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Learn to Spot Low-Quality Headstones

Commemorating your loved one with a memorial is a tangible way to express your love and care. Headstones are a common way to fulfill that need, and when your loved one passes away, it’s common to feel overwhelmed by the choices and prices of everything you may need. It may be tempting to choose a headstone that is less expensive. Unfortunately, the lower expense may be an indicator of a low-quality marker.

The reality is that no headstone will stay in its prime condition forever. Often, these markers will decay slightly over time due to weather and other damage. While less expensive headstones may seem like a good option in the beginning, you’re likely to see their poor quality over time. Their integrity will degrade more quickly and look much worse than their higher-quality counterparts. Let’s explore how to spot a low-quality headstone and instead find a memorial that will honor your loved one for generations.

Low-Quality Lettering and Lines

Walking through a cemetery, you may wonder why a headstone from 100 years ago is still easily legible while one from only a few years prior is impossible to make out. The simple answer is quality. Antique headstones were created through methods that took time and care and materials that were known to stand the test of time. Modern headstones can still be made that way, but they can just as often be made by cutting corners. 

Lower-cost headstones are often priced that way as a result of the time it takes to create them. Lettering and lines should be carved at a depth that lasts, but low-quality manufacturers may cut corners and carve shallow words or designs. Most headstone manufacturers use a highlighter to enhance the effects of their lettering, and even low-quality headstones can be painted and highlighted enough to look passable for the first few years. As time goes on, the shallower depths at which they are carved will weather and deteriorate. This applies to both lettering and lines. The shortcuts used on these markers will result in rough edges and an unfinished look that will become more and more obvious as it ages. Markers of this quality may eventually be difficult to read or even illegible entirely. 

Poor Alignment 

Alignment is a noticeable flaw even with no previous headstone experience. This is another issue that highlights the lack of time taken when making a low-quality product. When made in a hurry, proper alignment is something that is often overlooked, but it is an extremely noticeable defect. If possible, view real-life examples of a manufacturer’s work and pay special attention to the installation. A poorly installed marker could be clearly tilted to one side, showing text and images askew. This is an extremely bothersome and expensive issue to fix. Realigning your loved one’s headstone could require removing it completely, which will call for a professional, added cost, and a potential emotional toll. Avoid this issue entirely by selecting a high-quality manufacturer.

Improper and Missing Foundations

A home without a foundation would crumble in the first major storm, the same is true of a headstone. A simple ring of concrete around the marker won’t be enough to hold it for long. This un-reinforced method will quickly cause leaning and eventually a complete failure to stand. 

Even markers that sit flush with the ground also need a strong foundation. For this type of memorial, the foundation provides protection. The wider concrete or granite base will protect from lawnmower damage, pedestrian damage, and other causes of chipping. These markers can also be prone to slipping and tipping if not installed with care. A strong foundation will help your headstone stay sturdy, undamaged, and in its proper place.

If you’ve made a large purchase in the past, you know that lower cost doesn’t always mean good value. An inexpensive couch may look nice initially, but the cushioning and fabric are likely less durable. The foam may degrade, and the color may fade within a short amount of time. The same is true for headstones. A low-quality option could look similar to a high-quality one in the beginning, but over time it will likely shift, fade, and the lettering may become jagged and unreadable.

A headstone should be timeless. One hundred years from now, your loved one’s memorial should still stand tall in their memory. It should still be legible and intact. Choosing a high-quality marker now can mean not having to deal with costly maintenance or an entire replacement in the future. Be wary of suspiciously low prices and find something strong that will last. Legacy Headstones is well-regarded for our quality and care; we are here to help you select the most meaningful memorial for your loved one while respecting your budget for a high-quality piece.