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How to Design a Headstone That Stands the Test of Time

Headstones have come a long way. The oldest cemeteries contain monuments overrun with moss and deterioration. Now, monument makers craft headstones that retain their original look for many generations. To make your loved one’s memorial long lasting, consider the following three factors: material, quality and maintenance.

Let’s take a closer look at how these factors create a long-lasting headstone.

Choose a durable material

Older headstones were traditionally crafted with marble, slate and limestone. You can tell how old these headstones are by the extensive wear and tear they suffered over the decades. These types of stones aren’t recommended anymore because they contain calcite, a mineral that easily dissolves beneath acids and rainwater.

Nowadays, granite and quartzite are more suitable options for long-lasting headstones. These durable stones remain virtually unaltered by thousands of years’ worth of wind, rain, ice and vegetation. The lettering and designs will retain their sharp contrast, and the headstones will look brand new for many generations into the future.

Not only are granite and quartzite highly durable, they also come in many different styles. Granite offers a range of colors like black, gray, blue and pink. Quartzite has a polished appearance that can be made to look like marble. This is a great option for families who prefer the aesthetic of older headstones but want a more durable material.

Opt for high-quality stone

Choosing a durable stone isn’t enough. You need the highest-quality materials to make your loved one’s memorial long lasting. Granite and quartzite are available in various grades that determine its ability to withstand weathering. Avoid stones with a low density because they’re more likely to crack. The cracks can fill with water and freeze, causing the headstone to split.

High-density stones consist of minerals that are tightly fused together. A higher density means there’s less space in between the minerals for cracks to form. When there are no cracks, moisture and rainwater can’t infiltrate the stone. They have greater structural integrity, which makes them less prone to cracks and ice splitting. In other words, high-density granite or quartzite will give you a long-lasting headstone.

Clean headstones the right way

While granite and quartzite are very durable, these stones need a little help with maintaining their original appearance. Regular cleanings are necessary to make a memorial long lasting. Your efforts to clean the headstone will help prevent discolorations and remove debris that dulls the surface.

Proper cleaning techniques are important so you don’t accidentally damage the headstone. All you need is a soft brush and clean bucket of water. Avoid wire bristles, power washers, soap and cleaning solutions because they will damage the stone’s surface. Keep the headstone wet as you gently scrub away dirt, leaf litter and bird droppings with a circular motion.

In addition to material, quality and maintenance, the key to a durable headstone is choosing the right monument maker. Harsha Monument Co. has been in business for well over a century and crafts high-quality granite headstones made to last. Check out the team’s gallery of products to see how we’ve honored countless lives over the years.