Headstone Identification

+11 votes

Does anyone have any resources available for identifying headstone materials?

The primary marker in question (subject of photo above) was erected sometime in the early 20th century, between 1910 and 1916. The marker on the left (in the background) is of another ancestor circa 1933.

Edit: I understand "cleaning" is not a recommended activity for most users. This post is specifically about identifying the materials used for these old markers.

in The Tree House by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (773k points)
edited by Steven Harris
Identification of rocks and minerals cannot be done solely from photographs like this one. But lacking any other information, I'd guesstimate that the marker in the foreground is marble (think limestone) and probably would be damaged by cleaning. The one in the background on the right looks like granite and would be less vulnerable to damage. But the one in the background on the left could be almost anything.
I wouldn't expect them to be identified here in images, just looking for a resource in order to help me identify them myself. This picture is also heavily edited for lighting, quite a few years old, and doesn't show the current state the marker is in.

The one on the right is definitely granite.
Hello Steven,

I have used D/2 Biological Solution <http://www.d2bio.com/distributors> to clean my headstones. I just sprayed it on the headstone, and could not believe the mold and fungus just starting running off.  I had tried every type of cleaner including scrubbing with no results, and was afraid I was going to damage the stone.  When my cousin recommended it, I bought a gallon.  Learned it is easier to use a pump up one gallon sprayer than the spray bottle.   It worked immediately on some but took some time on ones that were really bad; all without scrubbing.  It continues to work overtime on it own and now they look new.  They claim it also protects the stone, so now I spray them every year, and have expanded my circle of headstones.  Love this stuff because it is so simple; I think it would immediately work on this headstone because it looks like one I used it on.  My stones were before 1910.
I would agree with Ellen's estimate as to the type of rock. There was a link in my answer that may also help.

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
This link might get you in the right directions.

by Kellie Rhodes G2G6 Mach 3 (36.9k points)
selected by Steven Harris
+5 votes

Hi Steven,


I have previously worked for a headstone company in which we cleaned stones. I wouldn't advise doing it yourself as this may damage the stone. However if you are going to do it make sure you have permission to do so from the Cemetery in question they may have cemetery guidelines. Here is a link with some pretty good tips http://www.gravestonepreservation.info/articles/cleaning-gravestones-monuments-stone-sculptures

by Anthony McCabe G2G6 Pilot (389k points)
Rest assured, I understand the implications and concerns, but that is not really the point of the post. I have experience with granite and I already have permission from the cemetery, in which I regularly take care of stones at their request (using D/2 Biological Solution, Nitro X-100, Shadow Max, TizTwo, Manganesed Phospholene, etc.); however, these are all newer granite markers that I deal with.

The main concern is identifying the makeup of the markers so that I can expand my cleaning and restoration efforts.
Since you have permission, that is great. For anyone else thinking about doing cleaning, please check with the cemetery as Steve Schmidt says. Also, in some places, any form of cleaning can be illegal.

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