We use photographs, historical records, family diaries and more to repair and restore monuments. Cemeteries usually have a method and flow to where graves and monuments are placed and the direction they face. Different cemeteries will have nuances based on cultural, religious, and more practical needs.
We research the best materials to maintain structural integrity of various monument materials. Marble, granite, and wood all have different strengths and weaknesses and we work within their unique physical characteristics when we select various mortars, putties, rods, etc.
We are trained craftspeople, with hands-on experience. We use a variety of tools, some modern, some very traditional, to repair and restore monuments. Each monument is different and each monument deserves a careful and considered plan to repair. Our in-the-field experience guides our repair plans.
Most people are surprised to learn gravity does most of the work to keep heavy monuments in place. Even small monuments can weigh hundreds of pounds. We use tripod lifts and other techniques to safely lift and reset monuments.
Even though monuments are made of stone, they have naturally-occurring weak spots. We handle monuments carefully when we are working with them.
The mortars and other materials appropriate for various repairs take time to cure and set. Temperatures, contact time, and moisture levels are all variables we must consider when working with natural materials.
As with most things, monuments benefit from regular maintenance from a trained professional. Please DO NOT attempt to maintain historic monuments without appropriate training or advice. Here are some basic rules that we follow:
Monuments are subject to many natural elements: birds, squirrels and other animals, as well as lichen, moss, and other biological growth that can make them difficult to read. Water and a soft bristle brush are the best tools for keeping monuments clean and legible, though in some cases use of appropriate biocides may be necessary.
Lawnmowers and weed-eaters are among the biggest culprits when we see damaged monuments. Marble is a soft material that is easily damaged by metal blades and plastic trim lines. Landscape surrounding the monument is a critical element which will ensure longevity of the memorial.
Well-meaning families have damaged monuments by applying harsh chemicals to marble. Marble is a naturally porous material, with places where chemicals can stay and crystallize. Bleach is particularly damaging because it causes "sugaring," the sandy bits of marble that are formed on the surface, indicative of corrosion of the base material. Water is the best for cleaning monuments.
It is tempting to pull out a power washer or sprayer to blast off the growth, but this will damage softer stone, such as marble, beyond repair. Soft bristle brushes and old-fashioned elbow grease are the safest choice.
Monuments are often less stable and permanent than they appear and may be toppled or broken by pressing on them. Monuments may also break due falling limbs, sinking grave cavities, vandalism, or other problems. Contact us to determine the best repair materials and approaches.
Families have contracted with us to repair family plots and single monuments. We will need contact information for who owns the property to get started.
Churches of various faiths have contracted with us to repair monuments, sometimes individual monuments and sometimes whole cemetery sections. We work around events and commemorations according to their calendars, and are always mindful of active burials.
City and town cemeteries contract with us for consultations and repairs. We provide certificates of insurance and other documentation usually required by municipalities.
Historic cemeteries with non-profit Friends groups have contracted with us for consultations, proposals for grant applications, and restoration projects. We have conducted volunteer clean-up days, as well.