By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A rural-type mailbox at the end of a driveway makes a positive impression about your home especially if it replaces a weatherworn old metal box. You’ll find an array of these mailboxes sold in home centers, specialty catalogs and online. One of the most popular styles is a double-wall resin box designed to withstand the elements and an occasional ding from a passing car mirror. A good choice is one designed with a front and rear opening so it’s easy to open from either end.
A handyman will install a new mailbox for $204, which includes the labor and material, but a homeowner can do the job for $140, the cost of the box, and save 32 percent. There’s some assembly required, which involves sliding the top of the box onto the base and inserting screws into the inside corners. Then slide the base of the new unit over the existing 4x4 wood post, and fasten the new unit to the post with bolts through slots. You’ll need a hammer, crescent wrench and screwdriver. The cost and work will be more if you have to replace the post. You’re ready for delivery after adding easy-to-read house numbers.
Call your local post office to ask if there are requirements for locating a mail box on your property and check with your local building department to find out what the required depth for post holes is. The depth depends on the frost line (how deep the ground freezes) is your area.
To watch a video of how to replace a mailbox go to www.thisoldhouse.com.
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The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to replace a mailbox with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020