When it comes to monuments, we have seen and heard it all. Or at least enough to help you maintain your monument like it was brand new. If you do have questions, contact us and we will try and answer them for you.
Below are some tips about:
Cleaning and Preservation of Memorials
Over a period of time memorials will accumulate a layer of deposits resulting from hard water, dust, dirt, lichens, mold or fungus that grow on porous stone. A gravestone should be cleaned and maintained carefully so as to avoid getting it scratched or tarnished.
Before cleaning a memorial you must first evaluate to make certain it is in stable condition with no flaking, cracks or risk of further deterioration from the cleaning process.
Granite and Marble Memorials
When cleaning granite memorials and due to granite’s durability, it is all right to use a more aggressive scrubbing technique.
- natural brushes/tooth brushes
- non-ionic soaps/detergents avoid detergents that contain compounds like sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, ammonium carbonate, and trisodium phosphate (TSP or Calgon)
- cuttle bone to remove hard water or calcium build-up
Below are items you DO NOT want to use when cleaning memorials as they may cause damage:
- wire bristled brushes or metal instruments
- acid or acidic cleaners
- cleaners/detergents containing compounds like sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, ammonium carbonate, and trisodium phosphate such as TSP, Calgon, Ivory, Borax, Clorox, Fantastik, Formula 409 (Spic and Span, or any other abrasive cleaner)
- pressure washers
- waxes or sealants of any kind
Bronze markers consist of a bronze plaque mounted to a base usually of granite or concrete. Since bronze markers consist of two components you can utilize the cleaning method for polished granite for cleaning the base.
The bronze plaque is finished with an applied coating to seal and preserve the original appearance. Over time this finish will eventually deteriorate and is accelerated through neglect or improper care.
When cleaning bronze you will need the following items:
- soft cloths, especially for new markers which should only be cleaned
- with a soft, damp cloth to remove top soil and grime
- nylon brush
You can finish with a light application of WD-40 or car wax to put a sheen on the marker and protect it from the elements. When using these to finish the bronze, be sure to carefully cover any granite or marble to avoid staining.
Here are some items you DO NOT want to use or to keep in mind while maintaining your bronze marker:
- brushes, especially wire-bristled brushes or metal instruments on new markers
- steel wool as it may scratch it
- chemicals or oils to new markers (accelerates the breakdown of the protective coating)
Candles are a great addition to nearly any memorial, but, unfortunately, candlelit ambiance sometimes comes with a mess. Do you have stubborn dried candle wax on your granite that you can’t seem to remove?
Unfortunately candle wax is absorbed into the granite, leaving a stain that is nearly impossible to eliminate, and candle wax will absorb into the granite even if the candle is not lit. The best solution for this is to use a votive or a holder between the granite and candle. Another solution is to use a lantern, created specifically for candles on a memorial.
Permits, Rules and Regulations
Most cemeteries have regulations within their grounds. A cemetery can insist on specific requirements such as material, size, and type of headstone.
What You Need To Know
- What type of memorials are allowed?
For example: Uprights, flat markers, pillows, etc.
- What are the sizes allowed?
A cemetery usually has a range of sizes they allow. Make sure the size you purchase is within their range, including the base or plinth for a total height.
- Are accessories allowed?
Some cemeteries allow flower vases, lanterns or lights. Make sure your cemetery allows these before selecting any of these options.
- Are there any color restrictions?
While most cemeteries do not regulate the colour of the granite or any colour in the artwork, some might stipulate the colour of granite allowed especially for bronze markers with a base.
- Are any permits required?
Cemeteries often have special forms such as a permit or authorization that need to be filled out prior to the installation of a memorial. These forms are usually signed by the lot owner or next of kin before they accept a memorial for installation.
- Is there an installation fee?
If the cemetery will install the headstone then there is most likely an installation fee. This is normal as they are performing a service.
Before you order a memorial it is very important to become familiar with the requirements set by the cemetery. They can and will refuse any memorial that does not meet their requirements and permits.
Sunset can assist you with this paperwork. We work with you to complete the forms and help acquire the required information. Contact us if you have any questions.
Check back anytime and often as we are frequently updating and adding more information, tips and tricks.