete according to the directions on the bag. You should wear gloves while working with concrete because it may irritate your skin. Once the concrete is mixed you can add it to the hole slowly. Fill the concrete up until it is a few inches short of the top of the hole. Use your level to be sure the post is straight and then leave the concrete to set. Once the concrete has set you can fill in the rest of the hole with dirt. Then let the concrete set until dry. The concrete bag will tell you how long this should take. Once the concrete is dry your new post is ready and you can attach your mailbox to the top.
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