Original Air Date: Week of March 15, 2007
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner replace a mailbox that has been damaged by a snowplow. Then, general contractor Tom Silva heads to St. Louis to help a pair of homeowners repoint the failing mortar on their home's brick foundation.
Replacing a damaged mailbox post
Roger helped a homeowner whose mailbox had been hit several times by snowplows. They started by digging out and removing the old mailbox post. Roger then recommended replacing the old mailbox post with one made of cellular PVC, a rot-resistant type of plastic that looks and paints like wood. Before installing the new mailbox post, Roger determined that the new post should sit back farther from the street to prevent it from getting hit by snowplows again. The US Postal Service requires that the bottom of the new mailbox be 41-45 inches above the street so that mail carriers can access them easily from the windows of their delivery trucks. The face of the mailbox must also sit back from the street no more than 8 inches. Roger put the post in the hole and started backfilling, compacting the soil as he went. He also used a "post level" to make sure that the mailbox post was perfectly plumb. Next, the mailbox was attached to the post and the installation was complete.Where to find it:
Roger installed a new mailbox post made of cellular PVC and a new steel mailbox. Both are manufactured and sold by:Walpole Woodworkers
Hydronic Alternatives, Inc.
PVC mailbox post (model "Dover FC")
Steel Mailbox (model "Strong Box")Repointing Brickwork
Tom heads to St. Louis, where he meets a young couple with a brick foundation that has crumbling mortar joints. Tom discovers that there are several spots on the foundation where the mortar has deteriorated over the years. He begins by scraping out the old mortar in the horizontal joints (also called "bed joints") using a raking bar, making sure not to go deeper than 1 inch. For the vertical joints (or "head joints"), Tom gently uses a chisel to remove the old mortar. With the old mortar removed, Tom mixes up a batch of new mortar that is 6 parts medium-grained sand, 1 part hydrated lime, 1 part Portland cement and water. This type of mortar is known as "Type-N." Tom then removes a few loose bricks on the outside corner and reinstalls them with new mortar using a hand trowel and mortar board. Once the loose bricks are back in place, Tom begins packing the rest of the joints with mortar using a narrow knife "jointer." Tom presses the mortar into each of the joints and then smoothes them using a curved pointing tool. The curved joints will help shed water when it rains.Where to Find It
Different types of mortar and masonry tools are available at your local home center or masonry supply yard.
Technical assistance provided by:
Bo Skaggs and Carl "Red" Tinker
B & K Tuckpointing & Caulking Co
6633 Olive Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO (Missouri) 63130-2645
Other assistance was provided by:The Masonry Institute of St. Louis