What's a Slant Headstone? Cost, Designs + Types


When shopping for a headstone or grave marker, one of the first questions to ask yourself is what type should you purchase. There are many types ranging from slant headstones to flat grave markers that lie flush with the ground to upright memorials and full multi-person monuments visible from all angles of a cemetery.

Jump ahead to these sections: 

Slant headstones are a popular option chosen by many who desire an upright marker at a more affordable price. Here’s everything you need to know when considering a slant headstone.

What’s a Slant Headstone?

For those looking for a unique headstone that sits upright but isn’t as large as a full upright monument headstone, a slant headstone might be a perfect choice.

The slant headstone is a popular type of grave marker that can be seen in nearly any cemetery you enter. This style can also be called “slant markers” and “slant memorials.” They are shorter than other upright memorials and sit around 16 inches high. These markers do not need a separate base, as the base is one and the same with the stone. This type of grave marker can be seen from far away, enabling quick location and identification of a person’s final resting place. 

There are two main styles of slant headstones, one that requires a base to be properly installed in a cemetery, and another that has a built-in base. A slant headstone with a two-inch perpendicular cut at the bottom appears to be sitting on a base when, in fact, the base is part of the headstone. Slant headstones without the two-inch cut are known as “full face” and have no base.

They are placed on a base prior to installation. Both styles are widely used and the primary difference when determining which to choose is a preference in the overall design.

One of the benefits with a slant headstone is that there is a significant surface area that can be used for personalization. The front is polished and ideal for engraving, etching, and adding a bronze plate or a porcelain picture. You can choose to adorn the unpolished back with an etching or engraving to add a special touch.

When buying a headstone or grave marker, consider what the person who passed away would have wanted and proceed from there.

Would your loved one want something sleek and elegant to represent his or her time on earth? Or would your loved one prefer something with a ledge that could also serve as a base to hold a vase, flowers, or an extra statue of some kind? These questions will help inform you as to which type of slant headstone you should purchase. 

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

How Much Does a Slant Headstone Usually Cost?

Slant headstones cost significantly more than flat grave markers but they are more affordable than upright headstones. As with any headstone cost, several factors determine overall pricing. These include the type of stone, the overall size, amount of engraving or etching, and other add-ons such as built-on vases, porcelain pictures, or bronze plaques.

In general, you should expect to budget around $1,200 for a basic slant headstone. Depending on the manufacturer, this may or may not include any engraving. It’s important to keep in mind that this is just a starting figure.

Additional customizations, including the type of stone used and additional items such as an extended platform for an attached vase or two will be extra. The type of personalization you choose is also reflected in the price. Hand engraving, for example, will always be more expensive than laser etching.

7 Main Types of Slant Headstones

You can find several different styles and design concepts available for slant headstones. Here are several you can choose.

1. Full-faced headstone

This is one of the most popular headstone designs available. Full-faced slant headstones are placed on a base once at the cemetery.

These are popular for those who prefer extra room on one or both sides of the headstone to place a vase or a small statue. 

2. Front-nosed headstone

This headstone is sloped except for the bottom two inches, where a perpendicular cut is made. This forms the appearance that the slanted portion is sitting on a base.

These are popular for families who don’t want the added expense of a base and do not need room on either side for an attached vase or statue.

3. Single headstone

Looking for a stone to mark a single grave? You’ll want a single headstone. These are large enough for an inscription of one person’s name, dates, and a few significant symbols, designs, or a picture.

4. Companion headstone

Companion headstones are ideal for those wanting a single headstone large enough span two graves or sit center in a large family plot.

They are typically more than double the length of the single slant headstone to accommodate inscriptions for multiple family members.

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

5. Slant headstone with vases

For those who want to lay flowers at a grave, an attached vase is a perfect way to do so.

Most cemeteries don’t allow individual glass vases. Vases attached to the base of a headstone are made of metal and can withstand the weather and passage of time equally well.

6. Granite slant headstones

Most slant headstones are made out of granite. The price for the headstone goes up depending on quality and coloration. Standard polished black granite and grey granite will be the most affordable, since these are the most common options and are widely available.

If you desire a specialized color such as rose, red, pearl blue, or a custom option, expect to budget considerably more.

7. Marble slant headstones

Marble is one of the most expensive materials you can choose for a slant headstone.

Every headstone manufacturer charges differently, so it’s best to speak directly with the company you’re considering when inquiring into prices for different headstone materials such as marble.

Tips for Buying a Cheap Slant Headstone

When determining which type of headstone you or your family will purchase, it’s always a good idea to figure out how much a headstone costs.

Buy online

You can find a growing number of online headstone manufacturers choosing to transition their businesses from brick-and-mortar shops to online platforms. When businesses reduce the rent, property insurance, and other expenses related to operating a storefront, they pass the savings onto their customers. For the biggest potential savings, online shopping is the way to go.

If you choose to go this route, be sure to read plenty of reviews from former customers on trusted third-party sites. If a business is lacking reviews, only hosts reviews on their own website, or have multiple negative comments, walk away and find a different online company.

Choose front-nosed 

Front-nosed slab headstones are cut to look as if they are sitting on a base when, in reality, the base is actually part of the headstone. Why does this cut down on overall headstone expense?

It saves you from the necessity of having to purchase a base in addition to your headstone. Full-faced headstones require the additional cost of a granite base when installed in the cemetery. Front-nosed slant headstones can be installed as-is, thanks to the built-in base.

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Choose standard colors

Standard granite colors are less expensive than custom or rare color options. To keep expenses as low as possible, choose either black or grey.

These are commonly produced and widely available to ensure both the likelihood of being in stock and less expensive than custom color slabs.

Choose standard materials

Slant headstones are commonly granite, a much less expensive material than marble.

Though headstones can be made out of marble, if budget is an issue, try not to let a manufacturer upsell you on the material. Stick with granite and you’ll receive a beautifully crafted headstone that will stand up through the years and honor your loved one while keeping expenses down.

Opt for less engraving

Most engravers include a certain amount of lettering for a flat-rate fee. Additional lettering, however, is typically charged on a per-letter or per-character basis.

Find out what your engraver includes in their pricing and try and stick within the limit. If you need to go over, consider working abbreviations into your wording to keep your overall character count to a minimum.

Choose laser etching instead of engraving

Laser etching is quickly becoming a popular option for both the ability to etch pictures and detailed images onto the stone and the lower price tag.

Laser etching is a high-quality computerized method of engraving names, dates, symbols, and images into the face of a stone. As long as the headstone is maintained properly and you don’t use harsh or abrasive chemicals, the etching will last for multiple lifetimes.

Choose fewer add-ons

The price for your stone is often only for the stone. Some manufacturers might include a certain amount of etching or engraving.

Beyond this, however, additional customizations will cost extra. Make a list of priorities when determining what customizations you can live without in order to keep expenses down. Extras such as a specialized color, a highly detailed engraving, attached vases, or a specialized base can easily increase the total price you need to pay.

Choose a Lasting Tribute

Headstones are more than objects that mark a grave’s position. They are lasting tributes that stand the test of time and speak to the memory of the ones we love. Choose a stone that stays within budget and reflects the personality of your family member.

If you're looking for more headstone buying tips? Read our guides on pillow headstones and granite headstones.

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.