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Gravesite and Monument Maintenance

Photo of burial monuments in Columbia Gardens Cemetery

When you first put a loved one to rest you can often be too lost in the grief of moment to consider the maintenance needs of their gravesite and burial monument in the years to come. While the most common types of memorial markers are built to last for the span of many lifetimes, this does not necessarily mean that they will weather the ravages of time and the environment as well as you may anticipate. In fact, some gravestones have been known to become virtually illegible in as little as a decade after a memorial service. However, there are some things you can do to ensure the memory of your friends and family are honored as they deserve to be.

What Gravesite Maintenance are You Responsible For

While most cemeteries do everything that they can to keep the premises in top condition, they may have certain limitations. Many cemeteries are constrained by a budget that affect how much gravesite maintenance they can provide. The best way to determine the level of maintenance that you will need to provide, is to speak with the cemetery about what maintenance they offer. In addition, you can walk the cemetery and asses the condition of other gravesites, gravestones, and mausoleums. The conditions of other sites and their grave markers can give you an idea about how much care you will need to provide, to ensure that your loved one has a memorial that is clean and legible.

Inspect the Memorial Monument for Damage

The memorials of your loved ones should be periodically inspected for defects, wear and tear, as well as, any unfortunate damage that they may have been sustained. The sad fact is that vandalism and negligence can often lead to the permanent defacing of a memorial monument and chances are high that the culprit may never be identified or held to account. The best way to guard against this is vigilance and taking personal responsibility for the well-being of the memorial.

Match Maintenance to the Needs of the Memorial

Not all memorials are created equal, and the maintenance requirements for a marble gravestone may vary a great deal from that of a granite mausoleum. So, ask your memorial monument dealer about routine maintenance needs. When you visit your loved ones’ gravesite, make a quick checklist of any problems that you are seeing whether they are water spots, mold, or plant growth that are affecting the burial monument. You can than perform necessary maintenance yourself or contact your memorial monument company, or a local company that offers headstone maintenance and cleaning. Keeping track of how often your loved one’s monument requires maintenance can help you to develop a maintenance schedule that is specific to the monuments needs.

A maintenance schedule may include something as simple as trimming the grass away from the monument once every few weeks, if the cemetery does not offer this service, or annual headstone cleanings. If there are any defects or damage found, during routine maintenance you will want to call a local monument company right away to have the headstone inspected by a professional. Defects such as cracks or breakage of the stone could cause the memorial monument to deteriorate more rapidly.

Columbia Gardens Memorials offers maintenance for grave markers, headstones, and mausoleums to include cleaning and on-site engraving, throughout the Greater Washington D.C. area. Give us a call at (703) 527-7774, to schedule a consultation.


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