This blog post is intended to supplement a previous post about Cemetery Monument Cleaning Tips.
After installation, your loved one’s monument will be a striking testament to the incredible, experience-filled life they lived. With a sandblasted surface, detailed lettering and a poignant epitaph, your loved one’s monument will help you to appreciate and remember every memory you shared. Unfortunately, as time passes, the monument will lose some of its initial charm and appear somewhat dated. With the proper technique, you can restore the gravestone to a much better condition. And without semi-regular cleaning, the headstone will continue to become more and more faded.
Why Do Monuments Become Dirty?
1. Gradual Grass Build Up
As landscapers cut the grass in the cemetery, grass clippings might stick to the gravestone. After rain, the accumulated grass clippings will be pushed to the bottom of the headstone, dirtying the base.
2. Lichen (and other plants)
The most burdensome part of cleaning a headstone is eliminating all traces of lichen. Generally, lichen grows in green circles, which grow progressively wider each year. In rare cases, however, it can also be gray, yellow or orange, and raised, as if it is crust or bark. Lichen grows on all parts of the monument– not just the headstone itself, but also inside the inscripted area.
At first, lichen appears and seems to be fairly harmless. As it strengthens its roots, however, lichen begins to dig into the ground and scrape against the surfaces of the grave that it touches. With time, this can cause scratches, chips, and other unwelcome marks on your loved one’s monument. With the proper materials and cleaning technique, lichen can be fully eliminated from any monument. The same method applies to other plants, such as ivy, ferns, moss, algae, and fungi.
Image Description: Double Jewish headstone before and after cleaning
Monument Cleaning with Managed Expectations
Fully restoring your loved one’s monument is an appealing idea, but is impossible. Even with the recommended cleaning technique, there is only so much that you can accomplish. In fact, such vigorous cleaning may result in a permanently deteriorated monument. Aggressively cleaning the monument causes it to become worn down, gradually losing some of its initial flair. This will only necessitate future cleaning, as it ultimately lead to a worn-down headstone.
Add a New Inscription
Regardless of the cause, the lettering on some monuments may be obscured beyond a point where cleaning is helpful. At St. Charles Monuments, our professional engravers can make the lettering on your monument appear fresh and new, without ever having to remove it. We can also provide St. Charles Monuments, our staff is trained to and experienced in cleaning monuments to create a refreshed look, and ensure longevity. Avoid the potential for harming the memorial with the incorrect tools or technique.