Headstones for graves are significant purchases. You want to choose monuments that honor your loved ones, and that will stand the test of time.
Black Monument has been serving families in and around Grand Rapids since 1893. They are experts on headstones. Here are (9) valued suggestions for purchasing (and maintaining) grave markers, monuments and cemetery headstones.
1. Before Purchasing a Headstone – Visit the Cemetary
Black Monument’s advice is to visit the cemetery where you will be burying your loved one.
Take a tour of the grounds. Observe what you like and dislike about different headstones, monuments, and grave markers — jot down some notes to reference later. Present your ideas to us, and we will consult with you to create the perfect memorial.
2. Hold Off On Ordering A Cemetery Headstone Immediately
Funerals create significant stress on families. And because of that, following a funeral is typically not the best time to make a big decision on purchasing a monument. It can take a little time for those affected by a recent death to gain their right frame of mind.
It is recommended to wait 2-6 months before ordering headstones for graves, monuments and grave markers. The grieving process and time frame is different for everyone. The space on a monument seems so small to sum up your loved one’s life. You have many options including your own words, bible verses, song lyrics, or meaningful quotes.
3. Will the Headstone Have A Concrete Foundation?
Most cemeteries require concrete foundations. They support and maintain the longevity of any monument being placed on top of them. Changing soil conditions from weather, without a concrete foundation, will cause a heavy monument made of granite to move or tip. A good foundation will ensure the monument’s integrity for years to come. The cement will go down to or just past the frost line to prevent heaving.
4. Every Cemetery Has Their Own By-Laws – Understand Them
Cemeteries have Rules and Regulations (By-Laws) to control the size of monuments being installed on their grounds. Before you purchase a headstone for a grave, it is important that you read and understand the By-Laws for the cemetery. Some will allow minimally sized monuments – i.e. a flat bronze market. Yet others will allow much larger monuments.
5. Will Your Cemetery Allow Flat Bronze Grave Markers?
Caring for the grounds of a cemetery such as keeping grass cut and weeding can be quite an undertaking. It is much easier to cut grass if a grounds crew doesn’t have to avoid taller monuments which is why some cemeteries only allow flat bronze markers as an option.
It is for this reason you should understand the By-Laws of your cemetery. If you were planning on a large upright headstone, you could be in for a disappointment.
6. Gravestone Shapes And Colors
Granite has a wide variety of colors to choose from. The shape and color will be up to you.
If you want your new headstone to blend in with those around it, take note of the color and shapes already installed at the cemetery. Then again, if you want it to stand out among its neighboring headstones, that is another direction you can take.
Each granite color represents a different quarry from around the globe. Black Monument offers the finest domestic granites from many areas of the United States and Canada, as well as Italian, European, African and Far Eastern granites. Each granite has a unique color and character. Some designs and lettering styles work better on certain colors. They would encourage you to view a wide range of colors first hand in their showroom.
7. Choosing The Headstone Design
Choosing the memorial design is the last step. There are endless design options to tell the story of your loved one. From endearments, religious symbols, civic or military emblems, photos, or signatures, we have the ability and the craftsmanship to turn any idea into a beautiful, permanent work of art. Our design staff will personally work with you to design a monument as unique as the loved one it honors.
8. Limitations To Lettering All-Sides Of A Headstone
The subject of lettering all-side of a headstone is going to be subject to the By-Laws of the cemetery you are working with. Your intentions might be that you want to have words on multiples sides of the headstone you are designing, but the cemetery’s Rules and Regulations will not allow for that. Save yourself some frustration and cost and determine if the cemetery you are going to place the headstone at will allow multiple-sided wording.
9. Headstone Lettering Can Fade Over Time
A granite headstone will not fade over time, but the lettering can. Headstone lettering is often emphasized by using enamel paint for readability to make the text stand out. If the headstone you have designed is going to be placed in spot where the conditions are quite damp, you can expect accelerated fading of the lettering. Headstones placed under trees or in shady areas will be more likely to experience wetter conditions for longer periods of time.