Headstone Installation Methods

Headstone Installation Methods

There are two main types of headstone installation methods used by Stone Masons and which are recognised by NAMM (The Assocation of Memorial Masons) under the Health and Saftey regulation BS8415. These are the Monolith Method or the Dowel or Ground Anchor Fixing Method.

Monolith Method

I prefer to use the Monolith Method where the headstone is set directly into the ground and does not need a ground anchor. At least a 1/4 to 1/3 of the total length of the headstone should be buried below the ground. Small headstones should be buried by more than a third (325mm) below ground and it is a good idea to wait at least 12 months to let the ground settle and become more compact allowing the grave to sink.

I like the Monolith Method as its traditional, looks graceful and is easy to maintain. There is also no restriction on height and its cheaper and more stable. It is also easier to straighten if the headstone begins to lean. However, some cemetries in the UK prefer the Dowel Method as they are worried that some Stone Masons will not bury the headstone deeper enough and that they will therefore not be secure or safe.

Dowel or Ground Fixing Method

The Dowel or Ground Fixing Method is when the headstone is fixed with stainless steel dowels to a base of the same material. This is then fixed into a concrete base or shoe. There is a ground anchor which is a long metal rod used to connect the gravestone to the ground between 12 inches to 24 inches deep and a 1/3 of the gravestone should be below ground.

This method complies with most cemetery regulations in the UK but there is a height restriction of three feet. It can look unslightly and if it leans, it is difficult to straighten. It is also more expensive than the Monolith Method.

I do not install the headstones that I make but will speak to the cemetery about the design and dimensions and help you with the application and check on installation requirements. I will also arrange with the cemetery for a recommended NAMM Stone Mason to install the headstone for you.

NAMM Code of Working Practice 2019


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