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Installing Residential Mailboxes (Height, Etc.)

Before installing a new mailbox, you should be aware of the requirements and recommendations that are set forth by the United States Postal Service. There are very specific guidelines on the appropriate size of your mailbox, as well as the accessibility for your postal carrier. The following are recommendations and requirements for installing a residential mailbox.


A residential mailbox that is curb-side needs to be placed so that the mail carrier can drive up to the mailbox and insert the mail easily without having to leave the mail truck. The mailbox should be installed on the right hand side of the road, and in the direction that the mail carrier’s route takes him down the road. For example, if the mail carrier drives west down your street, then you will need to stand in the street facing west and install your mailbox on your right.

Mailbox Height

Mailbox height is important - the mailbox will need to be on a post that places the opening of the box between 41 and 45 inches from the surface of the road (not the ground where you will be inserting the post), and no more than 6 to 8 inches from the curb. It is always a good idea to check with your mail carrier before placing your new mailbox, or if you are replacing the mailbox and pole, simply put it in exactly the same spot.


Mounting your new mailbox can be tricky. Many people are tempted to pour a concrete base to ensure that their mailbox stays mounted securely, but the post office does not recommend this. The postal service wants your mailbox to be mounted on a post that will easily give way if it is struck by a car or by the mail truck. It is better to have to replace your mailbox pole than to have to pay for damage to a car if your mailbox doesn’t budge when the car hits it.

According to the postal service recommendations web site “The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that mailbox supports no larger than 4 inches by 4 inches, or a 2–inch diameter standard steel or aluminum pipe, buried no more than 24 inches, should safely break away if struck by a vehicle.”

Adding the Numbers

Your mailbox is often how the mail carrier finds your address. It is also how the police, ambulance, and fire department finds your address. So it is very important to have your address clearly displayed on both sides of your mailbox. You can put the numbers either on the box or down the pole, as long as they can be easily seen from a few houses away. The postal service recommends using numbers that are at least one inch tall, but the bigger they are, the more easily they will be seen.

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