February 26, 2011
Spring is right around the corner and its time to spruce up your front yard. One great way to do this is buy building a brick mailbox or a stone mailbox if you like. A masonry mailbox can add a grand entrance feeling at the end driveway.
In order to start your project you are going to need the proper tools. You are going to need a mason’s trowel, masons hammer, jointer a 4ft level and a 2ft level. You will also need a good spaded shovel for digging your hole for the footer. If you plan to put any arches on it then you will also need a masons saw as well.
To start the project you must first dig a hole that is about 36 inches in depth and that is about 24 inches square. After you your hole dug it is a good idea to drive a steel piece of re-bar that is at least 2 foot long down into the hole until about 4 inches of it is exposed. Next mix up some Sac-Crete and pour into the hole until the steel re-bar is completely covered. Let it set up for a bit and gather your materials for the next stage.
Now that your footer is set up and dry you want to start laying up the brick mailbox’s foundation. Get 12 4 inch solid blocks and lay 4 per course. Put the first block down and make sure it is level. Then butt a block up to the end of the block to make a “L” looking shape, Be sure that this block and the next 2 are level as well. Continue to lay the 4 inch block down until you have a square, then continue to lay up two more courses of block until you have a total of 3 courses of block. At this point you should be just a few inches below grade or ground level.
Now it is time to start laying up your brick, if you done the previous step correctly all the brick should line up with the block foundation and installation should go well. Install your first course, it should go brick, brick, then turn a brick. Continue this process around the base until a square is formed. Stagger the next course and continue to lay the brick, be sure that your brick are running level and plumb as yo install them, a crooked mailbox is ugly and easy to spot.
Once you reach desired mailbox height you want to install your mailbox insert. Just about any mailbox will work but it’s a good idea to spend a little more on your box because you don’t want to have to replace it later. Place your box facing the street with about 1 inch of the face out past the brick so there is enough room to open and close the door.
Now continue to encase the mailbox with brick and back fill all the gaps with mortar as you go to ensure that the mailbox is securely set in place. Once you reach the top of the box you can fish it off with a piece of flat stone or by laying brick down on their sides to cap it. Spray a light coat a masonry sealer on and your done.