Every summer, my husband takes a group of students to youth camp as part of his job as a youth minister. In his usual fashion, two days before he was leaving, he decided to mow the yard and do a bit of outdoor maintenance. And, as usually happens before he is getting ready to go on a trip, this happened.
Yep, that’s our mailbox post. The post had been wiggly for a few weeks, but we went through a period of rain a while back, and we thought that it had loosened the ground around the mailbox. But, no, the post was broken down inside the ground. One attempt at packing dirt around it brought it down to the ground.
We made a mad dash to the hardware store to pick up the supplies to replace the mailbox. We already had several of the items that we needed at home, but we needed the wooden post. Since the lid on the mailbox was also loose, we decided to go ahead and replace it, too. Here are the supplies and directions on how we replaced our mailbox post.
- Mailbox post
- Mailbox mounting board- This is a piece that fits under the mailbox to secure it to the post. Some hardware stores have these available in the mailbox section. If not, you can always cut your own to size.
- Screws for the mailbox (check the mailbox package for recommended size)
- Power drill
- Cement (one bag is sufficient)
- Large bucket for mixing cement
- Tape measure
- Gravel (only a small amount)
- House numbers for mailbox (the kind that screws into the mailbox post or the type that stick onto the mailbox itself)
- Optional: post-hole diggers
This post details how we installed a new mailbox post using cement. For installing without cement, the following guidelines may be used, omitting the portions that include the cement.
First, begin by reading the USPS mailbox guidelines. I’m linking to the site rather than posting here because they may change from time to time, and it is always best to read guidelines like this for oneself. Find these guidelines here. Take note of the required height of the mailbox and the distance of the mailbox from the curb. Jot these numbers down because you will need them during installation.
If the old post did not completely come out of the ground, begin by removing the old post. The previous owners of our home did not cement the post in the ground, and our ground was soft from recent rain, so the post came out cleanly, howbeit broken. If the post is cemented into the ground or does not remove cleanly, dig it out of the ground.
We read several online resources and found that most recommended cementing the post into the ground. Even though the previous owners did not, we decided to cement ours this time. We needed a bit larger hole to add the gravel and the cement. We put the post-hole diggers to work removing some of the dirt within the hole.
Add a bit of gravel to the bottom of the hole. We did not add a set amount. The gravel is to add a base for the cement. Be aware that the gravel adds to the height of the post. We had our post at the perfect USPS recommended height, but once we added our gravel it changed significantly. Dig the hole a little deeper for the gravel if you are cementing the post.
Place the post into the ground, pushing it into the gravel as much as possible. Measure to see if the post is the recommended height. Remember to add a few inches for the mailbox.
Grab the level and make sure the post is level.
Once we were satisfied with the results, we were ready to cement. Mix the cement as directed on the package. Place cement in the hole around the post up to close to the top of the hole. Let dry for 24 hours.
Fill dirt in around the hole.
Now, it’s time to attach the mailbox. Using screws and the drill, attach the mounting board to the top horizontal portion of the post. Place the mailbox securely on the mounting board. Add screws to attach the mailbox firmly to the board. Depending on the type of screw, you may need washers. Again, this is dependent on the type of mailbox and the screw size that you are using.
Lastly, be sure to attach your house number to the mailbox. This is required by the Postmaster, so don’t forget this step!
The entire process took us around 24 hours.