If you live on the coast, it may not have occurred to you that your choice of mailbox should be different as a result. But just as the coastal weather can take its toll on buildings, it can damage mailboxes – and like coastal buildings, they should be built with this in mind.

Coastal homes, especially those facing the Atlantic and northern Pacific, often experience fierce winds which can tear up and throw around anything not properly secured.

In this environment, lightweight plastic mailboxes are an obvious no-go. Mailbox construction needs to be solid and weighty, but this doesn’t mean cedar, despite the popularity of cedar mailboxes elsewhere in the ‘States. Moist, salty air will soon cause wood to corrode, even if you regularly coat it with sealant, and the overall lifespan of your mailbox will be short.

Metal mailboxes are generally the best choice for coastal weather, though you should avoid aluminum for the same reason you avoid plastic – it’s simply too lightweight and is difficult to secure firmly enough for you to be sure it will be safe.

Due to the corrosive effects of sea air, you’ll also need to avoid metals likely to tarnish or rust. Brass may look handsome elsewhere, but on the cost it will soon become stained and discolored even if you polish it daily. Rust, in turn, does more than just damage the appearance of your mailbox – it can jam hinges and make it impossible to open.

The best choice for coastal mailbox construction is heavy duty stainless steel, which will remain solid, keep its shine and protect your mail whatever the weather.

One final consideration with a coastal mailbox is the damage which can be done when rain, sand, damp air and sea spray get inside your mailbox and get at your mail.

For this reason it’s best to avoid mailboxes with open mail slot frontage or with doors which can easily fall open. If you prefer to use a mail slot type box for security reasons, make sure it has a drop-down flap to protect it from the elements.