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You May Need a Handyman...

You may need a handyman, if your mailbox is being held together with bungee cords, phone cords, or shoe laces. Yes I have seen them all.

I recently helped a customer with a mail box that appeared to follow a lunar cycle. It tilted one way and if you touched it, it tilted the other way. Its time had come. Winter was coming. So we replaced it while the ground was still soft.

You can replace your own mail box post. The process is straight forward. Since you will be digging at least a couple of feet down by the curb, Call Before You Dig just to be safe! (in CT 800-922-4455). Do this two days out so that the local utilities can mark their wires/pipes. Even if you are just using a shovel, you might be surprised by what you find. You will need to paint or stake where you will be working.

Removing the old post might have been done for you by a car, rot or other gremlins. If not, you can push, pull and or dig it out. If you have room, you can move down ten inches and put in a new hole. I saved the turf from above the hole to replace around the post and over the old post. You can use a shovel, but a set of post hole diggers makes digging a narrow straight hole a quick task. I like to put the soil in buckets to manage better and protect the grass. Once you are down deep enough, 24 inches is fine- we want the cars to win, not the post, you can set your post.

The post office has guidelines for height and distance from road here.

To hold the post in place, you can use a jig made from your above-mentioned stakes and another set for the other side. See photos.

Using CBYD stakes to hold post plumb.

Check for level on top and plumb on 2 adjacent faces. Mix 50 to 60lbs of concrete and pour this in the hole around your post tamping down to close any gaps. Recheck for level and plumb

Plumb face 1

Plumb face 2

And Level up top.

and my favorite, square to the road! Years ago I had replaced my mail box post. It was plumb both ways, but pointed off just enough from perpendicular to the street to aggravate me, the perfectionist. My neighbor still kids me about this frustration years later. As you can see in these shots, I have a method to address this.

Recall from art class, all lines recede to the focal point on the horizon

I do it by laying a 4 foot level flush with the front edge of the box plate. Then I sight it down the road both ways. At this point I painted my primed post the color of the old post. I cut a new box plate which is what sits on the horizontal beam and is screwed to the underside of the mailbox. The previous one had rotted. Once the post is painted, the box goes on. Soon the concrete is firm enough to hold the post. You can leave a flush concrete cap, or if you are using pressure treated wood, feel free to back fill with a little soil and reuse the sod you saved earlier.

You've got mail.

Like it never even happened!

If this does not sound like fun to you, or you have other things to do, you could call A Home And Garden Handyman to do it for you.

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