How to build a brick letterbox

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How to build a brick letterbox

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Project Overview

A brick letterbox makes a great feature in your front yard and will add plenty of street appeal to your home. It’s easy to build one yourself with this step-by-step guide. We’ll show you how to mix the cement and mortar, lay bricks evenly, and install the letterbox components.

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Choose a spot, measure and mark out area
2 Dig out the footings
3 Make the slab
4 Set out the bricks
5 Prepare the mortar
6 Lay the first brick
7 Lay first course of bricks
8 Build up the pier
9 Make the newspaper holder
10 Attach the ends to the pipe
11 Install newspaper holder
12 Assemble the letterbox
13 Lay more bricks over letterbox
14 Render top of letterbox
15 Remove any excess mortar
  • Step 1. Choose a spot, measure and mark out area

    Select a suitable spot for your letterbox. Make sure you check with local authorities to get specifications on your footing and the slab. Measure out the area you want to build your letterbox. This will be determined by the size you want your letterbox to be and regulations from the local authorities.
  • Step 2. Dig out the footings

    Once you’ve marked out your measurements, start digging out the footing in preparation for the slab. Make sure you check for any pipes or cables that may be running under the ground. Once you’ve finished digging the footing. Make sure you check the depth is going to be the right measurements for your slab.

  • Step 3. Make the slab

    Pour the concrete into a wheelbarrow and add some water. Using your spade, mix the concrete and water together. Add more water or concrete as you need to get a thick, toothpaste consistency. To create the slab, pour your concrete mix into the footing that you dug out earlier. Leave enough space at the top to fill in later. Now it’s time to level off the concrete slab. Start by using your spirit level to even up the concrete mix. Once the level of your slab is even, take the trowel and use it to smooth over the concrete mix. Then leave it to set for 24 hours.

  • Step 4. Set out the bricks

    Once the concrete is set, set out where you want the bricks for your letterbox to go. Make sure you leave 10mm space between the bricks. Take your tradies square and use it to check that each corner of your brick layout is even. Take your pencil and draw an outline onto the slab around your brick layout. Then remove the bricks.
  • Step 5. Prepare the mortar

    Mix your mortar according to the directions on the bag. Once you’re happy with its consistency, take your brickies trowel and feather out some mortar on the concrete slab over the area where you plan to lay your bricks. Make sure you can still see the outline you made earlier.
  • Step 6. Lay the first brick

    Now sit your first brick on the mortar, making sure that it’s inside the outline you made on the slab. Place the spirit level on top of the brick to make sure it’s level. Use the handle on your trowel to tap it down when you need to make adjustments. 
  • Step 7. Lay first course of bricks

    Lay down the rest of the bricks by adding more mortar to the slab and a layer of mortar on the end of each brick as you go. Remove any excess mortar and check the levels for each brick. Lay some bricks in the middle so that you don’t end up with a hollow pier. You don’t have to worry about levelling them.

  • Step 8. Build up the pier

    Start adding mortar to each layer of bricks, and laying the rest of them down to build up the pier of the letterbox. Remember to stagger the bricks over the joins as you go. This means laying each brick over a previous join, rather than lining the bricks up end to end. Remember to check the levels of each brick and make adjustments if needed. It’s also a good idea to check that the sides are straight. Place your spirit level vertically against the courses as you build them up to ensure they’re in line with each other. You should also use your tradies square to make sure the corners are all square and make adjustments if needed.

  • Step 9. Make the newspaper holder

    Lay enough courses to the height you want for a newspaper holder. Measure the width of your brick letterbox and transfer these measurements to the PVC pipe. This will become the slot for your newspapers. Now, take your handsaw and cut the PVC pipe to length. Remember to wear your safety gear.

  • Step 10. Attach the ends to the pipe

    Add the metal openings to the end of your pipe and lay it over the brick pier so that it’s centred and square. Then you’re ready to start laying the rest of the brick courses around it. Remove the newspaper holder and add some mortar to the brick pier. Then lay down the first course of bricks that will go around the PVC pipe. Check the brick levels as you go. To build up around your newspaper holder, you will need to cut some bricks so that they fit. Measure the length you need on the pier and transfer this to the bricks as you go. Use your bolster and lump hammer to cut the brick.

  • Step 11. Install newspaper holder

    Lay some mortar in the middle of the gap and place the PVC pipe over it. Fill in the gaps around the sides, make sure the bottoms of the end plates are in line with the top of the course of bricks below it. Start applying more mortar and laying the next course of bricks. You will also need to cut the corner bricks to size to fit around the newspaper holder. 

  • Step 12. Assemble the letterbox

    Assemble the letterbox component. The ends slide together so you can adjust the length to suit the size of your brick pier. Centre it on top of the brick pier and make sure the ends overlap flush with the edges of the pier.
  • Step 13. Lay more bricks over letterbox

    Add more mortar and lay further courses of bricks over the letterbox component until you’re happy with the look.
  • Step 14. Render top of letterbox

    If you want to, you can render the top the letterbox. Add a layer of concrete and smooth it over with a trowel. If you prefer the raw brick look, then just add mortar to the gaps in your bricks and smooth it over.
  • Step 15. Remove any excess mortar

    Use your sponge and brush to remove any excess mortar for a clean, professional finish.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Bolster
  • Bricklaying trowel
  • Brush
  • Cement mixer
  • Dust mask
  • General Trowels
  • Hammer
  • Handsaw
  • Lump hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Set Squares
  • Shovel
  • Spirit level
  • Utility knife

Materials

  • Bricklayers sand
  • Bricks
  • Cement
  • Cement sheet
  • Concrete
  • Letterbox components
  • Metal openings
  • PVC pipe
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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