<a href="/articles/cleaning-gravestones-monuments-stone-sculptures">Stone can be damaged by some types of cleaners. Learn more about the cleaning process.</a> <a href="/articles/repairing-broken-stones">Broken gravestones &amp;  monuments can almost always be repaired</a> <a href="/articles/monument-setting">Has gravity got you down? Learn about resetting fallen monuments.</a> <a href="/articles/portland%C2%A0cement%C2%A0%C2%A0vs%C2%A0historic%C2%A0gravestones%C2%A0%C2%A0-%C2%A0">Marble tablet reset into wet concrete- Broken off again</a>

The precise historical origins of Portland Cement are very complex and beyond the scope of this abstract, however its beginnings can be traced back into the late 1700s.  

It is commonly believed that if an object or structure is simply protected from the outdoor elements that it will then be preserved forever. Unfortunately this is only partially true, as there are multiple factors that can contribute to the breakdown and decay of nearly everything built by humans.

Learn How to Clean, Repair & Preserve Historic Gravestones & Cemetery Monuments of all Types and Ages.

Gravestone Preservation Workshops Planned for May of 2014

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Modern granite monuments are usually constructed from two pieces of granite. The upper headstone section, or die, sits on top of a base stone. The die and base are joined together with monument setting compound, (suppliers list). This compound is similar in texture to window glazing putty, or a very thick dough. Unfortunately it does not provide for structural support, but is designed to fill a void and prevent moisture entry.

Numerous factors can contribute to cause the breakage of a gravestone, monument, or sculpture. The press loves to focus on the deplorable acts of vandalism, which from time to time, may damage a local cemetery or graveyard. Yet these occasional rampages are not the leading cause of broken gravestones.

Historically numerous substances have been used, in an attempt to make stones last longer when placed outdoors. Olive oil, whale oil, turpentine, and wax represent just a few of the liquids applied to masonry in a mostly vain effort to inhibit the future deterioration of stone.

In the process of conserving a gravestone, it may become necessary to add infill, to replace or crumbling stone. Infill refers to a mix formulated to fill a void or gap, in masonry, and ideally to have it blend in with the rest of the stone, or substrate. Infill of various types has been used since antiquities to restore damaged sculpture, gravestones or masonry structures.

Numerous factors can contribute to cause the breakage of a gravestone, monument, or sculpture. The press loves to focus on the deplorable acts of vandalism, which from time to time, may damage a local cemetery or graveyard. Yet these occasional rampages are not the leading cause of broken gravestones.

Many monuments constructed historically included metal pining to fasten together their sections. The Romans, sometimes, tied together masonry with bronze clamps to strengthen the joints, and prevent a structural failure. So when multiple piece monuments, became more popular then the typical colonial gravestone during the middle of the 1800, metal was again employed.

All modern monuments should be installed on a solid concrete foundation. The foundation should be dug as deep as the frost line, depending on the locale. This would be about the same depth footings for residential construction is dug. In the Northeast this means footings should be at least 42 inches or more.