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The wait is over- you finally have that beautiful headstone installed. But now what do you do with it?

At Emerson Monument and Vault our goal is to help you create a lasting tribute that will be cherished by your family- today, tomorrow and forever.

In this article we will share with you 5 ways to always keep your headstone looking it’s best.

Headstone in cemetery with flowers

1. Prevent Moss Growth

We have all seen headstones covered in moss or other biological growths. This unsightly growth occurs because moisture and dirt enter the stone’s pores. When they comingle in those tiny granite pores, it causes moss or lichen to grow.

You can prevent biological growth by spraying the monument down with D2 once a year. That’s it! It is seriously that easy! Just spray and walk away.

D2 is a biological growth cleaner that gets deep into the stone’s pores, cleansing it from the inside out. This results in excellent, clean results that typically last up to a year.

This is the same solution used to clean the Veteran’s gravestones at our National Cemeteries. And- fun fact- it is also used on the White House!


For even more information on this product, check out this blog post!

2. Check Your Vases for Clogged Drain Holes

The most common complaint I receive is that “the mowers broke my vase.” And, as much as we would all love to blame the damage on someone else, 99% of the time, the problem is not the mowers!

Sometimes the mowers can get a little out of hand and damage a monument. I am not denying that. But, believe it or not, clogged drainage holes are the #1 cause of damage to vases! Not mowers!

Every granite vase we sell comes standard with a drain hole for the rainwater to seep out. But sometimes, grass clippings, leaves, acorns, etc., get in the vases and clog the drain holes. This causes the rainwater to collect rather than drain.

Then, in winter, the water collects in the clogged vase, freezes, expands, and busts the flower pots.

Broken vases are a lost investment, as we have never found a sustainable way to fix them. That said, it is best to prevent this kind of damage before it occurs.

When you get your flower pots, consider filling them with florist foam. Florist foam will allow the rainwater to drain through the foam (and, thus, the drain hole). As a bonus, the foam will help your flowers stay in place!

3. Be Selective About Materials Touching the Stone!

One of the most beautiful memorials I have made is for a young man who left this Earth too soon. He is loved by many and always has flowers and other adornments on his grave. His monument is magnificent… except for the rust stain.

People often place inexpensive jewelry and metal items (such as Matchbox cars, signs, etc) on monuments. While the meaning is so sweet and innocent, they eventually rust and stain the monument. And when adornments rust, the rust tends to seep all down the monument.

Avoid placing metals on the monument unless they have a protective barrier between the metal and the stone. An example would be a monument saddle. These saddles have a metal frame that flowers are secured to. It is essential to ensure that felt, rubber or another suitable material is placed between the metal frame and the stone.

Beautiful Flower Saddle on a Black Granite Memorial

4. Don’t Forget- Floral Dyes Stain Too!

Speaking of monument saddles, it is important to use high quality florals in the saddle. Cheaper florals, such as the papery thin red poinsettias, tend to bleed when they get wet. When they bleed the dye can run onto the stone and cause staining.

I have seen this most commonly occur with faux poinsettias and with faux ferns. If you are worried about staining, buy a stem of the florals you would like to use, place them under the faucet and wipe with a white paper towel. If dye comes off then you should likely avoid it!

5. Check for Any Settling or Leaning

When you think about it, the cemetery is an area of land that is full of holes (graves). Some graves have settled over time and are completely filled in. Others are fresh and may not fully settle for years.

Add to that rain, snow, tree roots, moles and other wildlife, as well as cemetery equipment, and you have a recipe for potential settling and leaning to occur.

When we install your memorial we dig a foundation and pack it with a dry pour. We level it to provide long term stability and ensure the stone passes our inspection prior to leaving the site. However, over time, settling may still occur.

If you experience settling or leaning please give us a call and we will be glad to talk to you about the next steps in addressing it.

For Additional Advice on Grief and Healing

This blog is an amazing resource for additional resources on all-things grief and healing related.

As you know, losing a loved one is a journey that is often full of unexpected tasks.

For information on how to best sort through and clean out a loved one’s belongings, we recommend picking up a copy of this link to a previous blog post.

For information on financial COVID-19 assistance for families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, we recommend following this link to one of our previous blog posts.

You never know what we are going to blog about next and how it might apply to your situation. We recommend checking in with our blog, The Compassionate Memorialist, often for industry-leading tips, tricks and advice.


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