Over the years, many mailbox posts tend to develop a slight lean. It may be caused by too many close calls with the snow plow, soil erosion, post rot, or just an improper installation. No matter how beautiful your actual mailbox may be, its beauty is tainted by the leaning post. This can be especially important if you are looking to sell your house in the near future as the mailbox is usually noticed right way. If this fits you, read on for methods on how to fix a leaning mailbox post without digging or using concrete.
Repair for the Common 4×4 Wood Post
This task is easily accomplished using a simple product called the E-Z Mender. We only recommend products that we feel are quality-made and that we buy ourselves (see the reviews on Amazon). This will work regardless if your post is set in concrete, gravel, or dirt.
This reinforcer is over 2 feet long and made of black powder-coated 12-gauge steel. Although originally designed for repairing wood privacy fence posts,we have found that it works excellent on wooden mailbox posts as well. If you just have dirt or gravel surrounding your post, this anchor goes deep enough into the ground that your post will be more solid than when it was new. If you have concrete surrounding your post, this anchor will still wedge in between the wood post and concrete, providing very solid support.
First, you will want to clear away a few inches of debris and dirt surrounding the existing post so that you are able to push the post to an upright standing position. Then place one bracket flush against the post base and hammer in with a small 3-4 lb. sledge hammer. The bracket has an impact ledge on the side for pounding on with your hammer. You may find it easier to place a short 2×4 or wood block on the ledge to increase the amount of surface area. Keep hammering until the ledge is about ground level or you have one foot of the bracket still above the ground. If you are putting this into concrete, try to wedge the bracket between the post and the concrete.
After you have the anchor driven into the ground, you attach it to your post with nails or screws. The are six pre-drilled holes in the bracket for this purpose. The manufacturer recommends two E-Z Menders per post, one on each side. However, you may find that using only one bracket will suffice, depending on your post and the ground conditions.
This option offers a quick DIY method on how to fix a leaning mailbox post, adding durable strength, without digging or using concrete.
Here is what you need to know to install a mailbox and new post.
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A new mailbox may be on your to-do list, whether you just moved into your home or you’re sprucing it up and want to improve your curb appeal. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to brush up on mailbox rules and regulations before you begin to shop for a new one or are building one from scratch.
What are the Curbside Mailbox Requirements?
You’ll typically find curbside mailboxes in areas where the mail carrier delivers mail from a vehicle. A curbside mailbox must meet United States Postal Service specifications for size and construction standards. When purchasing a new curbside box, make sure it has the Postmaster General’s seal of approval. If you want to make your own mailbox, you can order plans from the USPS Engineering Department or take your own designs to the local postmaster for approval.
- For easier nighttime visibility, use reflective letters and numbers on your box. Also, consider using reflectors or reflective tape on the post.
- Persons with disabilities can apply for door delivery. Simply write a letter requesting the change to the postmaster of your town and attach a note from your doctor stating you are unable to collect mail from the curb or post office. Once approved, you may install a door slot or wall mailbox.
- If you receive a substantial volume of mail and small packages, you might consider upgrading to a USPS approved extra-large mailbox that’s package-friendly and fits on most standard posts.
According to postal regulations, all curbside mailboxes must “easily accept a test gauge measuring 18 ½ inches long by 5 inches wide by 6 inches high when inserted with the 6-inch dimension perpendicular to the mailbox floor.”
Otherwise, the minimum and maximum measurements are as follows:
- Length: 18 9/16 to 22 13/16 inches
- Width: 6 ¼ to 11 inches
- Height: 6 to 15 inches
When installing your mailbox at the roadside, use a stable support that will yield or bend if hit by a vehicle. Avoid using concrete or brick pillars or heavy metal posts. The Federal Highway Administration recommends a 4×4-inch wooden post or a 2-inch steel or aluminum pipe, buried no more than 24 inches into the ground. Install the mailbox on the same side of the road as your adjacent neighbors’ boxes. If you’re moving into a new subdivision and there are no other boxes installed yet, check with your local postmaster for placement.
Steps to Replacing a Mailbox and Post:
- Before doing any digging, dial 811 to call your local utility locating service to mark underground pipes and wires.
- Use post hole diggers to dig a hole 2 feet deep.
- Cut the 4×4 post to 4 feet long. Insert two feet into the mailbox post and leave two feet exposed.
- Attach the mailbox post to the pressure-treated post using the supplied lag screws and the socket wrench.
- Attach the mailbox to the post with the supplied screws.
- Position the box so the mail carrier can reach it from inside the vehicle. Set the face of the mailbox 6-8” from the edge of the road and 41-45” higher than the road. If you live where there are no raised curbs, consult with your local postmaster.
