Depending on the religion and the personal preferences of the bereaved, a headstone can be an incredibly symbolic tribute to the deceased. As the final point of contact with the dearly departed, it can be a place of remembrance and peace to be visited and cherished.
With that in mind, the process of choosing a headstone to commemorate a loved one’s life is an important one into which time and care should be placed. The costs of a headstone can also easily be overlooked when planning for a funeral, so it’s important to have a rough idea how much you would like to spend well in advance so that you don’t come up short when disaster strikes.
Types of headstones
Although there are many different kinds of memorials available nowadays, there are three main kinds of headstone:
- Upright headstones – the most traditional design
- Kerbed headstones – these full-length headstones allow for more freedom of expression but come at a higher price
- Flat or slanted headstones – generally smaller than both other options, these markers can be level with the ground or raised to a slant from the rear
All of the above can be constructed from a variety of materials. The first two will normally have a concrete base, with the headstone itself being constructed from either granite, marble or limestone. Granite is the most durable and cheapest material, making it also the most popular choice.
Types of finish
In addition to the material you choose, you’ll also need to select the particular finish you’d like to see on the deceased’s headstone. The following choices are available:
- Polished – smooth, shiny and often reflective, polished headstones require frequent cleaning and maintenance
- Part-polished – these headstones are only polished around the area where the inscription is made, giving focus to this part
- Honed – this eggshell finish is achieved by removing part of the polish with dust, giving a smooth but unreflective aesthetic
- Pitched – created using a hammer and chisel, this technique gives a rustic, old-fashioned effect that is popular in older graveyards
- Sawed – created using a diamond saw or wire, this technique results in a semi-smooth finish which looks particularly hand-crafted
- Steeled or frosted – created by using steel shot, this is a sand-blasted finish that’s smooth but not reflective
There are other finishes available, such as axed, blued or shell rock, but these are far less common.
It’s difficult to say exactly how much any individual headstone will cost, since it will vary greatly depending on the size, shape, material, finish and engraving involved, but the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2017 shows that on average, Britons spend £916 on the headstone or other memorial. That’s in addition to all of the other funeral costs, such as the funeral director, burial plot or cremation, flowers, venue hire, catering and others.
Again, it’s difficult to generalise how much specific materials cost, but as a general rule of thumb, flat or slanted headstones are the cheapest, at around £400. The upright headstone is the most common choice and normally costs between £800 and £1,200, while kerbed headstones are more intricate, larger and more expensive, normally priced at around £2,000.
Choosing the headstone that’s right for you
As mentioned above, the process of choosing a headstone is a deeply personal and individual one which shouldn’t be rushed over or taken lightly. For advice on how to select the perfect headstone for your situation, or for any other advice, give us a call on 01983 754 387. We’re happy to help.