Are you the kind of person that likes different things for the home? Are you looking for a way to create a new look, bringing character to the front of your home? A very popular option is to build your own brick mailbox. For one, brick mailboxes look wonderful, definitely improving curb appeal. Two, brick mailboxes are strong and sturdy, not just an ordinary mailbox that can be knocked over and damaged. To create a beautiful brick mailbox for your home, you will need a shove, electrical cable (rated for underground applications), a masonry trowel, framing square, wheelbarrow, premixed mortar, level, measuring tape, solid bricks, cored bricks, concrete blocks, safety goggles, and work gloves.
If you have an existing mailbox, take it down and remove the dirt from the base. If you find that the post was set in concrete, which many are, you might need to remove the concrete as well prior to pouring new concrete for the brick mailbox. Now, you want to dig a hole for the footer but before you do, make sure you check your local building codes to determine the required depth. Typically, it would be a minimum of eight inches. You will now make the hole just a few inches wider than what the actual mailbox is going to be.
Place one end of the electrical cable where the mailbox will be built, leaving just enough slack so that it can extend up through the top of the mailbox so your light fixture will have power. To create the footer, you need to mix the fast-drying concrete, making it the consistency of oatmeal. Once done, you will only have about 45 minutes to work with the concrete before it begins to set.
The concrete will now be poured over the end of the electrical cable, taking the backside of your shovel to smooth the concrete and then level it out. As you wait for the concrete to dry, go ahead and connect your cable to the main breaker box. Then run a 12-inch deep trench going from the mailbox to the box, laying the wiring down inside the trench. Unless you are a licensed electrician, you should not connect the end of the cable to the box � this is something best left to a professional.
When the footer is dry, now the concrete block foundation can be laid. Although you can choose other options, the best method is to use two 8-inch by 8-inch by 16-inch blocks. With a trowel, mark reference points so you will know where the blocks are to be laid. The center reference point on the far end of the footer also needs to be marked. Next, take the framing square and mark your outside edges along with any other edges where the blocks will lay.
Using premixed mortar, you want to lay it along each line where the block will rest and be sure you use ample amounts. Now, lay a block onto each of the lines, pressing it firmly into place. The key here is to make sure you have used enough mortar so the block has good support. After the first block is laid, you will lay another one beside it, using the same method. You can then start a second row of blocks, just be sure your cable remains accessible. Additionally, you will need adequate mortar going along the footer at the point where the first row of bricks will be placed.
Put your first brick in place, again pressing firmly down into the mortar. If you need to adjust the position of the brick later, you can. On the end of the next brick, you will apply more mortar, butting it right up to the other brick. Keep placing the bricks one after the other, often checking that they are level. You also want to wipe off any excess mortar and check that everything is square, which can be done by measuring the distance of each brick from the block foundation.
Keep working around the base until that course is complete. Next, take your framing square again going around to check if the base is square. Now, if you want to be a little fancier and add interest to the design, you can always do what is called a �soldier� course. This is when the bricks are placed on the end for the fourth course (row) of bricks.
Once the height of the mailbox is where you want it, then you will center the mailbox on the bricks. Be sure the door has enough space to open and shut, and then mark the mailbox on both sides, showing the distances that it will stick out from the brick. Remove the mailbox and lay a very thick bed of the premixed mortar. Next, place the box on top of the bricks, pressing it firmly into place. Now, you will install another course up next to the mailbox and fill in the gaps with mortar.
Two horizontal rows will now be installed around the mailbox, and extend the next course of bricks so they are over the edge of the bricks below. This creates what is called a �reveal.� Just be sure the holes in the cored bricks are covered on both top and bottom. The remaining courses will be set up above the overhand, bringing in each course just a little bit closer to the center of the row directly below.
For the top of the mailbox, you want to use solid bricks, which will help protect its surface while also providing a solid base to use for the light fixture. To make this work and look good, the bricks on top will need to be very level and the electrical cable positioned in the center. Again, fill any gaps with mortar and allow it to dry for several hours. Finally, with a stiff-bristle brush, you want to remove any loose debris from around the mailbox. After about two days when the mortar is thoroughly dry, you can install the light fixture.