Headstones are not only for marking graves. They serve as a reminder of loved ones who have passed and a mark of honor and respect for their memory. When choosing a headstone, careful consideration is required, as your choice of headstone is key to perfect funeral planning. The overall appearance and design of the headstone are important but not as crucial as the material it is made of.
What Are the Most Common Headstone Materials?
Modern technology has helped innovate and expand the type of inscription that can be placed on headstones, but the materials have remained practically the same ever since. The following are some of the most common materials used for building headstones.
Granite is the most well-known type of igneous rock. It is formed as a result of the slow and gradual crystallization of magma from below the Earth’s surface. Many people are familiar with this material because it is used to make floor tiles, countertops, paving stones, and of course, cemetery monuments.
Marble is just as well-known as granite. It is used mainly as a building material and for sculptures. The term ‘marble’ technically refers to limestone that has been subjected to metamorphism, although it is used more broadly in stonemasonry. Marble is cheap and easy to polish, making it a popular choice for headstones.
Iron was the material of choice for headstones during the Victorian era. They were produced by either local blacksmiths or specialist factories that produce metal castings. Two types of iron are used for headstones. One is cast iron, and the other one is wrought iron. Both are durable and can survive for decades but are less common nowadays.
Like iron, bronze used to be a popular choice for headstones as they can last for generations. Bronze is an alloy that consists mainly of copper. It is harder than pure iron and is even more resistant to corrosion. Because of this, bronze continues to be a sought-after material when it comes to headstones.
There are three common types of stones used for making headstones. Fieldstone, sandstone, and limestone. Fieldstones are construction materials collected from field surfaces where they naturally occur. They are among the earliest types of materials used for making memorials and are usually decorated using a metal awl.
On the other hand, sandstone is one of the most common types of sedimentary rock. They are formed from the sediments deposited by the wind, sea, and rivers. This type of material can be carved into various sizes and shapes to make grave markers and is available in a range of elegant colors.
Limestone is also a type of sedimentary rock that forms in calm and shallow marine waters. Just like sandstone, limestone is easy to carve and has been a popular choice for making headstones for a long time.
Concrete has been around for centuries and is considered the most widely used construction material. It’s economical, readily available, and a very workable option. It’s also one of the most popular materials used for making headstones. While it’s still a very much welcomed choice for headstones today, it’s slowly being replaced by other materials that offer more durability and design flexibility.
Comparison of Headstone Materials
While there are nearly a dozen materials that can be used for making headstones, the three most in-demand nowadays are granite, marble, and natural stone. Compared to other types of headstone materials, these three are more durable, are easier to design, and are more elegant-looking.
Granite, for instance, is considered one of the hardest stones in the world, second only to diamond. It’s less susceptible to scratching and is highly resistant to damage caused by extreme weather conditions.
One of the main advantages of granite is that it is available in various colors. It is composed mainly of feldspar and quartz, although it can also have small amounts of other minerals, such as amphiboles and mica. This diverse mineral composition gives granite its aesthetical advantage. Depending on the minerals present in granite, it can exhibit patches of green, blue, pink, red, gray, or white. Since the grain size in granite is coarse enough, these details can be recognized with the naked eye. What’s interesting is that no two pieces of granite are the same, so if you choose granite as the material for your headstone, you can rest assured that it will be 100% unique.
Advantages of Granite Headstones
- Nearly indestructible and could last for centuries
- Virtually maintenance-free
- Easy to customize and very suitable for crafting and cutting
Marble, on the other hand, is a standard choice for headstones. Many famous monuments worldwide were sculpted out of this material. While marble rose to popularity in the early 19th century, it continues to remain in favor as a headstone material today. Marble is not only easy to cut but is also more visually appealing, arguably more attractive than granite. It may not be as durable as granite, but it can hold its own when it comes to longevity.
Advantages of Marble Headstones
- Available in a range of colors
- Easy to cut and polish
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Perfect material for timeless memorials
As for rock headstones, these memorials have been a popular choice for many families for centuries. Whether made from sandstone or fieldstone, rock headstones are a favorite option because of their natural appearance. They are also easy to carve and customize. Not to mention that they are very affordable.
Advantages of Rock Headstones
- A very affordable option
- Very versatile for etching and engraving
- Easy to maintain
- Can withstand the elements
Here at Lodge Bros, we build headstones made of granite, marble, and natural rock. They are more aesthetically pleasing than other options and are easy to design and maintain. Above all else, they are durable and can last for decades and even centuries. We have a team of experts who specialize in each of these three headstone materials, so you can rest assured that we can provide you with beautifully-designed headstones that are made to withstand the test of time.
How to Find a Headstone Mason
The skill of the stonemason is just as vital as the quality of the headstone they produce. But more than just expertise, you would want a stonemason who understands your views as the customer. Other than that, you would also want to consider your budget when shopping for a headstone. Meanwhile, your local cemetery may have certain regulations that could affect your buying decision. This is why it’s essential to work with a professional and experienced stonemason and not just with any headstone craftsman you find.
Experience and Reputation
There are two major factors you should consider when looking for a headstone mason. The first one is experience. The number of years a headstone mason has been in the industry is a testament to the quality of work they provide. While you can always opt for someone new to the business, you’d want to prioritize a mason with several years of experience.
Lodge Bros, for instance, has been into stonemasonry since the early 1900s. The company’s first major project was the building of the Shrine of Remembrance in 1927. After almost a century later, Lodge Bros is still considered one of the top names in headstone and memorial stonemasonry in Melbourne.
The company’s reputation is just as extremely important. Find a headstone mason who is known for delivering high-quality headstones that are not only beautifully crafted but also last a long time. At Lodge Bros, we can guarantee you that our work is beyond exceptional. We are skilled stonemasons with an excellent reputation.
For decades, people have trusted us with their memorial needs. We have designed and built some of the finest granite, marble, and rock headstones for thousands of families across Melbourne and continue to do so.
Finding a headstone mason with experience and an excellent reputation will guarantee client satisfaction. Nowadays, a quick visit to a contractor’s website is enough to reveal all the information you need about a headstone mason you’re considering. If you are reading this and are looking for a reputable stonemason to build the perfect headstone for you or a loved one, you are in the right place. Here, you can read about the history of Lodge Bros, how we started in the business, and how we have gained thousands of clients who trust our work.
Beyond simply crafting headstones, we place a high value on the satisfaction of our clients. To achieve that, we see to it that we understand what our clients truly need before we develop a concept. We ask them essential information that will help guide their decision-making process, such as which memorial park they intend to use the headstone and what overall design they wish to achieve. Considering our client’s budget, we then suggest to them which material of headstone to use and what design to achieve.
As a stonemasonry company, Lodge Bros is truly knowledgeable and versatile. We embrace an innovative approach to delivering memorial needs to all our clients and use only the highest-quality materials in building headstones. Call us now so we can discuss your memorial needs.