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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Mailbox Construction Guidelines

How to Build a Mailbox that Gets the Postal Worker's Approval

Michael D. from Memphis, Tennessee, asked us: "Do I need to follow any strict guidelines when building a new mailbox?

The short answer is: Yep.

Here's a longer answer:

When planning the look and design of your mailbox, you should first check with your local municipal codes (and your homeowner’s association, if you have one) for any restrictions in your area.

Regardless of where you live, a mailbox must meet the US Postal Service’s size and construction standards, which means...

When designing your own, position the mailbox 41 to 45 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox or point of mail entry. Place your mailbox 6 to 8 inches back from the curb. (If you do not have a raised curb, contact your local postmaster for guidance.)

Put your house number on the mailbox. If your mailbox is on a different street from your house, put your full street address on the box.

When installing the mailbox, the Federal Highway Administration prefers supports that are stable but bend or fall away if a car hits them. Suggestions include a 4x4 wooden support post or a 2-in. diameter standard steel or aluminum pipe. Bury your post no more than 24 inches deep.

Due to the risk of injury from car accidents, the FHA advises against using unyielding or potentially dangerous supports, like heavy metal pipes, concrete posts or farm equipment. Brick-walled mailboxes are common in many residential areas, however, so check with local guidelines for what is allowable, and use your best judgement.

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