- Put your house or apartment number on the side of the box, using numbers at least 1-inch tall, so the mail carrier will easily see it when approaching.
- If your box is on a street different from your address, put your full address on the side of the box.
- Mix the concrete with water in the wheelbarrow.
- Hold the mailbox in place and fill around the post in the hole with concrete. Keep the concrete 4” from the surface.
- Fill the remainder of the hole with topsoil.
Tools & Materials
Tips for Installing Door Slots and Wall Mailboxes
In areas where mail carriers deliver the mail on foot, door slots or wall-mounted boxes are used. For these, the standards are different.
Door slots should measure a minimum of 1 ½ x 7 inches with the bottom of the slot at least 30 inches above the floor. Horizontal slots require a flap hinged at the top and the flaps must swing inward.
A hood over the slot on the interior of the door prevents people from seeing into your home. If you choose to install a hood on a horizontal slot, it shouldn’t project more than 2 1/16 inches beyond the inside of the door. You can find USPS mailbox standards, including those for vertical mail slots, here.
- Remove anything from your front porch area that hides your mailbox. If it hangs on a pillar, trim any obstacles regularly, like climbing vines.
- Don’t leave items or decorative accessories on the front lawn or on the porch that could trip your mail carrier.
Can You Lock Your Mailbox?
Mail theft is a growing concern in urban and suburban settings alike. If you want the peace of mind a locking mailbox affords, there are a few things to know. Your mail carrier cannot accept a key to your box. So, choose a style that allows them to still deliver your mail. Also, make sure the slot in the box is at least 1.75 inches high by 10 inches wide to accommodate a large volume of mail and the various sized packages you want to secure.
If a locking mailbox isn’t an option, here are a few tips to keeping your mail safe:
- If you’re going out of town, stop your delivery while you’re away.
- Don’t leave packages unattended. Remain home when you’re expecting a delivery or ask a trusted neighbor to accept the package for you.
- Set your phone to receive notifications when packages from retailers like Amazon are delivered.
- If you have a home security system, set your camera to capture activity at your door and mailbox. If you don’t already have a security camera, consider installing one.
- Sign up for Informed Delivery. This service sends you notifications each day with photographs of every piece of mail left at your address.
Each spring, check your mailbox for damage and wear. Tighten loose hinges and parts. Make sure the post is sturdy and the door closes tightly to protect your mail from rain. Replace any missing numbers or letters and repaint if rust is apparent. Also, periodically check your mailbox for offensive creatures like spiders, ants, or wasps. And always be sure to keep the path to your mailbox clear for your carrier’s ease of access.
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No one likes soggy mail. Sometimes you can prevent it with a few simple repairs—but sometimes, you can’t.
Winter used to mean snow on the ground. These days, thanks to climate change, it more likely means an increase in cold rain —but either way, ‘tis the season for wet mail, whether in your leaky mailbox or shoved through your drippy mail slot. Whether it’s bills or holiday cards, wet mail can really wreck your day. Here are some things to consider when (or before) attempting to repair your old mailbox.
Can you seal it up?
The most common cause of wet mail in your mailbox is cracks or rust holes in the coating of the box. If your mailbox is encased in brick or otherwise difficult to remove, you can patch it up with a spray sealant , which will run you about $13/can. This waterproofing product goes on like spray paint, and will cover the surface of your mailbox in a rubber coating that can last for years.
However, if your mailbox is simple to remove and there’s more than minor damage, it’s better to replace it rather than try to repair it. You can get a new mailbox for about $25, and it will likely be watertight directly out of the box.
Fix your mailbox’s floppy door
Another common issue with mailboxes is that the door latch can wear out over time. If the door flops open, your mail can definitely get wet or worse, blow away. Fixing your latch is simpler than it might seem. Just remove the broken latch and replace it with a mailbox latch kit (about $8). You can also use a magnetic cabinet latch and attach it to the door of your mailbox for about the same price. For either of these repairs, you should only need a screwdriver and a drill, so it is definitely a job worth tackling before buying a whole new box.
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1. Click Cancel each time you receive the prompt, and close Outlook.
2. Restart your computer. If there is an option to “Update and restart“, choose it to install your pending updates.
3. When your computer has restarted and you are logged back in, open the Control Panel. The Control Panel can be found by searching for it by clicking the magnifying glass in the task bar and then typing “Control Panel“.
The Control Panel will open.
