May 9, 2010
Have you ever wanted a masonry mailbox, if you have then your in the right place to learn how to build your very own brick mailbox or a stone mailbox. I will go over all the materials and tools needed to complete this project and approximate costs.
I am going to go over the brick mailbox because it will be easier for you to complete. First you will need your design layed out, the simplest way to build your maibox is a 24 Inch square with a 16inch block pillar in the center. Next you will need to gather all your materials, you will need 3, 80 pound bags of Quickcrete, 16 8 inch block and 12 4 inch block and then roughly 200 brick of your choice. You will also need to pick out a good sturdy steel mailbox and a piece of sandstone that is 26 inches square and 4 inches thick for the top cap. The tools you will need are a good digging shovel, wheelbarrow, hoe, trowel, hammer, striking iron and and masons brush.
Step one, dig down 36 inches and 4 inches bigger than your mailbox base in the above example you would dig a hole that is 32 inces square. If you are on a street with underground utilities running along the street you are only going to be able to dig down no more than 12 inches, you will have to check with your utilities to find this out. Ideally though you should make it 36″ deep to clear the freeze line, especially if you live in the north.
Next prepare your footer by driving a grade stake down into the center of the hole 8″ off of the bottom, this will be the thickness or hieght of your footer. Now mix your quickcrete thouroughly and pour it into the hole till you just cover the grade stake, try to make footer as level as possible, it may be somewhat difficult especailly since you will be reaching 3 feet into the ground. Now let your footer set up and return the next day to build your mailbox.
The next step in the process is to build the center block column our of the 8 inch block and 4 inch block. find the center of your footer, mark it and measure 8 inches each dirrection, this will be where your main culumn will set. After you have marked out your square mix your mortar and start laying block. Place two 8 inch side by side and try to make them as level as possible, first course is most important, if you can’t get it level in the first course be sure that you are level and straight by the third, which should place you right at about 4 inches below ground level, now continue to lay your block up 5 more courses, be sure that these are straight and level. After you have layed these you need to install your brick ledge, you do this by using the 4 inch block. Place the block around the base of the column as close to the column as possible up just three courses which should place you at once again 4 inches below grade.
Now that your column and brick ledge are in place its time to install your brick. Run your brick on top of the brick ledge which should work to fit the brick perfectly. Be sure to switch bond every course to make sure you are left with a nice looking brick job. Every course check for level and plum to be sure that your mailbox is not leaning, and then strike your joints every 2 to 3 courses as well, so they dont get two hard on you. If you are installing brick correctly you should have 3 courses of brick to every course of block, so if you layed 4 courses above grade then you should end up with 15 courses of brick. to the top of the block column.
Now it is time to install your mailbox, take your mailbox out of its packaging and place it on top of your colomn and brick with the face of it facing the road, test open the door to be sure that the brick below is not interfering with the door. Your mailbox door should be resting approximately 1 to 2 inches off the face of the brick. Now continue to lay your brick up and past your mailbox, you will have to make cuts with a saw or with a hammer if you are skilled enough to do it. Be sure to fill mortar in around mailbox to lock it in place.
After you have struck all your joints and brushed your work down it is now time to install the cap, you can do this with brick or buy a piece of sandstone that is 4 inches thick and that is 1 inch bigger on all sides of your masonry column, in the above example the sandstone should be 26 inches square. Run a bead of mortar all the way around your top course, now place the sandstone lightly on top and level it up, remove excess mortar and vwela you have yourself a brick mailbox, If you are skilled enough you can do the above project with a stone veneer, but it is only recommended if you are familiar with the masonry trades.
If you like this post then visit my blog at http://custom-built-masonry.com/wordpress to see other projects as well.