Choosing a headstone is never an easy task, but it's often needed when someone you know has passed away and you're planning their final arrangements. If you've never chosen or purchased a headstone before, the process might be a bit overwhelming. Note a few commonly asked questions people have about headstones so you know what to discuss with a salesperson and what to expect during the process.
1. Why can't the headstone be erected right away?
One reason you usually don't see headstones at a gravesite during a funeral is that it's good to let the ground settle and become compact once again after a burial. If you have the headstone erected right after a burial, this might increase its chance of leaning and tipping.
Another consideration is that you may want to take your time to think about the style, the wording, and all other details about a headstone before you make a purchase. Remember that once the headstone is carved, it can be very expensive to have it replaced; taking your time during the process of making arrangements can be a better option than rushing through your decision for a headstone.
2. When are my choices for a headstone limited?
Many cemeteries allow you to choose just about any type of headstone you want, within certain size limits. However, there are often regulations you need to follow when it comes to military cemeteries, or churches may have their own guidelines about cemeteries on their grounds. There may also be certain local rules in a particular city that govern the type of headstone allowed no matter the cemetery you choose. Check with a cemetery first before deciding on a headstone or note any guidelines you may have been provided with when you chose the burial site; a headstone provider may also be familiar with these guidelines, so don't hesitate to ask them about any restrictions that might apply.
3. Do headstones need to be maintained?
Various types of stone need maintenance to keep them looking their best, and the required maintenance may affect your choice of headstone. For instance, granite may be cleaned with a damp cloth, whereas marble may require professional polishing to look its best. The carving in granite may last for many more years than the lettering carved into marble; engravings in marble may eventually need new carving or touching up by a professional. Be sure you ask your headstone provider about maintenance for any type of stone and ensure you can care for the headstone over the years.