You know when you’re going to take on a super easy, quick project but then things don’t go exactly as planned and next thing you know,
you your husband has spent half the weekend finishing it up?
Ugh. Welcome to my mailbox project. And maybe the least exciting before and after ever?
Since we’re about to re-landscape the yard, I figured it would be a good time to give our 53 year old mailbox a facelift.
Sadly, I didn’t take a proper before picture, and this was the best I could dig up. From August, 2010.
The box itself needed to be replaced due to peeling paint and overall dinginess. The paint on the metal pole was chipped and was getting pretty rusty in places so I wanted to put a fresh coat of paint on it. Easy peasy, right? A new box, a little bit of paint, and it’ll be good as new!
I ventured to Lowe’s and picked up a new mailbox a couple of weekends ago. I opted for plastic after an old man told me to save myself the trouble when he saw me inspecting the metal options. I figured he probably knew what he was talking about and went with the low maintenace option. I also picked up a wire brush, a metal primer, and oil based paint for metal in black.
Once home, I started going over the post with the wire brush. I found that the paint was coming up really easily, so I switched to a scraper to make the job a little quicker. There wasn’t really a good place to stop so I decided to scrape the whole thing. May as well do it right, you know?
Two and a half hours of scraping later, Steve came home from a morning at the office. While inspecting my work, we realized the bottom of the pole had pretty much rusted out and needed to be replaced. Things I wish I had known 3 hours earlier! Oh well.
You can see where it looks like someone tried to repair it in the past
Since we had electicity running to the mailbox (there’s a light on top), we wanted to find a new one with a light on it. I did a lot of research and couldn’t find an afforable option ($260 for a mailbox? No thanks.), and rigging up a new one didn’t seem worth the effort. So I purchased this low maintenance one from Home Depot:
I had to order it online, and it arrived late last week. In the meantime, we stuck the new box on the pitiful pole and called it a day.
This past weekend we removed the old pole (after turning off the electricity to the light) which took surprisingly little effort…
Then dug up the concrete base…
Made the hole a bit bigger…
And mixed up a bag of concrete. Next we placed a 4×4 in the hole making sure it was plumb and filled the hole with concrete. We back filled it with dirt after that and gave it a couple of hours to cure.
In the meantime, Steve cut the wires from the old pole, put them in an outdoor junction box to “kill it” and buried it for now. We’d like to put lights by the mailbox eventually since we already have electricity running to it, but this weekend wasn’t the time to tackle that project.
Once we thought the concrete had cured enough, we put the new post up which was as easy as sliding 2 pieces of plastic over the 4×4.
I do miss the charm of the old light, but that mailbox served its purpose for a long time. An upgrade was in order.
The 185 on the front of the old mailbox was the only thing indicating our street number on the front of the house. In anticipation of replacing it, I purchased this address plaque a few months ago. The plaque does include our street name, but I photoshopped it out for privacy.
In the next few weeks we’ll add bushes around the mailbox bed and some annuals to fill the dirt. I love watching everything bloom this time of year – can’t wait to get some more color in our yard!