With the passage of time and exposure to the elements, gravestone memorials and grave headstones will wane over time; inclement weather can hasten it along. Nevertheless, there are numerous ways to shield the final resting place of a loved one – even in winter.
- Do use a stone consolidator, like Conservare H100, that fortifies the decaying stone. Treat the stone in cycles until it can no longer absorb any more of the Conservare.
- Do use a stone or tile sealer for preserving headstones with caution. This technique doesn’t allow stone to breath as it locks in minerals and moisture; leading to deterioration.
- Do use clean, natural water or even distilled water. This is the most nontoxic way to clean a grave headstone.
What not to do:
- Do not use products with high acidic and alkaline properties, like bleach, muriatic acid and other cleaners.
- Do not use any products with a protective coating; it will damage the stone beyond fixing.
- Do not use an abrasive pad or harsh metal brush to clean the stone.
- Do not use shaving cream, a common mistake, to clean a gravestone memorial or grave headstone. It’s immediate cleaning attributions are detrimental in the long stretch.
- Do not clean a grave memorial or grave headstone more than once a year. Depending on the stone, some should only be cleaned every decade.
Weathering the future
Conversations about death, dying and the funeral process is macabre for a lot of people. It makes them uncomfortable so tasks, such as selecting a gravestone memorial or a grave headstone, is left to loved ones. At the time family members are making this selection, they will not be thinking about decades down the line and how they will protect the final resting place of a loved one.
Still, there are a few things to he/she/they should know before selecting a gravestone memorial or headstone that may make future protection a little easier to weather.
- Limestone dissolves,
- Marble crumbles,
- Slate splinters,
- Sandstone pops, and
- White bronze breaks.
If longevity and easy care are important, there are only two stones that will exceed the criteria for a long lasting gravestone memorial or grave headstone; bronze and granite.
To clean a bronze marker, rinse it with water and then spray with distilled water. This will make the bronze surface chemically indolent. Wipe with a towel and the cleaning is done. Burnishing a skinny sheet of wax and lightly sweeping the surface with a shoe brush will preserve its beauty.
Too much work? Even without any care, bronze will remain in good standing for at least 100 hundred years; maybe longer since lettering on bronze grave markers are raised, making it more difficult for them to fade over time. Eventually, bronze will tarnish; turning green due to oxidation.
Granite is an igneous rock impermeable to hail, rain, mildew and mold. It is nearly impossible to break or snap. If there is one thing that prevents granite from being ideal as a headstone marker, it’s the painted lettering. Still, the headstone will last for centuries before freezing winters, blistering summers, and wind begin to corrode a loved one’s final resting spot.
To clean granite, use a mix of water and non-ionic cleaner. With a sponge, softly polish from the bottom upward. This will eliminate streaking. Rinse often during the process.
Pick the Right Stone Mason
When thinking about how to protect a gravestone memorial or grave headstone, considering who, when and how the stone comes to being isn’t generally given much consideration. However, it is important to pick a qualified mason with expert knowledge of stone to create a gravestone memorial or grave headstone that will stand up to time. For questions about grave markers and memorials, contact David Gibson, a master stone mason. With years of experience and expertise, DM Gibson offers a wide choice of stonemasonry amenities, including stone carving, engraving and inscriptions.