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What Are The Guidelines For Building A Custom Mailbox?


All new mailbox designs need to be reviewed and issued with the PMG’s (Postmaster General) seal of approval before they can be used. If one opts to construct their own mailbox, then it needs to meet the same standards applied to manufactured boxes. When building a custom mailbox, one needs to show their plans to the local postmaster so they can be allowed to do so.


The mailbox should stand between 41 and 45 inches above the ground. It should also be about 6 to 8 inches away from the curb. The postmaster would offer guidance if the area in question doesn’t have a raised curb.

The mailbox needs to have the house or apartment number on it. If it’s on a different street from one’s residence, then it needs to have the owner’s street address in full. If the box is to be attached to the house, it should be easily accessible from the sidewalk.


The mailbox should be supported by a stable pole which is flexible enough to fall away or bend when hit by a car. The Federal Highway Administration recommends using a 4-inch by 4-inch wooden pole or a round steel/aluminum pipe measuring 2 inches in diameter. Heavy metal pipes, farm equipment and concrete posts should never be used. The supporting pole should be buried in a hole not deeper than 24 inches.

Door Slots

Some apartments and houses have a door slot instead of a mailbox. The slot’s opening needs to measure at least 1.5 inches by 7 inches, with the bottom being at least 30 inches above the ground. If the slot is horizontal, it must have a flap hinged at the top. For vertical ones, the hinges need to be on the opposite sides from the door hinges.

Door Slot Hoods

The hood shouldn’t project more than 2.0625 inches beyond the door’s interior. If the slot is horizontal, the hood needs to be shorter than the outside plate. For vertical slots, it should extend no further than the side of the exterior plate that’s on the side of the door hinges.


Mailboxes are exposed to elements of the weather. A checkup needs to be conducted annually to avoid damage to the mail. When doing this, one needs to tighten loose door hinges, ensure the house numbers are visible, keep the path to the mailbox clear and fix any loose or rusty parts.

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