The material of choice for gravestones today is generally granite, since it is durable and comes in a variety of crystalline textures and colors. Bronze gravestones are also worth mentioning here though, as they are also a popular choice.
Whatever the choice of material, gravestone memorials need regular tending in order to maximize their durability and to keep inscriptions as legible as possible. It is also a nice way to show that you are still thinking about the person who has passed away.
As for granite, because of its durability, the gravestone will not be damaged by forceful scrubbing. Some people might be wary of using too much force and causing damage, but this is almost impossible with granite.
Should hardened water have left calcium deposits on a polished granite memorial, which can often give a hazy coating, the polished surface can be scrubbed using water and a detergent or non-ionic soap. A heavy duty, non-metallic scouring pad is recommended, although care must always be taken to check that it is safe to use it on granite.
As long as a granite memorial is in a stable condition and there are no fractures or cracks, it can even withstand a pressure washer. However, if any of the gravestone’s engraved areas or carvings contain coloring, such as black, using a pressure washer will strip this out, rendering any lettering illegible.
Moving on to bronze gravestones, these are slightly more complicated to clean. The reason being that they are typically made from not just bronze, but also one or two other materials, which are normally used as a base.
The bronze plaques are manufactured from copper and tin, with small additions of zinc and lead. They have a lacquer coating applied in order to seal their original appearance, but over time it will gradually deteriorate.
Using specialized wax is therefore necessary for keeping a bronze gravestone well maintained. This is easy enough to use, and just requires you to liberally rub it on at regular intervals – maybe every 3-6 months.
As these bronze memorials are generally laid flat at grass level, they are more susceptible to falling debris and standing water. A granite base can be cleaned applying the same, slightly aggressive scrubbing approach as used for granite gravestones.
At gravestones.org.uk, we understand the devastation caused by bereavement, which is why we aim to make choosing lasting gravestones an easy process.