What's Involved in Headstone Restoration?

What’s Involved in Headstone Restoration?

August 4, 2020

Headstones are built with materials that are designed to hold up over long periods of time. However, all headstones will eventually start to see some wear and deterioration, especially those that are decades old and have been sitting out in the elements through all that time.

If you wish to restore a headstone, it is important to follow the proper steps to get it done safely and correctly to preserve the quality of the monument for decades to come. Here’s a quick overview of the steps you should follow for headstone restoration in Phillipsburg, NJ:

  • Carefully evaluate the existing headstone: It’s important to first make sure the headstone is structurally sound before you begin any restoration processes. Tap the surface and see if you can find any hollow areas. Check for signs of damage like flaking, scaling or erosion. If any of these conditions are present, you should seek professional help rather than attempting to perform any type of restoration yourself.
  • Evaluate the soiling: What kind of soiling do you see on the monument? It could simply be dirt, or it could be fungi, mosses, lichens, soot, urban grime, metallic stains, salts or oils. The kind of soiling you have will influence the kind of processes you use.
  • Start with lighter cleaning first: You should always begin with the gentlest, least aggressive available cleaning method. Rinse with water first before progressing to a soft, natural bristle brush. Only use approved cleaning agents if absolutely necessary.
  • Know how to clean appropriately: Before you begin cleaning, you should test your cleaning methods in a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it will work well before you move over the rest of the monument. If you do use cleaning solutions, you should pre-wet the monument with water first, which will help prevent excess penetration of those solutions. Always clean from the bottom of the stone to the top of the stone to avoid streak stains, and periodically rinse off the headstone. Regular rinsing is important, as residues from the cleaning solutions you use may result in a blotchy appearance if you don’t rinse thoroughly enough.
  • Consider the air conditions: You should only clean headstones if you know there isn’t going to be a possibility of freezing or frost within the next several days, as it may take some time for water to evaporate from the pores of the stone and from the area surrounding the marker. If that water freezes, it could cause damage to the stone.
  • Never use sealants: You should never use any kind of sealant on a stone monument, even if it has been approved for that kind of stone.
  • Consult with professionals: If you have any questions at all about the best methods of restoring the monument, or are uncertain of your ability to accomplish the task yourself, you can always consult with professionals, who will be able to get the job done for you or provide you with the assistance you need.

For more information about headstone restoration or to learn more about our headstone cleaning company in Phillipsburg, NJ, reach out to Phillipsburg Memorial Company today.

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