4. When the Control Panel is open, use the Control Panel search box to search for “mail“, then click on Mail (32-bit).
5. Click on the Show Profiles button.
6. Click the Remove button until all listed profiles are removed.
7. When prompted with “Careful, if you remove this profile…“, click on Yes.
8. Repeat this process until all profiles are removed, then click OK.
9. Open Outlook.
10. On the “Welcome to Outlook 2016” screen, click Next.
11. On the Microsoft Outlook Account Setup screen, select Yes when asked “Do you want to set up Outlook to connect to an email account.”
12. On the Add Account screen, click Next.
13. You may be prompted to enter your password for your previous @campus.mnsu.edu account. Click on “Sign in with another account“.
14. When prompted for an email address, enter your new username, then click Next.
Faculty and Staff:
*If you are both an employee and a student, set up your primary email account first. You can then add the other email account later.
15. Enter your password, then click Sign in.
16. When Outlook completes setup for your account click Finish.
Outlook will open and begin downloading your mail and folders. This process can take a while if you have a significant amount of email. You can see your synchronization status in the bottom bar of Outlook.
We suggest letting Outlook finish its initial download of mail before exiting. (You can minimize the window and continue using your machine while you wait.)
Are you embarrassed by your roadside mailbox? Is the paint chipped or does it lean like the Tower of Pisa? The mailbox is the “introduction” to your home. It’s usually the first thing guests notice when they arrive. Make the postman a happy camper by repairing your worn, leaning or broken letter holder.
How to Repair a Leaning Mailbox
Mailboxes mounted on posts tend to lean over time due to soil conditions, rotting wood or physical damage. If the lean is slight and there’s no concern of a broken, rotting or damaged post underground, follow these steps to straighten the stake.
Mailbox posts are sold at hardware stores and home centers, and available in a wide range of materials:
Molded plastic posts are available in a variety of shapes, color, and designs. Some have extras such as newspaper holders. Plastic mailbox posts are very durable and will outlast most wood or metal posts.
Metal- Galvanized Steel or Aluminum
Galvanized steel posts are very durable, but aluminum posts, although more costly, won’t rust like galvanized steel.
Wood posts are economical and a natural looking choice. They are available in pine, cedar, redwood and other wood varieties and both untreated and pressure treated.
A simple 4×4 or 6×6 cut from the hardware store or home center can serve as a sturdy post. You’ll also need a 3/4″ to 1″ section to serve as a base support for the mailbox. Size the length of this piece to leave some free space at the front so the mailbox door can open and close freely.
Installing the Post
Using a post hole digger, dig a hole 18″ to 24″ deep. If you have rocky soil, use a mason’s bar to pry up and remove large rocks.
Throw 4″ to 6″ of gravel or small stones into the bottom of the hole to improve drainage. Hold the post upright as you fill it, making minor adjustments as you go.
Tamp down the soil with a shovel handle or a mason’s bar, packing it in every 6″ to 12″ or so, filling in around the post. Check to make sure the post is vertical as you go. Use a level by placing it on the side of the post.
- Before filling the hole, add a few large rocks around the post for support.
- Check with your local US post office concerning postal mailbox regulations regarding box placement, including height, location, and distance.
Painting or Staining Your Mailbox
If your mailbox has a chip in it or is faded and dirty, freshen it up with a new coat of paint or stain.
First, clean the interior and exterior of the box removing any mildew, mold or lichen. Spray on Wet & Forget Outdoor mold and mildew cleaner being sure to saturate any growth. Walk away, and let the rain and wind do the work for you – no scrubbing or scraping required.
- Drop cloth
- Cleaning rag
- Soapy hot water
- Wire brush
- Painter’s tape
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Spray paint or stain for metal, plastic, or wood; your selected color, plus red
- Narrow foam brush
Find a well-ventilated area to do the job, such as the garage. Put down the drop cloth.
Remove the mailbox from the post with a screwdriver. Set the screws aside.
Dip a cleaning rag in hot soapy water and wipe down the surfaces, inside and out, removing oils, dust, and dirt. Rinse and dry.
Check the mailbox surfaces for signs of rust. If you find a rust spot, use a wire brush to remove it. Wipe away any loose metal shavings or paint flakes with a clean rag.
Wrap the mailbox flag in painter’s tape to protect it from overspray.
Spray the mailbox with primer making sure to cover the door, back and the area underneath the door. Applying a primer will provide a textured surface for the paint to adhere to more easily. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours.
Apply the paint, spraying in sections in slow, even strokes. Let dry 24 hours.
After cleaning your mailbox, sand the wood evenly to remove any extra debris on the mailbox.
Spray the mailbox in sections with your stain. Wipe off excess stain for a lighter coating, or apply the stain a second time to get a darker coat on your mailbox. Let the stain dry for 24 hours.
