How To Spot Low Quality Headstones

Here are examples of what to avoid when choosing your monument or marker.

We found these different memorials at various cemeteries around the area. We feel bad for the families who chose monument companies or funeral homes that sold them these monuments that either have inferior craftsmanship or will not stand up to the test of time.

We hope that these examples will help you to know what to look for when choosing a memorial for your family.

Flush Grave Print Marker

Poor Line Depth

The lines on this marker have very little depth and when the black wears out will have little or no contrast.

Flush Grave Markers

Cheap Plastic Ring Can Break

This vase sports a plastic ring that sits on top of the concrete foundation. The plastic vase ring is easy for the lawn mower to break especially when it sits on top of the foundation. When that breaks your vase will not be able to stand up.

Flush Grave Markers

Improper Grave Marker Foundation

This foundation was just a ring of concrete around the marker. Un-reinforced, it has begun to fall apart, which is accelerated when the grass grows between the marker and the concrete.

Flush Grave Marker example

Missing Grave Marker Foundation

This marker has no foundation or lawn mower proof edge. Overtime this will tip as well as be the recipient of many lawnmower chips.

Flush Grave Markers

Variable Border Line Width

This marker’s border line is a variable width. You can see how it varies across the top in width then gets wider yet as it goes down the side. These lines should be the same width.

Flush Grave Print Markers

Low Contrast Evidence of Rushed Work

These roses do not have the polish removed from them. This creates a flower that blends into the background. This is usually done due to the manufacturer rushing through the job.

Flush Grave Markers

Grave Marker Set Too High

Even with this exceptionally done Lawn Mower Proof edge, it will not protect a marker when it is set above the grass level.

Flush Grave Markers

Grave Marker Set Too Low in Ground

This is a nice marker; it just has been set too low in the ground. Dirt, grime and grass clippings will settle on this marker. Also, when the vase has flowers in it, you won’ t be able to see the writing on it very well. Most markers are set with the vase on the top of the marker to avoid this problem.

flower holders in monument base

Important Details Overlooked

Notice the vase rings. They are going different directions. This is a sign of a rushed job. This finger holes should be oriented the same direction.

Monument base example

Small Foundation Border Around Monument

The border of this foundation is extremely tight to the base of this monument. This leads to chipped bases and unhappy cemeteries. Foundations should be at least 4”-6” bigger on all sides to allow for ease of maintenance.

headstone joint repair example

Missed Details Leading to an Eyesore

We’ re not quite sure what’ s happening here. This “putty” should not be an eyesore on the monument and bevel out from the monument to the base. There should be a sealant or caulking around the bottom of the monument but it should not stick out like this. Perhaps they forgot to trim it after they completed the setting of it.

stencil example on headstone

Shallow and Narrow Lines Show Rushed Work

The lines on this marker are so shallow, it doesn’t even cut into the stone in places. Obviously a job rushed through the process.

headstone foundation example

Poor Installation Leads to Knocked Over Monument

This is a unique monument that tells a nice story. Too bad it wasn’t set properly. I would set a monument of this size and complexity using pins and not just little dabs of epoxy. That way vandals wouldn’t be able to knock it over like they did here.

Unfinished Upright Headstone

Multiple Missteps Leading to Poor Appearance

This monument has two problems. First, the granite foundation has been set too high and at some point the lawnmower will chip all the edges. Second, this is a flush marker set on edge to make a monument. Normally not a problem, except when the saw lines from cutting the granite slab are left exposed for a rather unattractive appearance.

headstone leveling example

Monument Not Set Level

This monument unfortunately has been set a long way from level. It is important that a monument is level so that there is no risk of it sliding off the base.

Headstone placement example

Incorrect Monument Placement

This monument has been placed in the wrong spot. Cemeteries typically like to have all the monuments and markers in a row. It makes it easier to maintain and easier to find graves.

Our sincere goal is that your monument does not have any of the issues listed here and will stand the test of time, even if you don’t purchase it from us. We want your memorial to be there telling the story of your family without issues. To that end, we have a FREE guide that you can download. It tells you all you need to do to make sure your monument, marker or grave stone doesn’t have any of these qualities. Visit our  How To Select a Memorial page to download our guide.


related stories

Pre-need Memorials

Reasons to Plan For Your Monument In Advance Here are six reasons for planning your family memorial in advance. The truth is that once plans

read full story
Schedule An Appointment