Over time headstones and other memorials left outside will be exposed to all weather conditions, from hot sun to frost, snow and high winds. This can cause wear and tear, resulting in the pieces losing their natural colour. To tackle the problem each memorial will require some basic maintenance. This includes cleaning and taking steps to preserve it. Alternatively, you may wish to initially choose a material like Portland stone that can look better with age and wear.
Before getting started, take note of the type of material the stone is made of. This will determine what kind of cleaning you need to do and what products you should use. Some products will do more harm than good, particularly strong household cleaners. The memorial needs to be firmly anchored in place so it doesn’t shift or topple over while you work on it, so if you notice any shifting or instability it is essential to have the memorial repaired before attempting to carry out any maintenance.
Limestone and sandstone memorials can flake and crumble over time. Look for signs of this before you start cleaning so you don’t cause more damage. When dealing with worn areas you should use as little water as possible and be very gentle when wiping the surface. Avoid using harsh brushes and acidic cleaning products.
Marble is slightly easier to clean because it is a firmer stone. You can clean it with an ammonium hydroxide cleaning product and a soft bristled brush. Work to remove any mould, mildew and dirt then carefully rinse and wipe the stone to remove the cleaning solution.
Granite is an even harder stone so it can withstand more vigorous cleaning. Over time calcium deposits can build up, affecting the colour of the memorial. These can be removed with a non-metallic brush to freshen up and protect the stone. You can use non-ionic soap to clean the piece if you need to. Again you’ll need to rinse and wipe it down afterwards to finish.
Some people like to use sealant to give the stone some extra protection against the elements. This is fine in some cases but it is important to be careful. Use the sealant when the stone is completely dry so that moisture does not become trapped underneath. It is best to wait after cleaning and choose a warm, dry day when you can be sure there is no chance of moisture getting locked in.
Our kerb sets, ledgers, headstones and other memorials are designed to hardwearing and resistant to the elements, so there is no need for extensive cleaning and maintenance work, but with the occasional gentle clean you can keep them looking their very best. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like more information about this or about any of our available memorials.