Choosing a headstone is just one of the many decisions you have to make in the wake of a loved one’s passing. That said, anyone who’s ever made this decision before knows there are many different types of grave markers from which to choose. You want to know you’re selecting one that will do the memory of a lost family member or friend justice.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What’s a Granite Headstone?
- How Long Are Granite Headstones Supposed Last?
- How Much Do Granite Headstones Usually Cost?
- 8 Main Types of Granite Headstones
- Where Can You Buy a Granite Headstone?
- Tips for Buying an Affordable Granite Headstone
- What Are Good Alternatives to Granite Headstones?
This is a personal decision. There’s no single type of headstone that’s ideal for all people. However, granite headstones have remained popular for years because of their timeless beauty and functionality. Thus, a granite headstone is an option worth keeping in mind if you’re struggling with this decision.
Still, you might wonder what styles of granite headstones are available. Or, you may want to know how you can find an affordable granite headstone.
Keep reading if so. This guide will help you better understand your options.
What’s a Granite Headstone?
A granite headstone may be what comes to mind when you visualize a typical grave marker.
Granite is a fairly durable stone with a timeless visual quality. It’s also relatively versatile, giving you the option to personalize.
How Long Are Granite Headstones Supposed to Last?
A granite headstone is a smart choice if you’re looking for something durable enough to stay in good condition for many years. While the materials manufacturers use to create headstones can include minerals that break down when exposed to acidic water, soil, plant roots, and various other agents that might cause damage, the minerals in granite are fairly durable.
Granite headstones can also withstand most climates. No matter where you live, a granite headstone will probably stand up to the weather and temperature that’s common in your region.
Essentially, although a range of factors may play a role in determining a granite headstone’s lifespan, you should expect yours to hold up for at least 50 years with proper basic maintenance.
How Much Do Granite Headstones Usually Cost?
The cost of a granite headstone can vary due to a number of factors, including size, color, and whether you’ve chosen to include any unique features.
That said, the average price of a typical engraved black granite headstone is around $500.
8 Main Types of Granite Headstones
Granite headstone designs can also vary substantially. This is another reason granite is a popular headstone material choice. It gives you the option to purchase a headstone that captures your loved one’s unique identity.
The following are among the more popular granite headstone designs. One of them may be exactly what you’re looking for.
1. Traditional granite headstone
A basic granite headstone is typically rectangular. It may come in a range of sizes and colors, but it usually allows you to engrave the name, date of birth, and date of death of your loved one into its front side. You can also engrave quotes or other text you might wish to include.
Naturally, the size of a traditional granite headstone will contribute to its price. This is one of the most important factors influencing how much a headstone costs. That said, as a later section of this blog will highlight in greater detail, some strategies can help you reduce the amount you might spend on a headstone.
2. Laser-etched headstones
Along with text, you might also want to include images of a deceased loved one on their headstone.
Consider a laser-etched granite headstone if so. While this option will typically be pricier than one that only features basic engravings, it allows you to memorialize someone who’s passed on with a grave marker featuring a vivid and detailed image of them (or a similar image).
3. Angel granite headstones
It’s not uncommon for granite headstones to also include sculptures of various types of figures along the edges.
Many granite headstones feature sculptures or designs of angels. If religion plays an important role in your life, this type of headstone might appeal to you.
4. Rose granite headstones
Even if you’re not religious, you don’t necessarily have to exclude sculptures on the edges of the granite headstone you choose. There are many other types of sculpted shapes you can select instead.
For example, the edges of headstones often feature sculptures of roses. Many people (whether they’re religious or not) associate roses with the idea of sending love to those who’ve passed on, making this a popular choice.
5. Flat grave markers
A flat granite headstone is an option to consider if your budget is tight. Unlike a traditional headstone, which will rise vertically, as the name implies, this type of headstone rests flat on the ground.
Keep in mind that you can still add a range of details (such as engravings and laser etchings) to a flat granite headstone. Choosing this style will simply help you better justify paying for those features, as you’ll save money on the shape and size of the headstone.
6. Heart granite headstones
A heart is another popular shape for a granite headstone. Some people even choose headstones in the shape of two hearts resting against each other. This is a common choice if a headstone marks the burial site of two spouses or romantic partners, as it visually symbolizes the idea that their love transcends death.
That said, if you can’t afford to pay for a granite headstone in the shape of two hearts, you can still find an affordable option that has the same symbolic meaning. For instance, some granite headstones feature engravings of two interlocking rings between the names of the deceased. The meaning is the same, but the price will usually be lower.
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7. Granite cross headstones
Many Christians select granite headstones because they often come in the shape of crosses.
These can be basic cross shapes, Celtic crosses, and even solid granite slabs featuring empty spaces in the shape of a cross running down the middle of their facades.
8. Pet headstones
Granite headstones aren’t merely for people! Many suppliers also offer small granite headstones for pets, which you may wish to keep in your backyard after a pet’s passing.
As with all the other examples on this list, you can add custom features to a pet’s granite headstone, such as engravings or laser etchings of paw prints.
Where Can You Buy a Granite Headstone?
Your options when choosing a supplier from whom to buy a granite headstone are fairly wide-ranging. They include the following:
Your funeral home
Because it’s not uncommon for funeral homes to also sell various types of funeral merchandise, it’s possible your funeral home will be able to supply the perfect granite headstone.
Buying from a funeral home will naturally save you a lot of time. That said, sometimes, a funeral home’s inventory is fairly limited. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to buy a headstone from the funeral home you’re working with if their options or prices don’t suit your needs.
