Your mailbox fell over—what do you do? One of the first things on the list is to call Texas811. Really! Even though you may not see the need, it is a necessary step, especially if you’re planning on replacing the mailbox yourself. Here are some steps to take to get your new mailbox in place.
- Call Texas811: If you plan to install your new mailbox, it’s advisable to give us a call before you begin so we can mark any underground impediments.
- Get ready to pull: After everything has been marked off, determine if your mailbox was embedded in cement. If it was not cemented in, you can just use some elbow grease to pull any remnants out.
- Reinforce your lumber: Nail or screw a piece of lumber (2×4 or larger) to the post at or within a few inches of ground level.
- Pry with all your might: Use a pry bar or something similar and straighten the post using another board.
- Dig a new hole if needed: If the mailbox was initially cemented in, it may be easier to dig a new hole close by instead of trying to remove the cement.
- Get the U.S. Post Office involved: In February 2001, the U.S. Postal Service instituted specific requirements such as having the vertical height of the mailbox from the surface bottom between 41 and 45 inches, and the distance from the outside edge of the curb to the front of the mailbox 6 to 8 inches. As of December 2004, there were no longer specific height and location requirements, but the agency insists the post to be approved by your local postal branch. The USPS has the latest requirements on its mailbox guidelines page.
- Get an underground preservative: There are a variety of choices available when choosing a new mailbox. Cedar will rot, so if your old mailbox is made of cedar, go ahead and choose a new material. Once you have decided on what mailbox you want, it’s time to prepare for installation. Make sure you have an underground preservative, and follow the instructions for the specific preservative you buy. You will want to soak the post in the solution overnight if possible.
- Re-install old or install new mailbox: Try to avoid cementing the post. Dig the new or existing hole to about 18 to 24 inches. Use an appropriate shovel for the type of soil you have. Once you have your hole, insert the post.
- Add gravel and level the post: It’s recommended to put about 4 to 6 inches of gravel in the bottom of the hole where the post will go in. This helps protect the post from water damage. Fill the rest of the hole with packed gravel in stages, about 6 to 12 inches at a time. When using the level, check it from the side, not the top of the post.
Installing your mailbox can be a fairly simple process, just be sure you check with your local U.S. Postal Service for guidelines. To get more information on mailbox posts, visit our website.