In recent years, the issue of memorial safety and keeping memorials secure has been of great concern to the public. Gravestones can gradually deteriorate over time or even collapse, posing a serious risk of injury to burial ground visitors. Nonetheless, there are simple steps you can take to assess and manage the risks posed by the memorial of a loved one to ensure that it meets the cemetery’s strict guidelines for safety. In this guide, we explore all the necessary steps to securing a memorial to prevent injury or further damage to the headstone or memorial marker.

Determining Memorial Security

If your loved one’s memorial is chipping, cracking, crumbling, flaking, wobbly, or otherwise unstable, the cemetery will likely contact you to report its condition and request intervention. Burial authorities have an obligation to maintain any burial grounds they manage, but it is the responsibility of the grave owner or the next of kin to secure the headstone. Periodic assessments are important to determining whether a headstone requires repair. You should perform visual inspections for obvious signs that the memorial is likely to be unstable.

Repairing a headstone: With proper maintenance, you can keep a headstone in great condition for many years, but it is impossible to prevent a headstone from being broken by a car, a lawnmower, or a falling tree. There are a broad variety of epoxies that are specifically designed for monument and stone bonding or repair. Epoxy products contain a low modulus of elasticity to help absorb differential movement so that it is much less likely to cause a stress area in a bordering, weakened plane. If the headstone is damaged beyond simple repair, you will need to seek the services of a stonemason who can preserve or repair it for you.

Resetting a headstone: Due to weather conditions, shifting soil, or the simple passage of time, headstones can lean or even topple over. Resetting a headstone is a delicate process and should only be done with the help of a specialist or preservationist. Before a headstone can be reset, it needs to be removed from its site with the help of a pulley or a tripod. Using a shovel, you should widen and deepen the site to make room for the headstone. Partially fill the bottom of the hole with gravel to provide a level base for the headstone. Carefully raise the stone and reset it in the new hole by using a pulley or tripod. Once the stone is placed, use a level to check that it sits flat in the hole.