5 Signs Your Cemetery Needs Restored

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Michael Milano
Posted by Michael Milano on March 8, 2022

A cemetery is much more than a final resting place for those who have passed. It serves as an invaluable historical archive of past communities, while also offering a place of quiet, serene introspection as families remember their loved ones. 

Over time, the combined effect of seasonal variations and continual foot traffic can lead a cemetery into disrepair. Sunken headstones, crooked rows of memorials, crumbling or dirty monuments, and unkempt landscaping can all be detrimental to preserving the memory of those interred there.

While routine maintenance—mowing grass, trimming around stones, removal of old flowers and decorations—can help preserve a cemetery’s appearance, most older cemeteries will eventually require in-depth cemetery restoration services to protect and preserve the memories contained within.

By restoring a cemetery, you are preserving its original beautiful state and ensuring its legacy remains. Here are five signs that indicate your cemetery needs restoration services, and how to solve those problems.

1. Dirty Headstones

Memorials that are exposed to the elements go through harsh conditions. In Northeast Ohio specifically, they’re subjected to weather that ranges from moist, humid conditions to temperatures well below freezing. In addition, natural effects such as tree sap, bird droppings, grass clippings, leaves, and other elements can cause memorials to appear dirty or stained. In fact, while memorials located under trees can often add an element of serenity to a final resting place, they often face more environmental factors and typically need to be restored sooner and more frequently than those in open spaces.

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The Fix: A thorough cleaning of a memorial can remove dirt and grime that can make the stone otherwise illegible. The Milano Stone & Restoration team can properly clean marble headstones and granite memorials and restore them to near-original condition.

2. Crooked Headstones

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The continual freezing and thawing of the ground, coupled with shifting soil and the passage of time, can cause memorials to lean out of place. In some more severe instances, the instability of the ground underneath can cause the memorial to completely fall over.

A simple way to determine if there are multiple headstones out of line is by standing at the end of a row. You’ll quickly be able to see which, if any, stones are leaning or have completely shifted out of place.

The Fix: If you do find stones that need to be reset back to their original location, contact a cemetery restoration service provider. They will professionally move crooked headstones back into place and pour new foundations if needed, ultimately restoring the cemetery rows to their original straight lines.

3. Broken Headstones

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Although granite headstones are made to last for generations to come with little to no degradation, there are instances when memorials may crack, break or crumble. Oftentimes, older headstones made of porous materials like sandstone and marble are more susceptible to breaking. 

Stones can break both through natural forces and human interaction. It doesn’t take something as severe as an earthquake to cause a stone to break, either. A seemingly harmless wind storm could cause a tree to fall on top of a monument, breaking it in two.

Accidental damage can come from humans as well. A landscaping crew mowing the surrounding area may bump into the stone, or a rock could be launched from the discharge, causing cracks or chips in the memorial. 

The Fix: A broken monument can either be repaired or replaced. The Milano Stone & Restoration team can put memorials back together through pins and epoxy, create a new memorial, pour a new foundation and/or re-level the existing foundation.

>> Here's how cemetery restoration services revived a mid-1700s cemetery to near-original condition.

4. Tipping or Sinking Headstonesimage1-2

The part of a memorial that you don’t see is just as important as the stone you do see. Much like with building a house, the foundation for the stone needs to be created properly in order for the memorial to have a stable base.

The continual thawing and freezing of ground over time can cause a stone to sink, tip or lean. In addition, tree roots and other vegetation can get underneath an incorrectly poured foundation, creating the same effects. Even disturbing nearby burial plots can cause the foundation to be disrupted.

The Fix: If you have a memorial that appears to be sinking or tilting, contact a cemetery restoration provider to properly re-pour and level foundations.

5. Ground Settling

Any time that ground is dug up and backfilled, the area that was recently disturbed can become subject to the ground settling. The once-firm terrain can become unstable until the loose soil compacts together once again.

This can cause safety issues for visitors to the cemetery. Loose or uneven ground can result in twisted or broken ankles, creating liability issues for the cemetery. 

The Fix: If your cemetery is experiencing grave settling, contact a cemetery restoration provider to re-level your entire gravesite.

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Take the First Step to Restore Your Community’s Cemetery

If your cemetery is in need of professional cemetery restoration services, contact Milano Stone & Restoration. Our team of restoration specialists has years of experience in restoring cemeteries to the serene, peaceful resting place they once were.

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