What To Consider When Choosing A Headstone For Your Loved One’s Grave

Selecting a lasting memorial for your loved one's grave is a time-honored act of honoring the person by marking their final resting place. You'll first need to determine what is allowed in the cemetery. Then you'll choose from a variety of materials and shapes to find the perfect memorial. Here are your options for that perfect headstone for your friend or family member's grave.

Ask About Cemetery Regulations First

Each cemetery has its own guidelines for erecting a headstone that you'll need to review and follow. Get a copy of the regulations so you'll know what the limitations are. They will include such items as:

  • what materials are allowed for a headstone
  • the maximum and minimum sizes allowed
  • any restrictions on shapes or styles of headstone
  • any specifics about the foundation on which the headstone will rest

Once you have the regulations, you can begin shopping for that perfect memorial.

Material Choices for a Headstone

Materials can range from traditional stone to high tech metal or glass.

Marble - This has been a popular material for headstones for years. It is easy to carve into shapes and engrave. It comes in a variety of colors and can be polished to a high gloss or left with a matte appearance. Marble is susceptible to the weather and, over many years, can wear down and inscriptions can become hard to read.

Granite - Modern mining and carving techniques have made this another popular choice. It can also be carved into a variety of shapes. It can be polished or left with a matte finish. It is more resistant to weather than marble.

Bronze - These metal memorials are made by molding the metal when it is hot. Because they are molded, bronze memorials can be made into shapes more difficult to do with stone. Inscriptions are etched into the metal, then the marker is polished to a high gloss. Bronze can develop a dull appearance, so it needs polishing periodically.

Glass - Glass can also be molded into a number of shapes. Inscriptions are etched into the glass. Dyes can be added to the glass to create a colorful look. Glass headstones do run the risk of being chipped by flying debris when the landscape is maintained.

Memorial Shapes

The shape of a memorial is often dependent on the material from which it's made.

Slab - This is a simple square or rectangle placed flat on the ground with the inscription facing up. You'll also find a variety of accessories that can be mounted on the flat slab, such as a frame for a photo of the deceased and vases for flowers.

Upright Square or Rectangle - This shape sits up on a base and can have inscriptions on both sides. All sides of this marker can be polished, but often you'll find the two faces are polished and the edges left natural.

Wedge - Similar to the upright marker, this headstone is wider at the base than the top. This creates a more stable headstone that resists being toppled over.

Other shapes - Circles, ovals, hearts and cylinders can all be found as headstones.

You can choose a traditional material and shape to honor your loved one. Or you can be creative and find a unique design that matches the colorful character of the person. A headstone is a special way to remember the person for many years after they have gone.

Talk to a business like McGee Monuments to learn more.