Find out how much a headstone costs and what factors can make it more affordable for you.
The price of a headstone depends on a number of factors including size, shape, material, and design. There are also other costs associated with purchasing a headstone like installation and maintenance fees. The average cost of a headstone can range from $1,000-$4,000.
In this article, we’ll review the price of various types of headstones and any related costs.
What type of headstone?
The type and size of headstone you choose will greatly impact the cost. Headstones come in a variety of options including flat, pillow, slant, and upright.
Generally, the least expensive type of headstone is a flat grave marker. These lay flat on the ground and can range in size from 16 to 36 inches long and 10 to 16 inches wide. The most common size for a flat grave marker is 24 by 12 inches.
Flat markers can vary in price from $300 to $3,000, depending on size and material. The average cost of a flat headstone is around $1,000.
While these tend to be the most inexpensive option, there are some downsides to them. Since they lay flat they are more prone to damage by lawnmowers. They can also be harder to maintain in terms of grass growing around them or snow covering them up.
Slant or Pillow Headstone
A pillow headstone is similar to a flat headstone, but it is thicker and raised higher off the ground. A slant headstone is like a pillow headstone but angled.
Pillow and slant headstones are typically more expensive than flat headstones. They can range from $800 to $3,000 depending on the size and material of the stone.
The most expensive option is an upright headstone. There is a wide range of sizes and shapes when it comes to upright monuments. The material used will also impact the cost of the headstone.
The size of an upright headstone usually ranges from 18 to 42 inches wide, with the most popular size being 24 or 36 inches.
Generally, a basic upright headstone will start at $1,000 and can cost as much as $5,000. Upright monuments tend to be the most common choice for headstones.
What kind of material?
The two most common options for headstones are granite and marble. Other materials include bronze, iron, sandstone, limestone, concrete, fieldstone, and slate.
Granite is durable and resistant to all sorts of weather. It is reasonably priced and is visually appealing. Most granite headstones are grey which tends to be the least expensive color. Other, more expensive options include black, pink, red, or blue.
Marble is more expensive than granite and is not as durable when it comes to the weather. It is more likely to chip and wear over time. A headstone made of marble will generally require more maintenance.
What shape of headstone?
The standard shape for any headstone, whether it be flat, slant, or upright, is rectangular. Since this is the most common shape, it is easily available and the least expensive. These may have a flat or rounded top.
Headstones can be found in other designs like heart-shaped or book-shaped. You’ll also see headstones in the shape of a cross or an obelisk. These unique shapes cost more than a standard headstone.
How much are engraving and artwork?
Once you’ve chosen the size, shape, and material for a headstone, you’ll need to decide on the graphics. The deceased’s name, birthdate, and date of death are usually engraved on the headstone, and many people opt to add a quote or phrase as well.
Engraving is usually charged by the letter and ranges from $10-$30 per letter, depending on the font and size. Some choose to add images that can be engraved or etched onto the stone.
What other costs are involved?
Aside from the headstone and engraving, you may also need to pay for delivery, installation, maintenance, and restoration. Generally, the cemetery or monument company will do the installation of the headstone.
For larger headstones, there will typically be a concrete base that needs to be installed first. Smaller headstones like flat markers will not need this so the installation fee will be less. The cost of delivery and installation can range from $300-$800.
Many cemeteries charge a flat fee that covers the maintenance of the headstone and the land around it. This can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the cemetery.
Lastly, you will need to pay for any restoration of the headstone that needs to be done later on. Damage from the weather over time can result in the headstone needing to be cleaned and repaired. Expect this to cost approximately $200-$500.
What is the cheapest headstone?
The least expensive headstone is generally a small, flat grave marker. Choosing a grey granite market will cost around $300 plus engraving fees.
How much does it cost to engrave a headstone?
The cost for engraving a headstone ranges from $10-30 per letter. Simpler fonts will be less expensive than more complex fonts. Engraving the name, birthdate, and date of death will cost around $500.
Can you install a headstone yourself?
Headstones should only be installed by the monument company or the cemetery. Each cemetery will have regulations regarding the installation of headstones.
Can you pay for headstones monthly?
Some monument companies will have payment plans that allow for the cost of the headstone to be paid in increments each month. There may be interest charged which will increase the total cost compared to paying the full cost upfront.
Is it cheaper to buy a headstone online?
Purchasing a headstone can be less expensive online, however, be sure to verify the quality of the materials being used. Buying online will usually add shipping fees to the cost of the headstone as well.
Monument companies and funeral homes often have a wide range of headstones available. Be upfront about what your budget is so that they can help you find an affordable option.