How Much Does A Headstone Cost? (Breakdown Of Costs)
A traditional funeral is an expensive affair these days. The cost of your headstone will be just one of many expenses you will face (others include the cost of the casket, burial plot, the memorial service, and the preparation of the body).
If you’re wondering how much your or your loved one’s headstone will cost, here are some questions to help you get to the answer:
- Do you want an upright headstone or a flat grave marker?
- What material will the gravestone be made out of?
- What type of engraving do you want? (Standard letters and numbers or unique shapes and religious symbols as well?)
Read on below for more detailed headstone cost details and ways to save on the cost of your monument.
Summary Of Total Headstone Costs
Three key factors impact the prices of individual headstones:
- Material Used: In other words, what is the headstone made of? The answer is almost always “marble” or “granite.”
- Alignment: Does your headstone lay flat on the ground, or is it an upright headstone?
- Size: How large is your loved one’s memorial?
The table below compares total costs for three headstone styles:
- Upright marble headstones
- Upright granite headstones
- Flat grave markers (grass markers)
Finally, to arrive at your true total headstone cost, you have to account for two ancillary costs: engraving and installation. For now, just recognize that:
Total headstone costs = the cost of the monument + engraving costs + installation costs.
Table: Average Headstone Costs By Material Used
Headstones 101: Types & Materials
A headstone is a monument or plaque that marks the location of a gravesite.
It nearly always shows the name, birth date, and death date of the deceased. Some family members may choose to add a short phrase to honor the memory of the deceased (this is called an epitaph).
The following are commonly used words that mean the same thing:
Marble has been used for a long time, as it is the best material for sculpture and carving. While marble is the most expensive option, many people prefer marble headstones due to their polished appearance.
Since marble is porous, it requires more upkeep and will weather over time, ultimately taking on the white-ish appearance commonly associated with headstones.
The average marble headstone cost is $2,000 to $3,000.
Granite is a durable stone that can last for hundreds if not thousands of years. While technically, some granites are more difficult to scratch than others, ANY granite will essentially last forever.
As a result, your granite monument should appear and feel the same today as it would in 100,000 years or longer.
The average cost of a granite headstone is $1,200 to $1,800.
Flat Grave Markers
The cheapest headstone you can buy is a horizontal flat marker (instead of vertical, upright grave markers).
A flat marker tends to be more affordable because they are easy to install, and you, therefore, avoid additional costs, such as installation fees.
The average cost of flat headstone is $300 to $500.
Purchasing A Headstone: Hidden Costs
This section will explore the ancillary costs that come with purchasing a headstone.
Headstone Engraving Costs
The cost of headstone engraving depends on two factors:
- The type of stone
- The level of personalization desired (e.g., shapes, symbols, etc. that go beyond standard lettering)
For an upright or flat marble headstone, expect to pay $150 to $200 for standard lettering with no special symbols. Engraving is considerably cheaper ($40-$60 per headstoneęforlksd).
Headstone Installation Costs
Headstone installation will cost you $300 to $500.
Installation costs depend on three main factors: (1) the size of the headstone, (2) whether your cemetery requires a cement base, (3) the cost of manual labor in your location.
You can save a few hundred dollars by installing the monument yourself. However, check your cemetery rules first to see if this is prohibited!
Headstone Restoration Costs
Headstones do not require regular upkeep. To be blunt:
There is NO need to worry about restoration costs in the near-term. Headstones are built to last several decades, if not much longer.
In some cases, however, longevity may be a real concern. If your loved one was a notable public figure, you may be justifiably interested If it’s important that your loved one’s memorial lasts long enough for family members from many future generations to visit it, the best thing you can do is opt for a granite headstone. Granite is a harder stone (vs. marble), and therefore, granite tombstones last considerably longer than equivalent, but marble-based gravestones.
Purchasing A Headstone (& How To Save!)
You have many different options when purchasing a headstone, from online retailers to local funeral homes.
Online providers can typically offer better value for your money, primarily because you avoid the mark-up that your local funeral home likely charges.
Shipping costs are the major drawback to purchasing from an online retailer. If the site offers “free shipping,” this means the shipping price is built into the cost of the product.
Local Retailers (Funeral Homes)
A local business, such as a funeral home or other funeral industry provider, will typically charge more than an online provider for two reasons:
Local businesses have overhead costs
- Since funeral homes buy headstones from another provider, they likely charge a mark-up
- One upside is that funeral homes may give a discount on installation if you purchase from them.
How To Save Money On Your Headstone
There are three key ways you can save on the cost of your loved one’s headstone:
- Buy online: The best way to save is to buy online. It may take longer to receive (~3 weeks), but you’ll avoid the funeral home mark-up and have far more customization options.
- Keep it simple: The second key way to save is to keep customizations minor: avoid complicated engraving (symbols), lengthy text, etc.
- Companion headstones: The final way to save is to buy in bulk! While it may seem like a strange couple’s purchase, buying companion headstones for multiple people in the same family can yield substantial discounts.
Headstone Cost FAQs
If you buy from an online provider, such as Legacy Headstones, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 for a granite headstone. A 14″ x 18″ head stone costs $1,095 while a 20″ x 30″ version will run you $1,695. Marble headstones are more expensive. The average cost of a marble headstone ranges between $2,000 and $3,000.
The price of headstone engraving varies by stone type and the complexity of the engraving (standard lettering vs. special symbols or shapes). You should plan to spend around $500.
This depends on the company and what type of headstone is being ordered. Typically, you can expect a custom stone to take three weeks if ordering online. If you buy an already-made headstone from a local provider, all you need is engraving, so you should have the finished product within days.
Conclusion & Key Takeaways
So, in the end, how much is a headstone?
As with many of the expenses related to a funeral, headstone prices vary widely, based on the material type, size, and level of design detail.
A memorial engraved with a long inscription and carved with fancy symbols will feel personalized to your deceased family member. It will be easier to spot among rows and rows of similar-looking monuments at your cemetery, making your loved one as unique in death as they were in life.
Of course, this will make the price of your headstone increase sharply.
In the end, however, the most important thing is to memorialize your life or your loved one’s life in a way that you feel is fitting and respectful.
The GetSure Team