Materials and types of stone for headstones

Here at County Stone Memorials, we offer a range of beautiful stones for you to choose from. Each material has its own qualities and aesthetic, so it can be difficult to decide which is best suited to honour your loved one. This short guide will details the differences between our various stones, allowing you to choose with confidence.

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Marble is a strong material, making it possible to carve wonderfully intricate designs into it. The smoothness of the stone gives it an attractive look and feel, which is why it’s a popular choice for many memorials. However, marble headstones are generally not permitted in churchyards; please check with your parish minister before ordering.

Inscriptions on marble headstones can fade over time, as acid rain and other environmental factors can wear away the stone. It is also prone to staining.

If the memorial is going to be placed in a damp or wooded area, we suggest you select a more hard-wearing material, such as granite.

Granite headstones & memorials

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This stone is increasingly being used for memorials and headstones due to its strength, resilience and beauty. Granite was once an expensive material, but its popularity means it is now one of the more affordable options. You aren’t limited when it comes to colour choices either, from Imperial Red to Emerald Pearl, you’re bound to find something appropriate.

You’ll still have to clean the memorial on a regular basis to keep the stone in the best condition possible, though. Luckily, doing so is easy – all you need is a damp cloth to restore the shine, and a soft-bristled brush for those tricky to remove calcium deposits.

Granite headstones and memorials are permitted in churchyards, but polished and mirror finishes are frowned upon by most. Again, it’s best to ask your parish minister before making any decisions, as you may be limited when it comes to the inscription too.

Limestone headstone memorials

Limestone memorials and headstones

You’ll find that many of the headstones in traditional churchyards are made from limestone; it’s a classic material. Over time, limestone tends to discolour, making it look weathered – an appearance favoured by some. Although it is not as tough as granite, limestone does harden over time, which helps protect it from erosion.

Note that the lettering on your dearly departed’s headstone or memorial will need to be quite bold, as you’ll be relying on shadows to read the inscription. When cleaning it, avoid using acidic cleaners or a pressure washer. Instead, get a bucket of distilled water and mix a cup of non-ionic soap in it. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt.

Slate memorials & headstones

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Slate is also a pretty tough material, yet it has a smooth and pleasing texture. You may assume that this stone only comes in one colour – black, but there other shades available, including green. Despite its density, slate is slightly porous and susceptible to delamination. It is also one of the more expensive materials.

Like limestone and granite, it is widely accepted by churchyards. Always use a soft cloth instead of a brush to clean slate, as it is easily scratched.

Whatever stone you choose, it will make a wonderful memorial to your loved one. If you need further advice this important decision, read our helpful guide or get in touch with us directly.

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