Your curbside mailbox is the first impression your guests (and neighbors) have of your residence. So the proper installation of your residential post mount mailbox can make a huge difference in how people perceive your home.
Mailbox Installation Instructions
To help you understand how to install a mailbox post, here are the primary steps you should take before you dig your mailbox post hole:
Step #1: Contact your local Post Office – The United States Postal Service (USPS) can outline the proper mailbox placement rules and measurements. Be sure to ask for mailbox mounting height and mailbox distance from road or curb. The typical post mount mailbox height is normally between 40” to 44”above the ground. The typical mailbox setback is normally between 6” to 8” from the curb. Be sure to contact your local post office as mailbox placement regulations do vary throughout the United States.
Step #2: Before you dig – Be sure to call 811 to speak with your local utility locating service, which are fournd throughout most of the United States.
Step #3: Wear protection – Be sure to wear proper protective eyewear and gloves during mailbox installation. Secure the digging area so that no child or adult is endangered by an unprotected, open hole.
Step #4: Make sure the hole is deep enough – Dig an 8” to 10” diameter hole for the mailbox post at least two feet deep with a clamshell digger (or you can rent a gas-powered post-hole digger (auger) from a local equipment rental yard.
Wooden Mailbox Posts
Add six inches to the hole depth if you are using a wooden mailbox post so that you can fill the bottom six inches of the hole with rock (any type of rock is fine). Placing rocks in the bottom of the post hole allows water to drain away quickly from the bottom of the mailbox post and will reduce the possibility of the bottom of your post rotting.
Once you have located the spot where you will install your post mount residential mailbox, there are two very different, yet equally effective approaches to actually completing your mailbox post installation:
- The Farmer Method
- The Engineer Method
One of the most common approaches to installing a mailbox post is very similar to the way a farmer sets a fence post. This is the “get-er-done” approach to post mount mailbox installation. The farmer method is quick and easy, and gets the job done. If you are looking for a fast and easy way to install a mailbox post and prefer a more natural look (no concrete) at the base of the mailbox post, follow the farmer method.
- Fill bottom third of mailbox post hole with water.
- Set the mailbox post in the hole. If you need to lengthen your post, screw a 4×4 block of wood, cut to the length you desire, to the bottom of the post.
- Pour dry concrete mix into the hole. Most mailbox post installations require a 60 lb. bag of dry concrete. Pour a little more water on top of the concrete mix. The concrete mix in the ground will soak in both the water you poured earlier in the bottom and the water from the top.
- Plumb (vertically level) the mailbox post using a post level tool (to ensure post is perfectly vertical to the ground below). Tip: To free up your hands, use a rubber band around the leveling tool and mailbox post as you eyeball the level and move the post into position.
- Pack topsoil tightly around the mailbox post to hold it secure while the concrete sets.
- For best results, wait 24 hours before mounting your residential mailbox on top of the mailbox post. If the outside temperature is less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the concrete to set an additional two hours for each degree under 45 degrees.
- Follow manufacturer’s installation directions to mount your residential post mount mailbox to the top of your mailbox post.
The Engineer Method of Mailbox Post Installation
Another common approach for installing a residential post mount mailbox is very similar to the exact step-by-step methods that engineers utilize to ensure consistency. It’s not as fast as the farmer approach, but if you prefer a more finished concrete look at the base of the mailbox post, then utilize this approach for your mailbox installation.
- Set the mailbox post into the hole, mounting-end up. Align the face of the post toward the direction you wish to mount the mailbox door or receiving end of the mailbox. If you are using a round metal pole, this may not matter. If you need to lengthen your post, screw a 4×4 block of wood, cut to the length you desire, to the bottom of the post.
- Tie four five foot long, 3mm to 5mm diameter ropes or strings to top of the mailbox post and extend each rope out in four equidistant directions. Anchor each end with a tent stake.
- Once the pole is set, pour six inches of mixed concrete into the hole. The consistency of the concrete should be similar to chunky peanut butter. Do not get in a hurry and fill the entire hole – the idea here is to get enough concrete into the hole that the mailbox post can be plumbed (vertically leveled) but not so much concrete that you cannot move the post. Six inches is often the right amount.
- Once you get your initial six inches of concrete into the hole and around the mailbox post, allow the cement to set up for approximately 25-30 minutes.
- Plumb the mailbox post using a post level tool (to ensure post is perfectly vertical to the ground below). Tip: Use a rubber band around the post level tool and post to free up your hands.
- Once you have plumbed the post, adjust the tension on the ropes to hold the mailbox post in the desired position.
- Once the anchor ropes have been set, choose one of these two alternatives:
(a) Either fill the remainder of the hole with cement and trowel finish the top of the cement with the ground for a concrete-finished look;
(b) Or fill the remainder of the mailbox post hole except for the final four inches. Then backfill the final four inches with topsoil and/or sod to mask the concrete below. Remember, this will result in a constant need to weed around the post.
- For best results, wait 24 hours before removing the ropes and tent stakes. If the outside temperature is under 45 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the concrete to set an additional two hours for each degree under 45 degrees.
- Follow the manufacturer’s mailbox installation instructions to mount your residential post mount mailbox to the top of your post.
Either way you choose to install your residential mailbox post, be sure to send a photo of your completed curbside mailbox installation project to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to show off your new residential post mount mailbox in our Mailboxworks’ mailboxes photo gallery.
The mailbox post installation methods described above are for a ground mount replacement post, where the mailbox post is buried in the ground. The Mailboxworks also offers decorative stand mount posts on some mailbox models, which are shorter posts that have a flat bottom that is bolted to a cement base.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and would prefer to have us install a new mailbox post for you, ask us about our mailbox post installation services.
For more information or if you have any further questions about putting in or replacing a mailbox post, please contact our mailbox experts toll free at 1-800-824-9985.