There are a surprising number of factors that go into the cost of a headstone:
- What material will be used?
- How large is the headstone?
- What type of engraving do you want? Standard letters and numbers or special shapes and symbols would as well?
These questions can help you determine the typical cost of the headstone you have in mind.
Keep in mind that having a traditional funeral is an expensive affair. The cost of your grave marker is 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).
Therefore, saving money on a headstone may be a key priority of yours. If it is, read on below for not only the average cost of various headstone configurations but also three ways to save on the cost of your monument.
Summary of Total Headstone Costs
The two most important factors impacting headstone costs are:
- Material Type: The material used, typically marble or granite
- Alignment: Upright monuments cost much more than flat grave markers
The table above compares total costs for various types of headstones: upright marble headstones, upright granite headstones, and flat grave markers.
Total costs include the headstone itself, engraving, and installation.
Types Of Headstones
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.
Granite is a durable stone that can last for hundreds if not thousands of years. In fact, 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.
Flat Grave Markers
The cheapest headstones are horizontal, flat markers memorials (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.
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.
For a marble headstone, expect to pay $150-$200 per headstone for standard lettering with no special symbols.
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 geographic location (unsurprisingly, you will pay more in metropolitan areas than rural areas, given as 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 just means the price of shipping 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 two key ways you can save on the cost of your loved one’s headstone:
How much does a granite headstone cost?
If you buy from an online provider, such as Legacy Headstones, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $2,000. A 14" x 18" black granite headstone costs $1,095 while a 20" x 30" version of the same type will run you $1,695.
How much does headstone engraving cost?
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.
How long does it take to get a headstone?
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.
How long do headstones last?
Different headstones have different lifespans. How long the stone will last can be determined by factors such as whether it is upright or flat, made of granite or marble, and how much engraving has been done on it. Most monuments are designed to last at least 50 years, but headstones made of hard materials like granite can last considerably longer.
Headstones come in many different shapes, sizes, and prices.
How much you spend will depend on the material type used, the size of the monument, its orientation, and the complexity of the engraving, and other customization you choose).
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, go ahead and make an emotional decision here!
The GetSure Team