How to Protect and Preserve a Gravestone - Tennessee Memorials
How to Protect and Preserve a Gravestone
Tips for Protecting and Preserving Gravestones
Headstones or gravestones tend to deteriorate over a period of time due to exposure. Exposure to factors like acid rain, wind, and temperature extremes. These conditions lead to damaging effects like discoloration and erosion.
Thus, it is imperative to check and clean a gravestone properly from time to time. Taking proper measures to maintain the monument can help a great deal in maintaining it for a long time.
Here are some tips and suggestions to protect and maintain a gravestone.
It is often suggested to use a stone or tile sealer a headstone to preserve it for generations. However, this is not a fool-proof method for protecting the stone. It seals in the moisture and other minerals as well. Moreover, this prevents the stone from ‘breathing’. Thus, you can seal the gravestone with a good consolidator.
When cleaning a headstone, avoid using highly acidic and alkaline agents. Steer clear of household cleaners. Such as chlorine bleach, borax, muriatic acid, Formula 409, Fantastik, Spic and Span, and other similar cleaners. The safest way to clean a headstone is to use natural clean water or distilled water. You can also use a non-ionic detergent or a biocidal cleaner. Besides, you can use ammonium hydroxide for light-colored stones. If there are still deep-set stains in spite of cleaning, it is better not to remove them. Furthermore, avoid using a protective coating. This is impermeable to water vapor as it is likely to stain or damage the stone beyond repair.
You need not wash a gravestone, headstone, or tombstone more than once a year. In fact, you should clean certain headstones should once in every ten years. In addition, do not scrub the stone with an abrasive pad or hard metal brush. Preferably, use white and soft-bristled plastic nylon brushes. Plus, keep in mind that you need to wash the stone from the bottom to the top. What about cleaning a headstone with a ceramic picture or a bronze fixture? Make sure you mask these elements to protect them before cleaning the stone. There is a common myth that you can clean a gravestone with shaving cream. Applying shaving cream helps clean the stone and highlight the inscriptions. However, it is harmful to the marker in the long run. The acidic chemicals present in the formula penetrate deep into the pores. It eventually makes the stone weak and frail over a period of time. Moreover, as the cream is greasy and sticky, it is difficult to remove it with simple washing.
Rubbing a headstone helps flake away tiny granules from the surface. But, it tends to damage the stone and fades the inscription on it. Thus, some cemeteries do not allow this process.
Protect marble tombstones by building a protective canopy built over the monument.
If you are to maintain a bronze marker, then do not polish it with chemical cleaner frequently. Bronze naturally darkens over time. Thus, you need to take minimal care of the headstone by washing it with water and then polishing it after it dries.
When thinking about cleaning, painting, and restoring a tombstone, seek the permission of the cemetery. You can also pay a caretaker working in the cemetery for cleaning the headstone.
In case the finish of a gravestone has worn off, you may hire a professional forrefinishing.
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