Keeping a loved one’s gravestone in excellent shape is one way to cherish their memory. You can adorn it with candles and flowers to show your undying affection that transcends time. It’s a sincere act of love that you can express through caring for one thing that represents their presence.
Over time, a gravestone can deteriorate due to prolonged exposure to the elements. No matter how durable the material is, damage can slowly start after five years. Therefore, you must prepare for restoration or repair.
- Analysing the damage
To determine whether the gravestone needs a major restoration or a minor repair, you’ll need to analyse the damage first. Here are some clear signs of damage:
- Chipped edges: Chipping is typical in gravestones made of marble and concrete. It happens due to exposure to extreme heat and cold. This type of damage only requires minimal repairs.
- Faded letters and colours: Fading usually happens within five to ten years. In most cases, fading and discolouration only require thorough cleaning, followed by repainting the letters.
- Water spots: Water spots are common in granite, marble and quartz. These are the whitish stains that make the surface look cloudy. Cleaning and resealing can solve this issue.
- Severe weathering and cracks: Severe weathering is common for gravestones within 10 to 20 years, especially those made with sandstone and concrete. This damage requires major restoration since the letters may have also started to fade.
- Tilted stone: Over time, an upright or slanted gravestone may shift from its base. In this case, it needs resetting to ensure it stays in place.
These are the common signs a gravestone needs to be restored or repaired immediately to prevent further damage. Don’t wait before you can no longer fix the damage. If you don’t have the budget for it, you can get professionals to repair or restore your loved one’s gravestone.
Restoration And Repair Methods
Fixing minor gravestone damage by yourself is possible with proper tools and methods. However, it’s best you leave the following restoration and repair practices to the professionals:
- Epoxy filling: This method effectively restores small cracks and chips and fills in tiny chips and holes. It can prevent weathering and significant damage when you do it correctly. The most crucial part of restoring a gravestone with epoxy is to find one specifically formulated for a particular stone or material. When shopping for materials, ask for a stone-bonding epoxy to ensure it will create a strong bond. Avoid applying epoxy on the edges when fixing two broken pieces together to maintain a clean look. Then, wipe the excess with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Gravestone resurfacing: This method is ideal for gravestones with water spots and scratches. Over time, even the toughest materials like granite, quartz and marble can be susceptible to these issues. Therefore, resurfacing is necessary. Gravestone resurfacing involves re-sanding and reapplying a new coat of sealant. Before application, ensure the surface is spotless. It’s also best done after filling in the cracks and chips. Resealing the headstone provides a protective layer against moisture, liquid and direct heat.
- Headstone re-setting: Upright and slanted gravestones may tilt and shift due to the weathering of the base and harsh weather conditions. Due to the difficulty, it’s best to hire a gravestone mason to do this restoration. In most cases, headstone resetting requires building a new foundation. This issue starts when the base weakens or weathers, losing its capacity to keep the gravestone in place. To fix this problem permanently, Olympia Marble recommend creating a more robust base. The mason can also restore the whole monument using the original headstone.
- Recutting inscriptions: Gravestone inscriptions can fade over time due to the weathering of natural stones. These engravings give meaning to the memorial. Therefore, keeping it readable is a must. Recutting or regilding inscriptions is a common practice in restoring gravestones. Materials like concrete and sandstone are prone to weathering, making engravings fade after several years. This gravestone restoration requires specific tools and skills. One cutting mistake can compromise the stability of the stone and lead to major breakage. It’s best you hire a professional to ensure you get this right. They may also repaint the letters and reseal the whole surface to ensure the gravestone’s durability and longevity.
- Gravestone replacement: Olympia Marble recommend replacement for headstones with severe damage. However, you can also replace the whole monument with a new one to beautify the memorial. Gravestone replacement is also ideal if you want to build one using a more long-lasting material. For instance, you can replace a concrete headstone with marble, granite or quartz. Despite replacing the monument, you can still use the same inscriptions to cherish and immortalise the memory of a loved one.
Consider Professional Gravestone Maintenance
While some might think you can save more by tackling the restoration and repair yourself, hiring professionals is still best. Ensuring the longevity of a headstone requires quality work, which is possible through expert gravestone maintenance service. It’s also a way to show how much you love and respect the memory of a loved one who passed on.
Importance Of Gravestone Restoration And Repair
Gravestone restoration and repair is a way to pay tribute to a loved one. It shows how much you endear and revere them despite the years passed. The marker serves as a reminder that they were once here to create fond memories for you to cherish forever.
Installing a fine gravestone or cemetery monument is the best way to honor the burial place of the dearly departed. For that reason, you should make sure you’re hiring someone that can meet or exceed your expectations. Hiring the most qualified Sydney cemetery stonemason for the job takes some researching, and asking the questions listed above should help you find someone that is up for the job. Give Olympia Marble a call today and speak with our talented grave stonemasons.