The Guide To Choosing The Right Headstone For Your Loved One
After a loved one has passed, one of the most crucial decisions you can make is choosing the right headstone that will mark their final resting place for years to come. Just like almost everything in life, though, this can be a complicated process.
Fortunately, we have put together a guide to help you navigate choosing and installing the right headstone for your loved one.
Before Choosing A Headstone
There are a few things you need to consider before you look at the material, style, and epitaph that will go on your loved one’s headstone.
First you need to know the rules for the cemetery. Each cemetery has different rules on what kind of headstones are appropriate along with their design. If there hasn’t been any communication with the cemetery director prior to your loved one’s passing, it helps to speak with them as soon as possible. They can outline what is allowed and what isn’t, along with how much the plot will cost for burial.
Along with the budget for the plot itself, once you have the cemetery rules, it helps to have a budget for the headstone itself. This budget can affect the materials used as well as the design and finish.
Choosing The Right Headstone Style
Depending on the rules of the cemetery, there are a variety of styles that headstones come in.
This type of headstone is typically set flat in the ground. It can be easy to miss if you don’t have the plot memorized. If you choose to have an inscription on your chosen headstone, it can either be carved directly into the stone itself or on a plaque that can be attached to the stone.
Raised-Top Flat Headstone
This type of headstone is similar to flat headstones, but are a bit easier to recognize off the ground. The reason for this is, like the name implies, the top of the headstone is raised slightly, usually at an angle.
This type of headstone is considered the most traditional, mainly because it’s been used more historically. However, headstone practices in recent years have improved on this timeless design, incorporating a more solid base, such as concrete, that the headstone itself is fixed to. If the cemetery you choose allows upright headstones, they might have certain measurements that it must be within.
This type of headstone covers the full length of the burial plot and is usually connected to an upright headstone. The plot border itself acts as a curb to more adequately mark the full grave of your loved one.
Choosing The Right Headstone Materials
Once you’ve determines the type of headstone you want for your loved one, you need to choose the material that you want it made from. Here are a few of the most popular headstone materials to choose from:
Granite - Flexible and adaptable. Comes in different colors and finishes. Long lasting material. One of the more affordable options to choose from.
Marble - Very beautiful material due to blue and gray textures throughout. Very smooth. However, it lacks strength and longevity due to being susceptible to weathering.
Bronze - Durable material. Will darken over time, but doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Whatever material you choose, you want to consider the pros and cons of each. Depending on where your loved one will be buried, you might be limited in the materials you can choose.
Choosing The Right Headstone Finish
When you have chosen the material, the finish you choose can complete the look once you finalize the design. So why isn’t this section after choosing the design and inscription? Different materials can give a different aesthetic look depending on the finish regardless of the design.
Polished Finish - Very smooth and shiny, but can reflect the sun easily. Does require regular cleaning and maintenance and might seem out of place in older cemeteries.
Semi-Polished Finish - Only polished in the inscription and base. Rest of the headstone can either be rubbed, sanded, or another form of smoothing the material.
Pitched Finish - Hand-chiseled and very rough and natural. Can be done to fit into older cemeteries.
Eggshell Finish - The stone face is unpolished while the edges have a smooth finish.
Choosing The Right Headstone Design
Symbols have a lot of meaning to people throughout their lives. Choosing the right headstone design to incorporate that symbol can provide the best memorial to your loved one. These symbols can be the headstone itself, like through a cross, book, or heart-shaped headstone, or carved into the stone itself.
As we’ve mentioned before, the cemetery you choose may have rules that you need to follow when choosing your headstone design.
Choosing The Right Headstone Inscription
This is possibly the most important choice when constructing your loved one’s headstone. In some cases, the inscription may have been chosen before their passing, but if there no instructions were left, then it helps to take the following into consideration:
Length of Text
These factors help determine how the inscription will read and how loved ones will want to remember them after they’ve passed. It reflects their personality, it serves as a farewell message, and is a reminder for everyone who eventually visits the grave for years afterward.
Choosing The Right Headstone Maker
At Richfield Monuments, we have the skills, materials, and knowledge to make choosing the right headstone for your loved one simple during this trying time. If you are looking for an affordable quality headstone for your loved one, contact us today for a consultation.