How Much Does A Headstone Cost? (3 Brilliant Ways To Save!)
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
The two most important factors impacting the average cost of a headstone are:
- Material Type: The material used, typically marble or granite
- Alignment: Upright headstones cost much more than flat grave markers
Table Average Headstone Costs By Material Type
The table above compares total costs for various headstones: upright marble headstones, upright granite headstones, and flat grave markers.
Total costs include the headstone itself, engraving, and installation.
You may be able to avoid installation costs by installing the monument yourself, but this depends on your cemetery rules.
Headstones 101: Types & Materials
A headstone is a monument or plaque that marks the location of a gravesite. It shows the name and other identifying information of the deceased (typically their birth and death dates). In some cases, it also includes a short phrase to honor the memory of the deceased (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.
Additional Headstone-Related Costs
Headstone Engraving Costs
The cost of headstone engraving largely depends on the type of stone and the existence of any symbols, shapes, or other personalization that goes beyond standard lettering.
The vendor you choose can also make a difference. Funeral homes and cemeteries will likely charge more than an independent business.
Expect to pay $150-$200 per headstone for standard lettering with no special symbols for a marble headstone.
Granite headstone engraving is considerably cheaper. You can expect to pay $40-$60 per headstone (for basic letters) for both upright monuments and flat markers.
Headstone Installation Costs
The fee for installing a headstone is usually between $300 and $500.
Installation costs depend primarily on three things:
- The size of the headstone
- The need for a cement base
- Your location (given labor costs)
Headstone Restoration Costs
Restoration is not something you need to worry about in the near term. Headstones are built to last a long time, and restoration costs will vary significantly from monument to monument.
If this is a concern for you, the best thing to know is that granite headstones will last considerably longer than marble headstones, given that granite is a harder stone.
Where To Purchase A Headstone
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Headstones come in many different shapes, sizes, and varieties, and each of these factors impacts the cost of your headstone.
In particular, the material type used, the size of the monument, its orientation, and the complexity of the engraving will all be factors.
In the end, however, the most important thing is to memorialize your life or your loved one’s life in a fitting and respectful way. So if you can afford it, we support making an emotional decision here.
The GetSure Team