Remove the painter’s tape from the flag. Paint the flag using a narrow foam brush and a dab of red metallic paint.
When the mailbox and flag are dry, place the box back on the post and reattach it with the screws.
Mailboxes can wear and tear as they are regularly exposed to the elements. Your mailbox will be looking brand new after repairing the post and painting the surface! Sprucing up your mailbox will add significant curb appeal to your home.
The mailbox is mounted on a 4×4 that was sunk into a concrete base about 18″ below ground level. The 4×4 snapped off about 6″ below ground. I really don’t want to excavate the concrete and re-pour.
Is there a sleeve or joiner made that I could slide both sides of the snapped 4×4 into in order to secure each side with screws and join them (below ground) before re-mounting the mailbox? Where can I find something like this? The break on the post is jagged and I don’t know that I can excavate the part of the post in the ground enough to square off the top so I could use a simple joiner with a plate in between the two post pieces. Any ideas?
11 Answers 11
THIS ANSWER IS WRONG! I misread the question as the 4×4 having broken 6 inch ABOVE the ground.
With 6” (15cm) above the ground remaining (assuming that those 6 inch are solid and you already trimmed off any splintered bits), you should have enough left to use angle joints*.
Cut off the bottom piece of wood in such a way that the most non-splintered wood remains (this can even be at an angle), then cut the new 4×4 accordingly (flat or in the mirrored angle as the bottom), then use two longer (or broader?) angle joints in the area where both pieces connect so that the wood is (almost completely or fully) surrounded by metal. Then drive in screws as you see appropriate. Ideally you want a really really long angle joint of 2x 6 inch, so you use all of the wood that’s still in the ground for max stability
This solution would be by far the easiest, and with the right angle joints and enough screws also very stable.
*sorry for the German link, it’s just to show you that somewhat right-sized angle joints exist [btw. I’m not even sure angle joints is the right word, but now you have a pic so you can maybe search with the right word]. The one linked is only 1.5 inches broad, so maybe too slim for a 4×4 (the broader the joint, the more stability), and with 7.8 inches on the shorter end, but a) I’m sure there are bigger ones b) with it being so slim you could use one for each corner instead of 2 angles c) even with just 2 of these it should be enough stability for a mailbox.
Screw this down through the old wood post. The depicted ground screw is 27 inches but I am sure you can find others if that is too long. The screw will be anchored in the old wood all the way down and through into the concrete. The top of the ground screw will hold your new post.
If it broke off below grade, you can fill in the original hole and use a drive-in stake anchor for a new post in a new spot.
As long as you have the ability to move left or right a foot or so, this should be viable. Note that you’ll still need to call to have buried utilities marked before driving in the new anchor.
This might be overkill, but it does solve the “no re-pour” requirement
- Get some concrete and a single post tie designed to be put into concrete (i.e. for decking). You can typically find these in the area with pressure treat 4x4s. Make sure you buy fasteners as well (deck screws and/or galvanized bolts)
- Pour concrete into the hole. Put your post-tie into your wet concrete and let it cure
- Cut your new post to size and mount to the post tie
Again, this is overkill, but it would afford you a (theoretically) easier to replace post the next time around.
I had the exact same problem. I got a 6 foot dig bar and just chopped the heck out of the 12 inches of wood remaining in the square hole and was able to remove all of the wood. I got a new 4×4, cut it to the proper length and rammed it into the existing concrete hole and then screwed the mailbox on to the top of the new post. I’ve done this with fence posts many times too.
For what it’s worth. You are only borrowing trouble if you don’t remove the old post. The trick to removing a post is that you do not dig it out. You attach a jack to it and pull it out.
Your challenge is that your post is broken off. Drill a pilot hole and them use a 6″ lag bolt to secure a piece of chain to your stump. Attach the chain to your jack and pull it like a tooth.
Can you dry everything thoroughly and just glue the 4×4 back together? It’s a mailbox, so it doesn’t cary a large load. You’ll need waterproof glue. Probably polyurethane. You’ll need to clamp the pieces together while they dry.
You can use the “wings” on that product to attach a 1×4 along the sides of the post, if it needs extra support.
It happened once, it will happen again.
I’d start by getting as much of the old post out as possible. Perhaps a hole saw on the end of a longer shank would chew out the center. Another option is a larger forstener bit to munch the remains of the post.
(Updated – not recommended) If you’re competent with a chainsaw it may be possible to plunge-cut downward and eat out the post from the inside. This needs a long bar and a chain you’re prepared to damage if it kisses the concrete. Plus kickback could be horrendous. (I’m no chainsaw user, check with someone qualified)
A shop-vac would help to pull out dislodged pieces and keep drilling.
