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 occurs because moisture and dirt get into the pores of the stone. When they comingle in those tiny granite pores it causes unsightly moss or lichen to grow.

You can prevent this growth by spraying the monument down with D2 one time per year. That’s it! It is seriously THAT easy! Just spray and walk away.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at how white the US White House is. Ever wonder how it stays so nice and clean? Well, they spray it down with D2 to prevent growth and discoloration! Now you know!

For even more information on this product, checkout this blog post!

2. Check Your Vases for Clogged Drain Holes

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

Now, 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!

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

Then, in the winter months, the water freezes, expands and busts the flower pots.

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

When you get your flower pots consider filling them with florist foam. Florist foam will allow the rain water to drain through the foam (and, thus the drain hole). As an added 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 absolutely beautiful…with exception of the rust stain.

Many times people will place inexpensive jewelry, metal items (such a matchbox cars, signs, etc) on monuments. While the meaning is so sweet and innocent, they do eventually rust and stain 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 important 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. This is leveled to provide long term stability. 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.

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