Before you construct or buy a mailbox, you must know the conditions set forth by the United States Postal Service regarding the placement and size of the rural mailbox. Regulations are put in place so that all mailboxes are assessable by the postal carriers who deliver the mail. You must follow the regulations or risk suspension of your mail service.
The mailbox must be attached to a sturdy post or a movable arm post. The post must be secure in the ground without using cement posts or steel posts. Wood posts or aluminum poles will pass the test. There are three sizes of mailboxes that can be used. The T1 style is 18 1/2 inches long, 5 inches wide and 6 inches in height. The T2 style is 19 1/2 inches long, 6 inches wide and the height is 7 inches. The T3 is 22 1/2- inches long, 8 inches wide and the height is 11 1/2 inches.
Building Your Own
If you want a custom-built, homemade mailbox, you must have approval from the postal service before erecting the mailbox. Generally, the homemade mailbox will need to meet the same specifications that manufactured boxes must meet in quality, strength, size and for the flag.
The mailbox must contain 1-inch tall numbers or letters representing the box number visible from the direction of the postal service workers approach. Sometimes, you can place the numbers on the door, but it is easier for the postal worker to see if the address is on the approaching side. If your mailbox is on a different street than where you live, it must have the house number and street name on it. The owner's name can appear on the mailbox, but it is not mandatory.
The mailboxes must be placed 6 to 8 inches from the curb front face. The height of the mailbox on the post must be no less than 3 1/2 feet high and no more than 4 feet high from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox. All mailboxes must be located on the right side of the road even if you live on the left side.
Receptacles for Newspapers
Other receptacles may be placed on the same post as the mailbox, but the receptacle cannot touch the mailbox at any point. It cannot block the mailbox flag or interfere with mail delivery. The receptacle cannot have any advertisement except the name of the publication, and it must be set back behind the front door of the mailbox.
Mailbox owners must keep all obstruction away from their mailboxes or the mail will not be delivered and they will receive a letter from the postal service explaining the problem. The only things that can be placed in a mailbox is mail that bears postage. No advertisements can be placed on the mailbox or the post.