One thing to consider when getting a mailbox is the material. The material can affect the curbside look of your home.
More importantly, not all materials are the same. How long your mailbox lasts depends on the material that it is made of.
Normally, metal mailboxes rust, but not all metals are the same.
Here Are the Metal Mailboxes that Get Rusty:
Mailboxes are commonly made from three types of metal – steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Each one has its unique properties. Among these three types, steel and stainless steel are the ones that can get rusty over time.
Can Aluminum Mailboxes Rust?
Generally, aluminum mailboxes do not rust. This is because aluminum does not contain iron, unlike other metals.
Aluminum mailboxes tend to be more expensive up front, but they are known to last longer than steel mailboxes.
Regular aluminum mailboxes are very light but durable. However, they are only good for milder climates and short-term use because they do not last as long as the other type of aluminum.
Cast aluminum mailboxes are a much better choice compared to the regular ones.
Cast aluminum is made by pouring aluminum into a mold and letting it harden and solidify. Aluminum products made through this technique are stronger and more durable than regular aluminum.
Mailboxes made from cast aluminum may be heavier than regular aluminum, but they also last longer. These mailboxes are ideal for homes in harsh climates.
Aluminum mailboxes are generally low maintenance. These mailboxes tend to corrode, but applying powder coating can prevent it.
Can Stainless Steel Mailboxes Rust?
Stainless steel can also rust over time but resists rust better than steel.
Plus, rust does not spread as fast on stainless steel mailboxes compared to steel mailboxes.
Steel and stainless steel are different from each other.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, while stainless steel has additional components such as chromium, nickel, nitrogen, and molybdenum.
Steel mailboxes can rust. They tend to get rusty easily when exposed to oxygen and moisture.
Steel and stainless steel mailboxes are good options when you are on a budget. They are heavy and last fairly long when given the proper maintenance.
One of the cons to having stainless steel mailboxes is that they are susceptible to dents, dings, or scratches. They can retain their shape and general structure, but they tend to look worn out after just a couple of years.
The low-quality ones also tend to rust and corrode very easily.
Can You Remove Rust From Your Mailbox?
If your mailbox starts to rust, don’t worry.
Even if there is a lot of rust, you can still remove it and salvage your mailbox.
Cleaning Agents & Cloths:
Use a cleaning agent to remove rust and apply it to your mailbox.
You can use cooking oil for this. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
Take a lint-free microfiber cloth and apply some oil or vinegar to it. Rub the rusty spots with the cloth while reapplying the oil or vinegar as often as necessary.
Do this until the rust is completely removed from the surface.
Scrubbing & Finish:
If there are tough spots, scrub them with an abrasive tool like a hard brush.
Remove the rust particles and any residues of the cleaning agent by rinsing the mailbox with warm water.
Wipe your mailbox and let it dry completely.
Lastly, apply a protective coating to prevent it from rusting again. Or you can apply a fresh coat of paint to give your mailbox a brand new look.
How Can You Prevent Mailbox Rusting?
Rusting is a chemical reaction when iron interacts with oxygen in water, salt water, acids, or other harsh elements.
This is why steel and stainless steel mailboxes rust – they contain iron. Aluminum has no iron content, which makes it resistant to rusting.
Apart from being unsightly, rusting can also affect the lifespan of your mailbox. It can make your mailbox last shorter, and you would have to replace it earlier than you would have wanted.
There are ways to prevent your mailbox from rusting.
Reduce Scratching on Your Mailbox:
Scratches on metal tend to hold water. When this happens, your mailbox comes in contact with water for a prolonged period which causes it to rust.
If you notice scratches on your mailbox, you need to remedy it as soon as possible.
You can do this by applying a scratch remover, which you can easily get at your local hardware.
You can also use oil that you may already have at home for a cheaper option. Mineral oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil would work well.
Paint Your Mailbox:
Painting your mailbox has some benefits. It does make your mailbox look good, but it also helps prevent it from rusting.
Paint, especially good quality ones, can slow down or prevent rusting.
This is because the paint creates a barrier that prevents the moisture from coming into contact with the metal.
Apply a Powder Coating to Your Mailbox:
Powder coating is one of the most common solutions to prevent mailboxes from rusting.
Powder coating acts as a barrier to protect the metal from corrosion, including rust.
Powder coating is polyester mixed with pigments, flow modifiers, leveling agents, and other additives. When these components are melted and mixed, they are reduced to powder form.
Rusting happens when metals come into contact with moisture and oxygen. Because powder coating is made of polyester that naturally resists moisture, it can help protect your mailbox from rusting.
Apply Dry Coating to Your Mailbox:
There are special products that are made to prevent rust.
These products dry completely without any residue, and they work by creating a barrier so that moisture does not come into contact with the metal.
These products effectively prevent your mailbox from rusting, and you can easily get them from your local hardware store.
Do regular maintenance:
Regular maintenance helps prevent your mailbox from rusting.
Rust tends to spread quickly. Once it appears, scrape it off to prevent it from spreading. Scrub it with warm water and soap.
You also need to apply a protective coating once in a while. If needed, apply a fresh coat of paint for extra protection. This is to keep your mailbox rust-free.
Are Plastic Mailboxes Better than Metal?
Plastic mailboxes are usually made from polypropylene, a sturdy and durable material that is easy to maintain.
If rusting is your main concern, plastic mailboxes are better than metal ones. Many homeowners prefer plastic mainly because they do not rust and are easy to clean.
If it is all about durability, metal mailboxes are better than plastic.
Plastic mailboxes are inexpensive because they are flimsy and they look cheap. They are also not good for hot climates, as they tend to fade and crack when exposed to heat.
If you want a plastic mailbox, get one made from high-quality plastic. These mailboxes have a coating that blocks UV rays, protecting the mailbox from the sun.
Are Wooden Mailboxes Better than Metal?
Wooden mailboxes and metal mailboxes have equal durability. Both are very sturdy and can last for a long time.
Wooden mailboxes are better than metal ones if your primary concern is rusting. However, wooden mailboxes have different issues – they tend to get eaten by termites.
While they do not rust, they are prone to mold and mildew when exposed to moisture. Wooden mailboxes also tend to fade when it is hot, and they can foster mold and mildew growth when it is rainy.
Metal mailboxes are better when it comes to how they withstand harsh weather conditions. Metal mailboxes can last long in hot, cold, or rainy weather.
If you want to get a wooden mailbox, make sure to treat the wood so it can resist mold and mildew. Plus, treating it adds an extra layer of protection that helps it last longer, even in harsh weather conditions.
Choosing The Right Mailbox: Steel Vs. Aluminum
How To Remove Rust From A Mailbox