Headstone Lettering

Once you have chosen an inscription for your memorial, you then need to decide what form the headstone lettering will take. There are traditional and modern technological options available, with the choice you make very much dependent on the material of the headstone.

guilded lettering on gravestone

Headstone lettering has the potential to last for decades or even centuries. However there are a number of factors effecting it, including what material your memorial is made from. It can be swings and roundabouts in many ways as it depends on your overall requirements. Letters will likely last longer on more durable materials such as granite, but softer materials like sandstone and limestone allow more flexibility when it comes to shaping them.

Other factors to take into account are plantation, local weather conditions and pollution. Grass and leaves rot and during this process produce chemicals that can damage the natural stone. If your memorial is made of a porous material, letters are much more prone to damage if weather is persistently wet or frosts are regular in winter. Moisture can get get behind the letters due to the crystallisation of the marble and it cause letters to lift or fall out over time.


For painted letters depending, on the material the paint can lift and fall away, or can just fade or discolour. As with everything left outside it will always require a certain amount of maintenance. When it comes to restoring headstone lettering, there is a temptation to buy paints online but we do not recommend this. If not primed properly, then the paint has the tendency to flake.

Sarsfield Memorials uses both traditional and modern methods when it comes to headstone lettering. On softer materials we often hand cut the lettering, especially when working on restoring older headstones, which is not something that all masons can offer. We will use machinery at other times though to v-cut the letters. For the hardest materials a sandblaster is used. This means we can give you a choice of over one hundred fonts. Often families will take our advice and expertise when it comes to style, size and finish of lettering. Once the letters have been cut, they are finished in your desired or a more traditional choice.

Raised lead lettering involves drilling small holes into the material for the letters to be adjoined to the headstone. This is an alternative and perhaps more traditional option for light granite than sandblasting. This form of lettering is very time consuming and it will reflect in the price, so is not often used today.

At Sarsfield Memorials we are happy to discuss your requirements for headstone lettering  whether it be for a new memorial or as part of a restoration. Please contact us and we will provide as much advice and assistance as possible and you are under no obligation to take up any quote offered.