DIY Brick Mailbox

You know those brick mailboxes that are in front of every house in every subdivision all across the land? We had one at our last house, and we really liked it. It matched the brick on the house and, well, I think it classed up the place. Our new house did not come with a brick mailbox. It wasn’t even an option. So, during the building phase, we collected all the bricks that were left around the house, that would have been bulldozed under the ground. We stacked them in the garage until the day came that we had no impending projects. This would be our last project for 2014. So, it’s November now, but luckily the weather was holding. At least in the beginning of the project. I remember days, or nights really, as we ran out of daylight that we froze our keesters off!

I’m sure you’re wondering how we knew we could build a brick mailbox. We didn’t know. But, we figured it couldn’t hurt to try. We knew we had to pour a footer for a solid foundation. We measured our neighbors mailbox and did a test layout to make sure all the bricks would fit in the designated square footer. Once we did that, we dug out a square hole. Square hole? Um, yeah, square hole. We used 2×4’s as forms, the size of our square hole, and put in rock that we tamped down. Then we mixed the concrete and poured it in the form.

Brick Mailbox

I honestly don’t remember how many days it was from the time we poured the concrete till we started laying the cement blocks and bricks. Most likely it was an entire week, as we only have Saturday and Sunday to work on projects. Anyway, once the concrete was set it was time to begin. It went pretty fast at first.

Brick Mailbox

You start out by centering your concrete blocks on the pad. Then you put on a second layer going in the opposite direction, with cement in between. We started putting down bricks once we got the first 4 concrete blocks set.

Brick Mailbox

Make sure you have the right tools. Besides something to mix the mortar in, we used a wheelbarrow and shovel, you will need a rubber mallet, a level and a few of these nifty tools.

Brick mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

Now it was time for the curve. Now I know this is not how professionals do it, and it takes them like a half an hour to complete the entire mailbox, but this is how we did it. We cut some templates, to put around the mailbox, to support the bricks as we made the curve. We added wire mesh to that to hold the mortar..

DIY Brick Mailbox

So curving with rectangle bricks. Not wedged bricks, rectangle bricks. We have a big chop saw, not a miter saw, but a saw that can cut bricks and other super hard stuff. We knew we weren’t going to have enough bricks, so my husband picked up some bricks that were very similar in color. The texture was very different as was the process in how they were made. These were hard bricks and they were not easy cut. We used the chop saw, didn’t work too well and we used a grinder. Worked ok, but man was it messy. My poor husband…take a look.

DIY Brick Mailbox

See what I mean? Luckily, we didn’t have to cut too many. We gave up on trying to wedge the bricks and just used more cement to force them to curve. At one point, it was late, dark and we really hated how it looked, so we tore it back down, cleaned up as much as we could and left it to start again the next day. It was very frustrating at times.

DIY BrickMailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

Figuring out the layout for the back.

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

So, here we are, 99.9% done. We were pretty happy with it.
DIY Brick Mailbox

Now it’s done!

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

So, that’s it! One thing I would be better at is brushing the bricks to remove the cement off the face of the bricks. Once it’s dry, it’s dry. We didn’t do an acid wash, which might have removed more of the dried cement, but honestly, we were tired. So, if this is something you’ve always wanted to do, go ahead and try it. What have you got to lose? Ok, you might lose a few weekends and some skin off your fingers but when you pick up your mail out of your beautiful new mailbox, you won’t remember any of that.

Until next time…

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Backyard Shed Project

So things were moving along at the house. It was finally July and we were unpacked for the most part, but realizing that even with a three car garage, we needed more storage. The reason is we wanted the third car garage to be a work shop. A place for all of our tools and things like that. We needed a place to store the mowers, and all the other gardening equipment. So, here came the backyard shed project. July 4th is the anniversary of my first date with my hubby. We went to a 4th of July fireworks celebration. That was 9 years ago. This year we would be celebrating by building a shed! I know, super romantic!!! We got the shed at Home Depot. It’s a kit, but it comes in pieces that you have to build. The only other thing we had to buy was the floor. It went together fairly easy, but once again, it was HOT! Blistering hot. This time I got burned. Bill stayed covered and we had to keep soaking wet towels on our heads and over our shoulders and backs. What is it with these big projects and the blistering heat? But, we needed to take advantage of the nice weather before Winter set it.

We started by leveling the spot and setting our floor joists. This was the hardest part I think. We’d get one side level but now it wasn’t level with the others. By now, the ground was rock hard and our beautiful green sod was toast, even with all the watering. Once again, it took longer to finish what should have been a simple thing.

Backyard Shed Project

That’s my sweet Dozer in the background. He had Cushings Disease. This was two months before he went to the Rainbow Bridge. He was the best dog ever, and I miss him so much. He LOVED laying in the sun.

Backyard Shed Project

Backyard Shed Project

So, Yay, the floor is down. That only took FOREVER!!! Could we maybe get something done today?

Backyard Shed Project

Floor and first wall

Backyard Shed Project

Backyard Shed Project

Backyard Shed Project

Four walls! Woo Hoo. It’s really starting to look like something now. So excited. I thought we’d be done in no time. I was wrong. We had to do all the inside stuff to help stabilize the structure. There is a loft space in the back and on the upper sides. There was also a work table along the back. At least we were starting to get some shade from the walls.

Backyard Shed Project

The trusses really made a big difference, now I knew we were really getting close. We just needed plywood on the roof, tar paper, shingles and windows. Oh yeah, two barn style doors.

Backyard Shed Project

I have a picture somewhere of my hubby sitting on the roof putting on the shingles, but I can’t find it. So, here she is, the finished product, well, 99.9% done.

Backyard Shed Project

Backyard Shed Project

As you can see, this is in the Fall. The lattice skirt is on, and did you notice the trees? We planted 13 trees and started our flower beds along the sides of the fence, but that’s for another post. It’s been a year already, and I can’t believe how much those trees have grown.

Until next time…

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