What materials should you consider when choosing a headstone memorial?

Designed to be a lasting tribute to a lost loved one, choosing a headstone memorial is never easy.

You want to honour your family member or friend with something that not only acts as a tangible representation of personality and honours what they loved in life, but also needs to stand the test of time.

Headstones are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials and can include:

  • Ledger slabs
  • Kerbed headstones – ledger markers with an upright headstone
  • Upright headstones
  • Flat or desk tablets or flat markers
  • Obelisks
  • Cremation benches
  • Cremation memorials

It is important to note that churchyards can impose traditional rules that prevent the use of some headstone materials or finishes. Cemeteries are much more relaxed so always check before placing a memorial order.

Choosing a headstone memorial material

Most headstones are available in various sizes but the material used will often determine durability, colour and design options.

Premium materials include granite and bronze alongside marble, slate, limestone and sandstone.

Granite headstones

Granite is available in a range of colours and finishes and is the most pliable, resilient and prevalent of all memorials. Many churchyards favour granite for headstones because of its orthodox properties.

Bronze headstones

Bronze is extremely hardy, requires minimal upkeep and is gaining popularity as a result although it’s one material that some churchyards may not accept. Bronze can be expensive and will blacken over time.

Marble headstones

Often beautifully patterned and of grandeur appearance, marble is actually quite delicate in nature and needs protection against damp. Less of a popular choice today than with previous generations it is another material that churchyards may not accept.

Sandstone headstones

There are many sandstone materials available, each offering a variation in colour from pinks to reds and beiges to grey-brown. Sandstone is soft in appearance and durable against the heat and cold. Due to its composition, sandstone memorials are usually smooth and rounded.

Limestone headstones

Grey ‘Portland’ limestone is a traditional headstone material seen frequently as ancient weathered memorials in churchyards. Its appearance will fade and harden over time resulting in diminished inscription visibility. Nabresina limestone is a lighter colour variety.

Slate headstones

Slate is resistant against weather elements and is a close-grained material, which offers a good foundation for fine carving, making it ideal for smaller memorials.

Take care in choosing your headstone memorial

Whatever material you choose it’s important not to rush making a decision. Consider the factors of cost, upkeep, location and inscription and if you need any advice we’re here to help.