Knowing how to protect a memorial will add years of life to it.
A headstone not only marks the site of burial, but also immortalizes the memory of a deceased loved one and honors their life. With the passage of time and prolonged exposure to the elements, headstones lose their original charm and get weathered. They may become brittle and difficult to read. A little care can go a long way in protecting the headstones and retaining their original beauty. If you want to shield your loved one’s headstone from harsh cold, here are some tips to protect a memorial:
Every headstone should be cleaned periodically, at least once a year. In case your loved one’s headstone is located in a place where it gets dirty more often, you should clean it at least twice a year. By keeping the surface of the headstone clean, you ensure that the dirt and grime does not get deeper and cause permanent damage. Dirt can cause abrasion on the headstone and in worse cases, cracks may develop on the surface. This can foster greater damage in the future. In short, a simple cleaning is an easy way to protect a memorial.
Do not use harsh chemicals
When cleaning the headstone, use only clean water and a soft-bristled brush. Avoid the use of any cleaning agents even if they claim to be mild. These chemicals can erode the stone and even seep into them and cause extensive damage. There are several spray-on coatings and protectants available in the market and you may be tempted to use. However, it is important to understand that these chemicals can do more harm than good. They can cause permanent staining and damage the headstone further.
Clean but do not over clean
Do not clean the headstone too frequently as over-cleaning can cause damage too. Act cautiously and clean only one you really need to. Most headstones do not require cleaning more than once a year.
Consider adding a canopy to protect a memorial
If winters are very harsh in your area and you are really afraid that the headstone would not stand the cold temperatures too well, you can consider adding a temporary canopy. However, you will have to check with the cemetery whether or not they allow a canopy. A canopy can protect the headstone from wind, snowfall, rain and other harsh elements.
Choose the right headstone
Choosing the right material in the first place is the best way to protect a memorial. Your loved one’s headstone can be protected from all kinds of damage with the right material. Many popular materials deteriorate over time, especially softer stones such as limestone, marble or sandstone. Limestone may dissolve in bad weather, marble can crumble, sandstone can pop or splinter. If durability is what you want, you can choose between granite and bronze.
These materials can better withstand elements, moisture and other forms of wear and tear. Granite stands solid through centuries is not easily affected by rain, hail, mold or mildew. Bronze too can last for well over 100 years without losing its charm. In fact, granite remains the most attractive choice for those who want a headstone that lasts very long and remains attractive through years.
With a little care, you can effectively care for your loved one’s memorial in the winter. If your loved one’s headstone needs cleaning, repair or restoration, it is best to seek professional help than trying to do it on your own. DIY methods can cause more damage than good. So, other than the regular cleaning, you should leave the rest to the professionals, especially if there are any signs of damage such as cracking along the base or head, tilting, staining or others.
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