When you buy a headstone from Sarsfield Memorials we will always advise on how to keep it clean and what to use. If you are looking to clean an existing gravestone, we are happy to give free advice along with a no obligation quote for us to do the work if you change your mind about doing it yourself.
To the man on the street, cleaning gravestones appears to be a very simple and easy task, thanks to all the wonderful cleaning products that are available on the internet from Ebay and Amazon and on the high street. However nothing could be further from the truth!
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock, granite is igneous, marble and Portland stone are metaphoric and slate is a fine-grained, foliated and homogeneous metamorphic rock. All these natural materials will retain products that are rubbed in or brushed on because they reflect the weather at the time they are applied. Whether damp or dry, the chemicals will react with the material in different ways and will cause deterioration of the stone. Unless you know and understand the geology of the material your headstone is made from, we would never advise a family to clean a memorial using chemicals. Instead just use water and a soft sponge.
The atmospheric agents and retail chemicals (cleaning products) will particularly affect memorials erected close to main roads. Limestone and marble headstones will crystalise and be eaten away. The material over time will become more rough and this will attract more dirt and grime, making the gravestone more delicate. Do not ever use anything abrasive on any headstone as you could cause damage that cannot be repaired. Lettering can also be damaged by cleaning a memorial. Leaded letters can change colour depending on the chemicals used, while painted and gilded letters can be damaged and possibly eradicated, which then means extra cost to you as you will need to instruct a Monumental Mason to rectify the problem.
Please be very cautious, we would not advise anyone to clean their own headstone. Make the correct decision when extending the life of your memorial and remember it is always cheaper to have a gravestone professionally cleaned by a Monumental Mason than to replace it.
At Sarsfield Memorials we have skilled craftsmen who can restore just about any gravestone to a near new appearance no matter what the material is, as the before and after photos on this page show. This service is available throughout the North West and examples of before and after cleaning are shown in the photographs accompanying this article. If you contact us we will be happy to discuss your requirements and give a free no obligation quote.