As a gravestone or grave marker is an integral part of a cemetery, most cemeteries offer installation services for these stones and charge a fee for the same. However, if your cemetery does not provide this service, you may take help of a professional monument company.
In fact, certain cemeteries will even allow you to install a gravestone yourself. Nevertheless, in case there is no such provision in your cemetery, you can obtain permission by the concerned authorities for self-installation.
Needless to say, you need to be careful while installing a headstone or gravestone yourself. It is quite heavy, and you do not want to cause any sort of damage to the stone as it a big investment and holds great importance.
More often than not, gravestones or tombstones need to be installed on a concrete base. The base, though, may not be required in case the marker measures up to 24” x 12” x 4”.
The procedure for laying down the foundation for a single and upright headstone requires measuring the length and width of the stone with a tape and digging a hole, about two to three feet deep of the same dimensions.
Preferably, add about an inch more on each side to leave some margin for ground setting. For example, if the headstone measures 24 inches by 12 inches, then cut an outline of 26 inches by 14 inches. Make sure you determine the plot where you want the headstone installed beforehand.
Watch this video showing the process of headstone erection by qualified stone masons.
In case you are installing a small grave marker then dig a one to two feet deep hole, as per the dimensions of the marker itself.
The hole should be deep enough to set the marker properly. You can measure the thickness of the gravestone, add 4-6 inches to the depth and then proceed.
Next, dig two holes (for steel bars) on the outer edge using a shovel or pole hole digger. They can be almost twenty four feet deep and six inches wide.
Then, place two of the reinforced bars in these holes and set them down with a hammer so that just three inches of each bar is above the surface.
If the marker has a vase, you may dig a shallow hole in its position and set a PVC pipe in its place. Now, you need to pour a mixture of cement and water in the hole.
Leave about four inches of space from the top of the ground. Then, smoothen the surface with the help of a trowel. Place a board evenly along the concrete and check if the surface is level.
Allow the concrete to dry for a couple of days. Finally, place the gravestone gently onto the base and pack dirt around the edges.
As already mentioned, you need not lay the foundation when installing a small marker. For that, you just need to dig the hole, set the marker in it, and place a level on the grave marker to make sure it is flat and fits perfectly. In case it does not lie flat then you may fill the hole with sand.
You can get detailed information about the proper installation of a headstone here. In addition, you may visit this page to understand the process of installing a granite headstone.
If you are not sure whether you will be able to install the gravestone perfectly or not, it is better to hire a professional for this task, especially when you have to get a large or companion headstone installed.