Why Do Headstones Take So Long To Make?

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Blogs

Why Do Headstones Take So Long To Make?

Every headstone is an incredibly individualized representation of a lost loved one’s life. Each is made with care to honour the lives of the departed and provide a space for families to remember their loved ones.

The design process may take longer than a few weeks or a few months anticipated because, at McKeon Memorials, we make sure every custom-made headstone receives the individual care and attention required to transform your vision into a lasting legacy for your loved one.

Depending on the size and complexity of the headstone, customisation  may require four to twelve months to complete. Every aspect of a headstone, from style/design and size to material quality and personalization, affects how quickly it happens.

The six steps we undertake as headstone providers are as follows…….

Meeting With Our Headstone Makers

Some families want to design a headstone as soon as possible after the death of a loved one, while others aren’t ready to do so quite yet which is understandable.

When the time comes for you to have a headstone made, you should schedule a consultation with us. To arrange a virtual or in-person appointment, contact McKeon Memorials by phone at 086 257 2224 or using the contact form on our website.

Throughout your visit, we will:

  1. Assist you in navigating the various headstone design alternatives that you might find overwhelming to go over on your own.
  2. Together, we will create a headstone that best remembers your departed loved one.
  3. Respond to any inquiries you may have regarding the headstone design procedure.

Determining the Headstone Design Elements

During your appointment, James McKeon will walk you through a variety of design elements you have to choose from. These personalisation options are what truly make your loved one’s headstone special and unique to them.

Every stone is distinct and every detail matters when it comes to McKeon Memorials. Families can select the following design elements at any point during the headstone creation process.

Size and Shape 

Larger, more elaborate headstones are frequently more complex to create than smaller, more upright headstones. For example, carving an upright headstone with an unusual shape takes a lot longer than carving flat grave marker. Custom designs also take longer to do depending on the design.

Stone Material

Choosing a stone material for headstones at McKeon Memorials can be a meticulous process. Our clients take the time to explore options such as limestone, granite, and marble, considering factors like aesthetics, durability, cultural or religious preferences, budget constraints, and maintenance requirements.

We at McKeon Memorials are aware of how important this choice is, and our dedicated staff will help families every step of the way. Given the significant significance of this memorialization process, our goal is to provide durable and visually beautiful headstones that appropriately honour their loved ones.

Payment and Approval Process

Once you’ve discussed your loved one’s headstone design, our headstone maker will create a mockup of your headstone so you can see exactly what will be created.

However, before production can begin, we will need some or all of the following:

  • Headstone down payment. A deposit payment upfront is compulsory so that we will be able to move forward with production. Note: McKeon Memorials is more than willing to work with families when it comes to payment options.
  • Signature from a responsible party. We want to make sure the headstone design for your loved one lives up to your expectations before proceeding with production. As a result, we first require that the headstone mockup be approved by a family member or other responsible party.
  • Cemetery notification and/or approval. Most cemetery rules require approval for new headstones and memorials. This usually consists of the accountable party’s signature attesting to the plot’s location, details, and layout.

Actual Making Of Your Headstone

Following the approval of the headstone design, we will proceed to the production phase to bring your loved one’s headstone to life. The endorsed design is forwarded to the pre-production team, which employs a cutting machine to meticulously craft a rubber stencil. This stencil is then affixed to the stone, a crucial step in the process.

Once the stencil is in place, skilled stoneworking professionals ensure precise alignment before delicately removing each letter with a stencil knife. This handcrafted approach lends a personal touch to the headstone. Subsequently, the headstone undergoes the sandblasting process, where the approved design is intricately etched into the stone using a specialized machine.

Upon completion of the sandblasting phase, the stoneworking professional takes care to customize the letters and symbols according to the family’s specified finishes. This meticulous craftsmanship results in a headstone that not only embodies the approved design but also serves as a personalized and enduring tribute to your loved one’s memory.

Clean and Transport Headstone to Chosen Cemetery

The final step of the headstone production involves the meticulous removal of the stencil and thorough cleanup of any remaining paint, ensuring a pristine finish. Once this process is complete, you and your family will be promptly notified that your headstone is ready for delivery. While some families prefer immediate delivery, others opt to inspect the headstone first. It’s important to note that full payment for the headstone is required before scheduling delivery, typically taking six to eight weeks.

When the headstone is ready, the dedicated team at McKeon Memorials, your chosen supplier, will arrange for its delivery to the designated cemetery, weather permitting. Due to seasonal considerations, providers often wait for warmer weather before installing headstones during winter. In the meantime, a temporary wooden cross may be erected as a thoughtful remembrance for your loved one.

This careful and considerate process ensures that your chosen memorial is delivered and installed with the utmost attention to detail and respect for your preferences.

Another reason why do headstones take so long to make is because of supply chain disruptions

Supply chain disruptions can significantly impact the production timeline of headstones due to various interconnected factors. Firstly, the sourcing of materials becomes a critical concern. If a supplier faces disruptions in obtaining the necessary natural stones, such as marble, granite, or limestone, it can lead to delays in the manufacturing process. Additionally, transportation challenges and delays can arise, affecting the timely delivery of materials to the production facility.

By choosing McKeon Memorials, clients can mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions. As direct suppliers of natural stones used in headstones, McKeon Memorials sources materials locally in Ireland and nearby European countries. This strategic approach minimizes the risks associated with international supply chains, ensuring a more stable and reliable source of raw materials. This local and regional focus allows for greater control over the procurement process, reducing the likelihood of delays caused by global disruptions. Clients can have confidence in the timely and efficient production of their headstones when partnering with McKeon Memorials, thanks to our commitment to sourcing materials locally and maintaining a resilient supply chain.

If you need a professionally made headstone in Laois and Kildare, contact McKeon Memorials today at 086 257 2224 or email us at james@mckeonmemorials.ie and we will gladly assist you during these difficult times.