When we lose a loved one, having a beautiful and fitting headstone to mark their unique personality and memorialize their lives is vital to many of us. A memorial marks a place for friends, families, and loved ones to visit and reflect on bittersweet memories. In some families, visiting loved ones at their graves with future generations is a tradition to get insight into family history, learn what the remembered still means to those around them, and think about their legacy.
Families of lost loved ones ultimately put their love and care into designing a marker to memorialize those they've lost, which is why we work hard to ensure every headstone we make lasts a lifetime. Every monument we create has a 500-year guarantee, as we only use the highest-quality granite that resists cracking, discoloration, and natural deterioration.
However, not all grave markers are equal. Effects of weather, dullness in the finish, and nature's elements can often wear on a low-quality headstone. Unfortunately, these damages are often unpreventable if the monument is not well-made.
Monument restoration services every few years will help preserve a headstone when monuments begin to wear. But how do you know when it is time for a restoration? What are the signs a memorial needs restoration?
Here are several different signs a memorial needs restoration.
A few monument companies may still use high-quality paint made specifically for granite to paint the engraved letters and details on a headstone. While the color does last much longer than other types of paint, inevitably, it will fade and become damaged due to several factors, such as:
- Outdoor weather, such as snow, rain, and sunlight.
- Upright headstones versus flat, ground-level headstones, as one tends to be exposed to the sun more than the other.
- Memorial location can also affect wear—monuments beneath trees or lower areas where water may collect fade faster than headstones on higher ground.
Chipping or Cracking
Since a monument is outside, it endures weather, temperature changes, and all elements of nature. Some headstones may begin to deteriorate due to constant exposure to wind, rain, snow, and the sun's intense heat.
There is also a small risk that the monument could experience unintended damages during cemetery maintenance. During grass cutting, there's a chance of rock damage or being accidentally bumped with cleaning and mowing equipment. Whether from exposure to the elements or unintentional damages, this can result in chips and cracks forming that can increase over time.
If you note any chips or cracks in a monument, it is a clear sign that restoration is needed.
Dirt or Moss Covered
Another issue that may cause a headstone to look as if it or its paint has faded is when it is dirty. The most common reasons why monuments need regular cleaning are:
- Grass clippings
- Excessive weathering
- Lichen growth
Cleaning a monument may bring it back to its original shine. How can you clean a memorial? Here are a few tips:
- Use plenty of clean water.
- Avoid using a pressure washer or any harsh soaps or detergents if possible. Avoiding cleaning chemicals of any kind is advised.
- Wet the monument thoroughly before you start cleaning.
- Always use a fiber or nylon brush to prevent scratches
- Begin cleaning from the bottom and work your way to the top, making sure not to let the monument dry until you are finished and ready to rinse.
Monument is Sinking
Should the foundation of a monument not be poured properly, dug deep enough, or backfilled properly, or when surrounding vegetation gets under the foundation, it can shift and sink. Poor foundations lead to leaning, sinking, and, in severe cases, fallen and broken memorials. If your loved one's monument appears to be sinking or tilting, reach out to your memorial provider and a cemetery restoration provider immediately to avoid future damage.
The Monument is Not Granite
Granite is the top choice for memorials because it is a rugged material that can easily last centuries, making it perfect for headstones. Granite deteriorates less than 1/1000th of an inch in 1,000 years! Very few monuments created from other materials can boast the same deterioration resistance. Older memorials constructed in the 1800s are notably less durable as they tend to use limestone or marble.
Because of how porous rocks like limestone, marble, and sandstone are, these materials are prone to "sugaring," where the surface becomes loose and grainy. Over time monuments made of these materials will begin cracking, chipping, and eroding, which is why we only use today's highest-quality granite to create our beautiful monuments.
At Legacy Headstones, we hope we have been able to assist you in answering any questions about spotting the signs of a memorial needing restoration.