How to Lay Blocks for a Stone Column Mailbox
A stone column mailbox adds appeal to the front of a home. Laying blocks is the first step in building a mailbox.
Dig the trench for the electrical lines. Start with the corner that the electrical light is coming from. Go slow and steady. It is better to dig by hand if you are digging next to the house.
Before you begin any excavation you need to call and check for the location of your underground utilities. In North America, One Call Referral Services can connect you to the national directory of utility companies.
Set the stones, working the non-metallic building electrical wire between the stones and the block.
Use small pieces to wedge between the stones to hold them in place. When the mortar has set up enough, the wedges can be removed and the holes filled in.
Using them as a guide, place the edges of the stone along the string line. Backfill voids with mortar and smaller stones. When you get to the top, remove the board and fill in the last remaining areas.
You can use a single stone for the top and cut it to size using a grinder.
Note: A diamond tipped blade is ideal for cutting through stone.
Measure a square hole in the exact center of the top stone for the light flange. Feed the non-metallic building electrical wire through the flange for the light. Place an inch of mortar on top of the pillar.
Use a smaller stone to hold the top up so you can make any adjustments before setting in place. Remove the small stone and center the large stone on the pillar.
Connect the light with one electrical line coming through the center of the top stone. Strip the wires and connect the ground, neutral and hot wires together. Black to black, white to white and ground to ground.
As with any electrical project, safety should be your primary concern. If you are not 100 percent comfortable with making an electrical connection yourself, please contact a qualified electrician to do it for you.
Attach the light to the flange in the center of the cap stone. Lay the electrical line in the trench and cover it with dirt.
Note: Direct burial non-metallic sheathed cable (wire) was used in this example, so there was no need to run a conduit. Always check your local codes.
Drill into the crawl space at the house and feed the line through the hole (a 1/2-inch masonry bit was used in this example).
Turn off the power to the circuit that the outside light switch is connected to. Unhook the switch from its box to give you room to work. Connect your grounds together -- the white to all neutral wires, and the black to the switch leg side, opposite the wires on the switch. Put everything back in the box and put the cover plate on.
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