A loved one’s grave marker is important. It marks their burial plot for family members and friends who visit the cemetery. It also tells the world a bit about who your loved one was in life. And while you may care for and clean the grave marker on a regular basis, accidents, damage and the general ravages of time will happen, no matter the age of the headstone. Of all the different styles of grave markers, headstones are the most common that might be found broken or damaged.
However, there is some good news: with the right tools and know-how, a broken headstone can be back to its normal self in no time. Hire a team of professionals to do the job, or take a class so you can do it yourself. Here’s what you need to know about repairing broken granite headstones in Walterboro, SC.
Approaching broken headstones
Headstones in most cemeteries are typically set in the ground, placed in slotted bases and sometimes installed in concrete. Regardless, over time, the ground underneath headstones will shift naturally or due to animals burrowing. Wildlife may also use headstones as scratching posts or resting spots, but vandalism is the worst—cemetery vandals can cause all sorts of damage, especially after pushing over headstones.
Keep in mind that repairing a broken headstone is not a simple or quick task. In addition to having patience, skill and the proper tools on hand, you should also plan to clean the pieces before resetting the headstone in a vertical position. Chances are that fixing one headstone will take longer than a day. Most take several days or even weeks to restore, even when the best epoxy is used to secure the pieces back together and the voids are filled properly. Engravings will likely need to be redone as well. It’s a painstaking process to ensure the marker can stand on its own in the cemetery like it did before.
Even though headstones may break differently—into two large pieces or several smaller pieces—the repair methods are relatively similar. Before any work can be done on a broken headstone, be sure to inspect it closely. Stone is strong, but it becomes increasingly fragile when weakened by years of water or other environmental exposure or damage like stress fractures and delamination. Taking a headstone repair workshop will teach you about the tools you need, such as epoxy, clean cloths, bracing instruments and stone cleaning supplies.
First, recruit someone to help you, then be sure to set up the headstone’s structural support before moving the broken pieces and parts into place to help prevent further damage. Decide whether repairs will be made right there in the cemetery, or if the job will need to be done in a workshop setting. Either way, be careful when moving, cleaning, epoxying and resetting the headstone both before and after repairs are made.
There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into repairing broken headstones. Want more information? Contact the team at Steedley Monument Works to learn more about caring for and repairing damaged granite headstones in Walterboro, SC.