A crowbar or pry bar would help push splinters off the walls and corners of the hole.
You might be tempted to try and burn the wood in the middle out – however that runs the risk of cracking the concrete, presuming you can ignite a fire with limited air supply. Plus it will be treated wood and that’s both hard to light and releases nasty chemicals once it is burning.
When the hole is clear, use a spokeshave to subtly taper the new post for the depth of the hole, and then sharpen the bottom 2 inches/50mm to a 90 degree point. Drop some sand or gravel, or some wet concrete into the hole and fit the post. The gravel will form a “cup” to reduce rocking due to the slight taper. Concrete will do the same but will form a socket.
Next time the post needs replacing, simply bring up your old measurements and carve a new post with a taper and point. Then either just lift out the stub by hand, or screw an eyebolt into the stump and lever it up and out.
You may need to cut one or two thin wedges to hammer into the post hole beside the post, to take up any slop. Or you could use a sealant around the top to try and minimise rain/snow ingress.
A damaged or old mailbox flag can make the entire mailbox look worn. Luckily, it is easy to replace just the flag.
Шаг 1 Flag
Place the bracket into the flag – this will help to secure it to the mailbox.
Place the rubber o-ring onto the bracket.
Insert the bracket of the assembled flag through the holes on the outside of the mailbox.
Push the flag keeper through the bracket until the flag reaches the desired tightness.
You are finished! Stand your flag up to ensure it works and is at the desired tightness.
If you would like your flag tighter, push the flag keeper in further.
To take the flag off your mailbox, follow these instructions in reverse order.
To take the flag off your mailbox, follow these instructions in reverse order.
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Step 2 is wrong. It shows the bracket being pushed into the wrong side of the flag. If you push it into the flat side, as shown, not enough of the bracket will stick inside the mailbox for the flag keeper to be inserted.
Winters are rough here in the Northeast. Our mailbox can take a real beating against the snowplows as they come through. Because of that, right now, our mailbox wobbles. We need to set it straight. There is so much rock underneath the post, we have to get creative since we won’t be able to dig a deeper hole. I found an old plastic flower pot in the shed. This was a way to recycle and re-purpose plastic, as I try to stay away from this material. It works well in an application such as this, however, because it’s flexible. When the mail carrier drives up, her car gets super-close to the mailbox and sometimes hits whatever is at the base. A hard, metal surround would not work as it may cause damage to her vehicle. (I know this from experience!)
Plastic flower pot
Cleaning up the Flower Pot
It needed a good cleaning, plus a sticker had to be scraped off.
Removing the bottom of the Flower Pot
The next step was to try to remove the bottom of the pot so the post could be set down into it.
Bottom of flower pot
My first attempt was with scissors.
Cutting bottom of flowerpot
That really didn’t work out so well, so I got something a little more heavy duty out of the barn.
It worked! Although it’s a little rough, here is the result – complete with Finn in the “frame.”
Finn through the flower pot
The Next Steps
Once all that was done, we had to step outside to assess the situation.
Removing the Bolts
Do you see how, at the bottom, it is strangely angled? It wobbled to and fro. I once had a little wood border around it to try to help keep it anchored, but it rotted and fell apart. Within it, I had placed plants, which are sitting in the black bucket. Joel had to get the bolts out of the metal piece which was holding the wood post. See the wrench sticking out?
Removing bolts 2
Taking out the Post
Once that was done, the wood post slid out pretty easily. The bolt removal had the challenge of rust, and the post is a little bit rotted, but not enough to cause too much concern.
Mailbox post bracket
From here, we slid the blue, bottomless flowerpot over the top, then placed the post back in. After that, Joel tightened the bolts again. It was a little bit of a squeeze where space was concerned, but he made it work. Then, we filled in the surrounding flowerpot with soil and the plants.
Mailbox post in bucket
The plants I used were Morning Glories, Bee Balm, and a Day lily. The Day lily and the Bee Balm have finished blooming, but the Morning Glory is still going strong. Since the Day lily and Bee Balm are perennial, I have my fingers crossed that they will come back strong next year.
The Mailbox Transformation
Here is a final look from afar.
Mailbox with flowers
The post still looks a little slanted, but the good news is, it doesn’t wobble anymore!
The great thing is, as we say in Permaculture, “the problem is the solution.” This wobbly post offered us an opportunity to create a small garden area. Yes, it’s very small, but it is beautiful and helps secure the mailbox post all at the same time. By recycling a plastic pot we already had, we were helping the environment out by just a little bit. And every little bit helps!
Do you have tips and tricks for turning a “problem into a solution?” I’d love to know!