Whenever you purchase a headstone to use as a grave marker, you do so with the knowledge that it’s going to be exposed to the elements essentially forever. This means you’re going to want to take any extra steps available to ensure the headstone is weatherproofed and capable of lasting for generations to honor your loved one.
Here’s some information from the experts about weatherproofing headstones and burial monuments in Walterboro, SC.
A long history of headstone protection
There have been many substances used throughout history to make headstones last longer—the desire to protect these stones from the passage of time is not a recent trend. In ancient times, substances such as olive oil, wax, turpentine and whale oil were all applied to masonry to protect the stone from deterioration.
Obviously, there have been a lot of technological upgrades over the last century or so. In the mid-1900s, epoxy and fiberglass resins were thought to be ideal alternatives to the natural substances that had once been used to protect masonry, with the goal being to seal the stones from the elements. However, this didn’t always work as intended. This is simply because anything that gets placed outdoors and left there must hold up to a wide range of conditions if it’s to survive, which means any material used to protect it must also be able to hold up to those conditions.
If you seal the stone, it traps moisture inside with soluble salts. As the moisture moves toward the surface during the evaporation process, it carries some mineral and salts along with it, but those materials will be unable to escape if the stone is sealed, meaning the stone will never dry out. Over time, this will result in a huge surface failure of the façade. Ultimately, stone needs to breathe, so sealing the stone is not a feasible option.
While sealing the stone isn’t likely to be an option, there are still other products available that can treat stone and offer it some protections. A consolidate is one option—a type of product that penetrates below the surface and re-bonds the stone’s structure on a cellular level. Essentially, it acts as a filler, finding any voids and holes that exist and filling them up. The stone is still able to breathe, but the moisture the stone can absorb is limited to a much slower rate than what you’d find in untreated stones.
This technology is newer than some of the sealants you’ll find on the market, but so far tests indicate that it holds up better than sealants simply because it doesn’t prevent the minerals and salts from exiting and the moisture from evaporating.
Are you interested in learning more about the methods that are available for weatherproofing your headstones and the specific types of products we recommend for you to treat the stone? If so, contact the team at Steedley Monument Works to discuss burial monuments in Walterboro, SC. We look forward to assisting you soon.