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4 Reasons to Repair a Headstone

DrStew82 / CC BY-SA

Although headstones are designed to with stand the tests of time, they will eventually show some signs of deterioration. When visiting a loved one’s memorial, take a moment to inspect the headstone for any telltale signs of damage. If you do see any signs of damage or deterioration be sure to take notes, of the visible issues, and then contact your monument company. Your monument company will be able to advise you on the best solutions available to correct any major damage and prevent further deterioration.

There is so much thought, time, love and money that go into designing and crafting a headstone for the ones we care about, we need to continue the maintenance for life. So, when purchasing a new headstone or burial monument be sure to speak with your monument builder about what type of routine maintenance or care will be needed.

The Top 4 Reasons for Headstone Repair

Indecipherable Inscription

Finding the right words for a headstone inscription can take weeks, or even months. So, having the words fades away, becoming illegible can be quite upsetting. Depending on the type of stone and method of engraving that was chosen, it generally takes several years, if ever, for the inscription to become unreadable. However, if you should discover that the inscription is becoming difficult to read first try cleaning the headstone. If a proper cleaning does not correct the issue, contact your local monument dealer. A monument inscriber can touch up the inscription on-site, making it look new again.

In some instances, such as with double headstones, one might opt to have an inscription touched up sooner. For example, if one individual does not pass onto till several years later, the original inscription might have faded. At this time, it is a good idea to go ahead and have the headstone inscription touched up, so that the monument looks fresh and new.

Discoloration of the Headstone

There are many reasons a headstone can become unsightly with discoloration or stains. Issues like this can be caused by the elements, soil stains, or even negligence from other visitors. Regular cleaning is a great way to help maintain the headstones original beauty. Be sure to discuss general cleaning and maintenance with your monument builder. If you do not want to clean the headstone or monument yourself, call your local monument dealer to schedule a headstone cleaning.

Cracks in the Headstone or Broken Pieces

As hard as stone is, any significant impact to the stone can cause it to crack or chip. There are cruel people in this world who vandalize headstones, seemingly without care for the financial impact or emotional toll it can take on the family and friends. Some cemeteries may have regulations to help determine whom is responsible for any damages to headstone or monuments, in the event the responsible party is not caught.

However, most headstone damage occurs naturally over an extended period of time. Weather plays a significant role in the deterioration and breakdown of stone. This is especially true in areas that experience all four seasons. Harsh winter snows and excessive rain can cause the stone of a headstone or monument to deteriorate faster.

Headstone Sinking into the Ground

Settling is a natural occurrence, that can cause wreak havoc on a headstone or burial monument. The shifting of the soil can cause cracking, or even breaking. Large cracks and breaks could result in damage to the headstones inscription and engraved markings. One way to try and prevent this is to have the headstone set on a base, even if it is not required. A base acts as a barrier between the monument and the ground helping to keep it from sinking into the soil. If you have already placed a headstone and you notice it is sinking. Consider talking to the cemetery about repairing the ground and/or having a base added to the headstone, to help prevent further occurrences.

Inspect for Headstone Damage

The next time you are visiting a loved one’s grave site take a quick moment to inspect the headstone for any signs of damage. If you should discover some discoloration of the stone or that the inscription is becoming difficult to read, consider cleaning it. If you should notice any cracks or pieces broken off do not attempt to clean it, as this can cause further damage. Instead, contact your local monument dealer to have it professionally inspected and repaired, if needed.

If you live in the Greater Washington D.C. area, call Columbia Gardens Memorials we offer professional headstone cleaning and on-site headstone engraving and repairs.

DrStew82 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia CommonsDrStew82 / CC BY-SA


COVID-19 Update

We are continuing to practice social distancing and following CDC guidelines, to protect our community and staff. However, we are open and available to serve you. Todd and our engravers are back on premises working and we are accepting appointments during our normal operating hours. To schedule an appointment with us please call our office at (703) 527-7774 or email us at

Thank you for your understanding during this time. – The Columbia Gardens Memorials Staff