Local headstone and monument companies
If your funeral home doesn’t offer the type of headstone you’re looking for but you don’t want to buy one online, perhaps because you’re worried that the company you purchase a headstone from might not deliver it in time for a funeral, you can search for local headstone and cemetery/grave monument suppliers. Odds are good there are a number in your area.
Finding them is as easy as Googling such terms as “headstones [your region]” or “memorials [your region].” When considering your options, look to find out if any of their past customers have reviewed them on such platforms as a Google My Business page or Yelp.
You’ll feel more confident you’ve found a reliable supplier if you can read positive reviews from customers who’ve worked with them in the past. Additionally, your funeral director will likely be able to recommend local headstone and monument companies.
Numerous online suppliers have made finding the ideal granite headstone easier than ever. Memorials.com is merely one noteworthy example. Along with granite headstones, Memorials.com offers many other types of memorial products. Examples include memorial jewelry, caskets, cremation art, and many more. Check out the site’s selection to see if there’s anything that calls out to you.
It’s worth noting that you can also purchase a granite headstone and other memorial products through such well-known online platforms as eBay. You may find this preferable if you already have an account on such platforms. However, if you do choose to order a headstone from a site like eBay, be sure to look into a seller’s reputation before placing an order. You want to be certain you’re ordering a headstone from a seller you can rely on to deliver a quality product on time.
Tips for Buying an Affordable Granite Headstone
Don’t worry if you’d like to buy a granite headstone to mark the burial site of a deceased loved one, but feel you can’t afford this option.
There are many ways you can purchase the ideal headstone without spending more than you’ve set aside in your budget. The following are just a few of the more noteworthy tips you should know about.
Buy pre-owned granite headstones
Some people choose to buy a headstone for their own funerals far ahead of time in order to avoid their loved ones having to spend more later on due to inflation. However, sometimes, these people later choose to sell their headstones before their own funerals if new financial circumstances give them a reason to do so. Of course, they’ll also only sell a headstone if they haven’t added any engravings or other custom features to it already.
These “pre-owned” headstones usually cost less than new ones. Remember that if you’re ever trying to save money buying a headstone or grave marker.
Search the internet
This might seem like a fairly obvious tip, but it’s worth including on this list because it’s one that many nevertheless overlook. Quite simply, you shouldn’t assume your only options when purchasing granite headstones are local suppliers. The Internet has made it easier than ever to order headstones from suppliers outside of your region.
Some of them may offer better prices. Just keep in mind that you should thoroughly research your options when searching for headstone suppliers online. You want to be confident you’re buying a headstone from a company you can trust to deliver a quality product.
Purchase engravable granite from a supplier
Headstone retailers aren’t the only companies that sell slabs of granite. Many other businesses also sell granite slabs that, although they may not technically be headstones, can serve the same purpose.
If you find a company offering engravable granite slabs they may have leftover from other projects, the cost will usually be less than that of an actual headstone.
Make a headstone
This isn’t necessarily a tip everyone will be able to apply, but it’s worth noting that some people save money on headstones by making their own. If you have the skills and equipment needed to create a granite headstone, you could reduce costs this way.
However, if you do decide to make your own headstone, you need to first check with the cemetery where you intend to bury a loved one to find out if they’ll allow you to use it. Most cemeteries have specific policies regarding the types of headstones they’ll allow on their properties, and some won’t accept one if a reputable manufacturer or designer didn’t create it.
What Are Good Alternatives to Granite Headstones?
Granite headstones offer many benefits to those planning funerals. However, they are not the only options you have. Popular alternatives to granite headstones include the following:
Bronze is another common material for grave markers and headstones. Some people prefer bronze over granite because bronze headstones require little maintenance. They also may come in a wide range of shapes and designs. Additionally, bronze is a relatively affordable material.
You need to account for your own tastes when deciding which type of headstone to purchase. For example, the look of marble headstones simply appeals to some people more than granite does. That said, if you choose a marble headstone, you should be aware that the engravings on such a headstone have a tendency to fade over time.
This doesn’t mean you absolutely shouldn’t choose a marble headstone if this is the type that appeals to you most. You merely deserve to know important information about your options before making this type of decision.
Keep in mind, a grave marker doesn’t always need to be a traditional headstone. There are other options to consider if you want to mark your loved one’s grave in a unique manner.
For instance, sometimes memorial benches serve as grave markers. Although it’s more common to find memorial benches in parks and other such locations, they can also serve as grave markers in cemeteries. That said, you may have to do a little more searching to find a local supplier offering memorial benches. You may also need to review a cemetery’s policies regarding the types of grave markers they allow before spending too much time focusing on this option.
A birdbath is another non-traditional alternative to a granite headstone. Naturally, you might consider this option if you’re choosing a grave marker for someone who loved birds.
Again, though, you’ll need to research a cemetery’s policies first if this option appeals to you. While you may like the idea of your loved one’s grave marker attracting birds, others may worry that the presence of birds will increase the chances of bird droppings dirtying up the other nearby grave markers.
You may have a better chance of convincing a cemetery to permit a birdbath’s usage as a grave marker if you have a reasonably-sized family plot. If most of the nearby grave markers are for members of your own family, you might have the power to exercise more control over certain policies.
Granite Headstones: A Timeless Option
Again, the right type of headstone for one person might not be the right choice for someone else. Granite headstones are simply among the more popular types because of their durability, versatility, and to some extent, cost.
If you’re looking for a headstone that will meet all your criteria, a granite one may be the perfect option.
- “Home Maintenance Checklist.” This Old House, This Old House Ventures, LLC, thisoldhouse.com