After purchasing a gravestone for your loved one, you may be faced with the decision between hiring a professional stone mason to install it at your chosen gravesite or installing it on your own. Most cemeteries have regulations pertaining to the installation of headstones, and they also offer installation services for an extra fee. You should always consult your cemetery’s caretaker to ensure compliance. Tombstones can be very heavy and hazardous to install, but there are certain safety measures you can take to ensure your headstone installation goes off without a hitch. In this article, we will review how to set up a tombstone with or without concrete, so you can accurately and safely install your own headstone without the assistance of a specialist. Keep reading to learn more.
How to Set Up a Tombstone with Concrete
Setting up a heavy headstone will require several tools to ensure that it will not sink or tilt over time. Pay a visit to your local home improvement store and invest in a shovel, measuring tape, a level, four or more reinforced steel bars, steel mesh, wire twist ties, a hammer, water, three to four bags of concrete mix, a mixing container, and PVC pipe between six and eight inches in diameter.
Measure the length and width of your gravestone with the measuring tape and dig a hole accordingly, approximately two to three feet deep with the same dimensions. We recommend that you dig an extra inch or two on each side just in case. Once the dirt is excavated, dig two holes to accommodate your steel bars on the outer edge using a shovel or pole hole digger. These holes should measure at least two to six feet deep. Install the reinforced steel bars with the help of a hammer until only three inches of steel are visible above the surface. Attach steel mesh at the bottom of the hole and secure it to the steel bars with metal twist ties. If you are installing a grass marker with a vase, you will want to dig a shallow hole in its place to install PVC pipe. Mix the concrete according to manufacturer directions and pour it into the hole for your headstone. After 24 to 48 hours of drying time, you can safely install your grave marker. Never attempt to install a tombstone on your own. We recommend that you seek help from two to three people.
How to Set Up a Tombstone Without Concrete
Some headstones are small enough that they might not require the support and stability of a concrete base. If you choose a grass-level grave marker, pillow marker, or slanted headstone that measures no larger than 24 inches x 12 inches x 4 inches, you may be in luck. Invest in a shovel, bag of sand, measuring tape, and a level.
Measure your grave marker for accuracy as well as the size of the burial plot where it will be installed. Add one to two inches on all sides to ensure your headstone fits. Using your shovel, excavate the sand and reserve to the side. Dig deep enough to accommodate the thickness of your grass marker. With the help of two or three others, install your marker carefully and inspect whether it lies perfectly flat. Using reserved sand, you can align your marker and ensure whether it is firmly fitted in the gravesite.
After installation, it is always recommended that you clean the headstone and nearby area. We hope that this article helps you decide whether tombstone installation is best left under your care or the help of a trusted professional. If you have any questions, please contact Legacy Headstones for additional information.