A Few Tips for Selecting the Right Headstone

Choosing a headstone for a gravesite is not an easy task, but you want to make sure you take the time to opt for a headstone that you'll be satisfied with for years to come; this might be one you are preselecting for yourself as part of preplanning your own funeral, or one for a family member. Note a few tips on selecting the right headstone so you know you are getting the best material and so you can have it properly engraved as well.

1. First check with the cemetery

Some cemeteries have limitations on the size, shape, structure, and insignia of any headstone on their property. Be sure you check with them first about any such restrictions before you even shop, as you may need to change your mind about the cemetery itself or the headstone you choose.

2. Choosing the material

Note that not all stones are as durable as you might assume. Limestone and slate may actually erode over time, whereas granite it very durable and shouldn't show any types of marks or signs of vandalism. Bronze is very attractive, but it does need regularly polishing to keep it from showing a patina, or change of colour, as it ages.

3. Size

The larger the headstone, the heavier it will be, so a very large marker may need a larger concrete base to keep it in place. Be sure you consider the cost of such a base and of having it installed. You might also think that the concrete base detracts from the overall look of a headstone, and would want to choose something smaller so that its base is not so visible.

4. Engraving and markings

You always want to ensure you know the meaning of any symbol you choose for a headstone, as you may think that certain symbols are just for decoration when, in truth, they may signify a person's religion or other such beliefs. As an example, you may not realize that a star on a headstone is typically the Star of David, or a symbol of Judaism. A crescent moon with a small star inside its curve is a symbol of Islam and is often put on headstones. A shape that looks like a ship's wheel may be a symbol of Buddhism. Don't choose any such marking for your headstone without understanding the meaning; at the same time, you may want to include a special symbol on your own headstone to show your religious beliefs, so do some research about what might be used and be sure to include that in the engraving.

Contact a company that sells monumental stones for more information.