3 Ways to Keep Gravestones Safe in Winter admin December 19, 2022
3 Ways to Keep Gravestones Safe in Winter

Did you know that headstones for graves may sometimes require a little cleaning or maintenance over the years?  Proper headstone maintenance and monument cleaning may be necessary in some cases depending on the wrath of the elements and unexpected cemetery activity. In some cases, granite headstones can be damaged by vandalism, cemetery machinery, or even a falling branch from a tree during a storm. When these incidents happen, small cracks or fissures may result. These cracks can become problematic during the winter months. Depending on the memorial base, freeze and thaw issues can also affect the stability of an upright headstone during the winter months, so it may be worth your while to take a close look at the gravestone and see if the memorial is sitting level on the monument’s granite base prior to winter.  In some cemeteries you may see long concrete “ribbons” (a long narrow monument platform) at the head of the graves. If this is the case, you may simply want to ensure that the headstone is still set square on the concrete base. For these reasons, it is important to inspect the gravestone once a year to see that granite monument still looks stable on the gravestone’s base and is clean and beautiful.

If you have any personal questions regarding a memorial, you would like commissioned, don’t hesitate to give Sunset a call, or if you have any questions with relevance to the maintenance of your own family memorial. See our contact info below.

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Make repairs as soon as they are needed.

If your monument has been chipped, cracked, or is showing any sort of flaw in the stone, contact a local monument company that specializes in granite repairs.   The best way to ensure that damage cannot worsen – especially during the cold – is to make repairs as soon as possible. We recommend that you repair the monuments before winter, if possible. Why before winter? Because as soon as the temperature begins to drop and reaches below zero, any water on your monument will get into cracks, freeze, expand, and ultimately make the cracks deeper over time.

Sunset Stone uses the finest granite when manufacturing its headstones for graves.  Because certain granite colors can only be found on certain continents, we source our granite from multiple suppliers with quarries all over the world.  If you have any concerns about a monument in Alberta that requires some attention reach out to us if you have any questions.  Our team of experts will be happy to share their knowledge and expertise.  Optimally, we recommend that you should connect with a monument company to do the repairs for you, as monument restoration can be a tricky task.

Ensure your gravestones are always kept clean.

Dust and debris may stick to the stone and create markings if it snows or rains. For this reason, it is important to keep your gravestone as clean as possible to prevent any damage. You can keep your gravestones clean and looking as good as new by gently washing them. 

But first we must caution to:

NEVER USE soap or chemicals on a granite or stone monument

We highlight this, as stone and granite monuments are porous and can absorb the oils and chemicals employed in these products. The soaps and chemicals may discolor the granite surface unevenly.  And once the chemical has entered the stone, it cannot be removed. The products will stain the memorial.

When washing a monument, we recommend that you only use only clean water and a microfiber cloth that is made from a soft material.  Make sure to dry the monument immediately afterwards to prevent any water drops from leaving a residual stain. A soft bristle brush can only be used on the rock pitched rough surfaces of the base and edges.  It is important to note that the bristles of any brush can scratch a polished granite surface. Be extremely cautious with any monuments that contain artwork, as certain washing tools, cleaning solutions or even, pressure washers as can stain or remove paint and chip the monuments.

If you are unsure of what you are doing or are worried about causing damage to the gravestone, hire a professional monument company to clean the memorial for you.

Avoid the use of sealers

Using sealants can be tempting, as you might think these are a great way to protecting your monument from winter weather. Unfortunately, these can cause far more damage than good! Sealants will lock in any moisture or minerals that are inside the granite stone, preventing your memorial from “breathing.” This has been proven to cause the structural integrity of your gravestones to deteriorate especially if you live in a climate that deals with freeze and thaw situations.

Instead of using a sealant, call up your local memorial company – Sunset Stone is happy to answer any questions – and ask them about what product would be best to use on your monument. As always, if you want your monument to remain in as good condition as possible, you should hire a professional to do your maintenance services for you.

Work with a memorial company.

This is somewhat of a “bonus” tip, but it should go without saying. Working with a memorial company to do any repairs you need is the best way to ensuring that you can keep your gravestones looking top tier for many years to come. Sunset Stone’s employees are experts in memorial product installation, design and repair services.  We understand the issues that can happen over time.  So, if you need assistance, reach out to us for help with repairs or restoration.

We have lots of experience when it comes to headstone restoration services.  We know that you may be tempted to repair a granite memorial yourself, but some approaches can cause more damage than good! Give us a call for additional monument maintenance tips and suggestions. Our team will be happy to help.

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