Fix-It Chick: Install a rural mailbox

Installing a rural-type mailbox and post requires a little forethought and just about enough elbow grease to dig a 3-foot hole.

Step 1: Call Dig Safe by dialing 811 before digging any hole to avoid damage to underground cables or pipes.

Step 2: Choose a spot to mount the mailbox that meets all local and national codes and regulations. According to the U.S. Postal Service, the bottom of the mailbox should be between 41 inches and 45 inches above the ground. The front of the mailbox should be 6 inches to 8 inches from the edge of the road.

Step 3: Dig a hole that is three times the diameter of the mailbox post and has a depth a little over one-third the height of the overall post.

Step 4: Pour 6 inches of gravel into the hole for drainage, and then set the post into the hole.

Step 5: Adjust the position of the post to assure the mailbox will meet all the necessary height and distance requirements.

Step 6: Fill the hole around the post with dry concrete mix. Leave room at the top of the hole for about 3 inches of soil. Regular concrete mix with gravel aggregate will work fine for setting the post. A fast-setting concrete mix will make the job a little quicker and eliminate the need to brace the post while the concrete sets up.

Step 7: Following the concrete manufacturer’s instructions, pour the required amount of water into the hole and allow the concrete to set, making sure the post stays level throughout the process.

Step 8: Once the concrete has set, top off the last 3 inches of the hole with soil.

Step 9: Use a set of metal mounting braces or a scrap of 1-inch thick lumber cut to fit the length and width of the mailbox bottom. Attach the mounting braces or board to the mailbox post, following the manufacturer’s instructions if applicable.

Step 10: Use 1-inch-long weather-resistant screws to attach the mailbox to the mounting board or use stainless steel machine screws and nuts to attach the mailbox to the mounting brace.

Step 11: Once the mailbox is securely in place, mark the sides and front with the street address and install some reflectors on the post sides to discourage nighttime accidents.