Before choosing a mail slot it is important to understand the basic functioning behind it. During the early days of mail delivery the postman would deliver mail to each home and needed to wait for residents to answer the door to receive letters. The amount of time this took would significantly slow down the postman’s ability to reach multiple houses in a timely fashion during the day and thus slow down the overall efficiency of the mail delivery. The mail slot was created as a means for delivery to still occur even when residents were not home or simply unable to answer the door.
Mail slots vary widely however and selecting a mail slot that is not only architecturally consistent with the style of your home but also meets your needs for mail delivery is important. There are many factors to consider when selecting a new mail slot that will be covered in this article.
Think that any size slot will work? Think again. Review the type of mail you receive and consider the condition you would like to receive it in. Magazines and large envelopes can be particularly problematic if they need to be shoved into a small mail slot- they can be torn or damaged by the force required to fit them through a small mail slot.
Standard mail slots range in size but a good choice (depending on the type of mail you receive) is anywhere from 9 to 13 inches. Larger mail slots are more appropriate in homes and businesses that receive large envelopes and magazines frequently.
Single or Double Flap?
Many mail slots have a single or double flap option available and this can seem slightly confusing. Most mail slots will have a front flap and an interior back plate – this means when the flap is lifted there will be a hole in the door leading directly through to the entryway with no barrier to cover it.
A double flap mail slot means there is a flap on both sides of the door. This option is a good choice when a door is frequently exposed weather elements such as rain or snow or as simply a way to ensure privacy.
What’s a good Height?
Mail slots are traditionally installed on the lower half of the door but installing a mail slot too close to the base of the door can be problematic for the mail carrier to delivery items easily. Take into account that your mail carrier has a long route and needs to be able to find your mail slot quickly. Installing the slot about waist height or higher is a good rule of thumb for most mail slots.
What is a Sleeve?
A sleeve is used most frequently in hollow doors or to cover the cut out in a solid door. It is a thin piece of metal that is the size of the hole and fits between the front and rear plates of the mail slot inside the door. Not all sleeves are the same size so choose carefully.
Depending on the mail slot it may use front mounting wood screws or longer rear mounting screws. Thicker or thinner screws may require special or custom length screws for proper installation. Ask a contractor to assist you if you are unsure about cutting the hole for your door.
Choose a high quality mail slot (solid brass construction is best) and pay attention to key factors such as size and installation height. If you are replacing an older mail slot it is especially important to choose a mail slot that will be compatible in size with the original hole. Overall size and hole size are two separate measurements and should be taken into account when selecting a new mail slot.
Coordinate your new mail slot with your existing hardware or create a new entryway set with compatible designs. A mail slot can be plain or extremely ornate – the choice is entirely up to you! Select a finish that is the same or similar to any existing hardware to ensure to complete look for your front door.
Although the use of mail slots has significantly decreased over the past century it can still be seen in many historical and smaller towns. It is a convenient way to receive mail if door to door service is still used in that area or simply a wonderful decorative touch for the front door in general.
Need more advice? Check out LookInTheAttic & Company for more great tips, information and a wide selection of mail slots for any home or business.