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HEAT UP YOUR MOTIVATION AND TACKLE THAT NEW MAILBOX YOU PUT OFF ALL WINTER

Warm weather is back and it's time to tackle those fix-it-up jobs that have accumulated over the long, cold winter. If one of the projects on your list is putting up a new mailbox, the job is a lot easier than you may think. Here are a few tips to help you make sure the mailbox is sturdy and can withstand the forces of man and nature.

When securing the mailbox post, there are two things to keep in mind. The first is where you place the post. The mailbox should be far enough from the roadside so the mailman doesn't block traffic but close enough so he doesn't have to dismount. The height of the mailbox should be between 36 and 42 inches, measuring from the bottom of the box. Check with your local post office for specific restrictions in your neighborhood.The second thing to consider is the anchoring of the mailbox. Light anchoring is recommended for mail boxes and fences. Heavy anchoring is needed to erect basketball backboard posts, swing sets and similar projects. The difference between heavy and light anchoring is the depth of the hole and the amount of concrete used to secure the post.

When you're ready to get started, mark the spot where the post will be placed. Use the width of the post to determine the size of the hole. For a light anchor project like this, the hole should be at least 1 foot deep, and 6 inches wider than the post. For example, if the post is 4 inches wide, the hole should be 1 to 2-feet deep and 10 inches wide. Use post diggers to prepare the hole, taking care not to disturb any underground power or telephone cables. Place the post in the hole and use a level to check placement.

Once you've placed the post, fill in the hole with concrete. Use a fast-setting concrete such as Sakrete Fast-Set for optimum results. Sakrete Fast-Set begins to set within five minutes so there is no need to brace the post. This fast action also gives more precision to the placement of the post and allows for same day use.

As you pour the concrete, make a mound around the post to prevent the collection of water. The post should be completely set within three hours. The set time can be regulated by using hot or cold water, cold water for slower setting, hot for faster results.

Do-it-yourself projects like this are easier today because manufacturers are providing top-quality products that can be used quickly and easily. Keep this in mind when choosing a concrete mix. For example, Sakrete Fast-Set requires no pre-mixing. Just pour the water directly into the hole, then follow with the mix (check package for exact amounts).

Check with your local post office for mailbox placement restrictions in your area. To make sure the mailbox will withstand the ravages of man and the elements, pay close attention to the anchoring of the post.