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Types of Headstone Monuments

A headstone is a memorial monument used to commemorate the life of a deceased loved one. There are many types of headstone monuments to choose from. Here at Katti-Ma Granite, a leading wholesale granite monument supplier, we give you a quick and easy guide to help choose a headstone for a loved one that has passed on. You can also download Katti-Ma’s monument catalog to explore more styles to choose from.

Headstones are usually classified into the following broad types; Uprights, Slants, Flat or Bevel Markers, Benches and Wings.

Upright headstone monument

upright granite headstone typeThis is the most traditional and also the most popularly used monument style. As the name suggests, it features a base and an upright die. A die sometimes also called a tablet is vertical and contains the surface upon which the memorial’s wordings are etched. The person’s name, dates of birth and death, family names and other elements like poems, quotes or artwork are depicted.

Upright headstones feature various styles of tops. The most popular top is a serpentine or SERP top. Other popular top styles are rooftop, oval tops, flat tops or rounded corner tops. Upright headstones are often paired with a matching vase or vases.

These headstones are available as both single uprights and also as companion uprights

Slant headstone monuments

slant headstone typeThese monuments are quite similar to upright headstones. But, where they differ is how the die or tablet is vertical only in the back. The front features a slope or slant. The slant may or may not have a nosing. When without a nosing, slants are called full-face slants. When a nosing is present, it is usually a 2’ nosing. The purpose of the nosing is to help provide extra surface area to etch additional words. In some cases, nosing is provided in a contrasting rock pitched or polish finish to build character into the headstone.

It is recommended that slant headstones be placed on a base and not directly upon the foundation. Like upright headstones, slants can also have tops in various styles, as described earlier.

Flat or Bevel Headstones

Often chosen as an affordable or minimalistic headstone, these are nothing but flat rectangular markers that are about 4 inches thick. They are placed horizontally on the ground. Bevel markers are slightly raised in the back, giving them a slope.

Bench Headstones

bench headstone monument graniteBench headstones offer a very unique way to memorialize a loved one. They come in various sizes, often ranging from 36’, 48’ and 60’. They come in many styles as well. Some of the most popular bench headstones are pedestal bench, arm bench, monument bench and park bench.

Wing Headstones

Wing headstones are often chosen to celebrate the life of a loving couple that have passed on. They consist of two dies or tablets that are separated by a pedestal or plinth or other sculptures like a base or angel.

angel granite monument headstone

Children’s headstones

No family should have to go through the process of choosing a headstone for a little one that has passed on. Headstones to commemorate the lives of young ones feature granite sculptures that depict toys, musical instruments, teddy bears or angels. Children’s headstones are usually ordered on a bespoke basis, designed and built according to the grieving family’s needs.

Choose a Headstone Type that will be approved by your Cemetery

Not many people know that almost all cemeteries have restrictions and guidelines when it comes to the type of headstones they will allow in their cemetery. These restrictions vary from cemetery to cemetery. It is best that you contact your cemetery to find out their particular restrictions. Restrictions are usually applied to the following aspects of a headstone.

Headstone type – Not all headstones are allowed by all cemeteries. There are some cemeteries that only allow grave markers while most will allow a wide array of headstone types, like the ones we detailed earlier.

Headstone size – Cemeteries will list out size restrictions for both single and companion headstones. These are usually 24 x 12, 28 x 16, 18 x 24 for singles and 36 x 18, 44 x 14 for companion headstones.

Headstone material and colour – While most cemeteries do not have color restrictions, there are some that are quite particular about the shade of headstones they will permit on their cemetery. When it comes to materials, granite is accepted by all cemeteries when it comes to monuments.

Custom artwork – Some cemeteries have specific restrictions on things like types of artwork, photo memorials made out of porcelain and so on. If the headstone you choose has art or other elements that is not found on a traditional headstone, it is best that you seek the cemetery’s approval beforehand.

Do you have to buy a headstone only from the cemetery where your loved one is buried?

The answer is no. Federal law gives you the right to buy your headstone from any vendor of your choice, whether or not they are affiliated with the cemetery. Cemetery owners will however try to talk you into buying headstones from memorial companies that they own or are only affiliated with them. They do this by either imposing installation fees on 3rd party vendor headstones or by trying to simply insist that you buy your headstone from their memorial services. You can however quote the federal law and exercise your freedom to work with any vendor of your choice.