Front door letterbox: yes or no?

A front door with a letterbox

It was in 1635 when Charles I introduced a public mail service, but it wasn’t until 1849 that the ‘established’ Post Office encouraged people to install letterboxes in their front doors. This system has continued to the present day, still a highly popular choice for homeowners. If, however, you were deciding to change or replace your front door, would you choose a front door with a letterbox?

Before we move onto looking at the advantages and disadvantages of letterboxes, let’s take a look at some of the most popular designs –

  • Horizontal box set into middle of front door.
  • Vertical box set into side of front door.
  • Spring flap opening.
  • External flap opening.
  • Secondary internal flap.
  • Internal post box/ cage attached.

All of these designs come in a range of materials including; aluminium, brass, chrome, steel and although there is no legal requirement in the UK, most letterboxes conform to the European Standards

  • Envelope size 229 mm × 324 mm must be deliverable without bending or damage.
  • Internal volume of cage must able to hold an envelope bundle at least 40 mm high.
  • The aperture width of either 230–280 mm or 325–400 mm.
  • An aperture height of 30–35 mm.
  • Installed on the front door between 0.7m and 1.7 m.
  • Privacy, theft, rain, vandalism and corrosion resistant.

The alternative to a front door letterbox is an external wall mounted post box, secured by a key and made from weather resistant, super strong steel. Some of these wall mounted post boxes are installed into a garage or side building for further security.

If, like the majority of the UK, you have a front door with a letterbox these are some of the advantages –

Advantages of a front door with a letterbox

  • Personal, confidential mail and small parcels are conveniently and securely delivered directly into your home, without the need for venturing outside.
  • Important, perishable small items are delivered into the home, free from exposure to outside temperatures, damp or frost. There is also no risk of theft or damage from outside threats.

Disadvantages of a front door with a letterbox

  • A front door letterbox can expose the interior to draughts and cold air, thus reducing the thermal efficiency of the front door and therefore increasing energy bills.
  • The letterbox is in itself an opening into the house, that can lend itself to be taken advantage of by criminals or vandals.

It’s worth highlighting that there are several design features that can help counteract these disadvantages. By adding letterbox brush strips on both the external and internal plates, they can go someway to combating both draughts and predatory entry attempts. For the ultra-safety conscious there are anti-arson letterboxes that come equipped with a fireproof mail bag to catch any flammables and in the worst case scenario has an automatic fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames.

It seems, however, that the design path of the front door is moving more inline with no letterbox and as this one company has witnessed: “Whether it is for additional security, to reduce heat loss by removing the need for a letter flap or for aesthetic reasons, the demand for the individual mailbox is bigger than ever!”

For a look at the many designs front doors with letterboxes come in take a look at our gallery.

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