Who installs the marker? American Headstone company does not provide installation services, as the installation of the marker is normally performed by the cemetery personnel. If this is a smaller or more rural cemetery, there many not be an office or a grounds crew on site. In these cases, the installation may be contracted out to a third party, such as a local monument company. Either the cemetery office (if there is one) or a local funeral home would be able to tell you who performs the installations for the cemetery, and how much they will charge you. Whether the installation is performed by the cemetery or an outside party, any installation fees and any required documents must be signed locally before the delivery of the marker. Do I have to pay any fees at the cemetery? Most cemeteries will charge you to install the marker (whether you purchase it from them or an outside source). The average is about $100. to $150., but this fee varies significantly in different parts of the country. The cemetery will usually require that the fee be paid (and any required documents be signed, such as a setting authorization), before they will accept the marker. In fact, many cemeteries will send a marker back if the fees are not on file, requiring redelivery at a later date. To avoid any additional shipping fees, make sure you have taken care of the cemetery in advance of the marker's completion. How long does it take to make the marker? Once the design layout has been approved, most markers are completed within four weeks. If the marker includes a black and white photo etching, the production time is about six weeks. For color photo tiles, plan on about eight weeks. Can the markers on this website be used as upright monuments? All of our markers are flat grave markers, and are flush with the ground when installed. They are not upright monuments. How is the marker shipped, and how long does it take? Our standard sized markers (24" x 12" x 3" or smaller) are usually shipped via UPS ground, which take up to 7 business days. Larger markers (including 4" thick 24" x 12" markers) are shipped via common carrier, and take about the same time frame for delivery. Can the marker be shipped to my residence instead of to the cemetery? We will gladly ship markers 24" x 12" x 3" or smaller to a residence. Please be aware that a 24" x 12" x 3" marker will weigh approximately 100 pounds, so please make sure that you are capable of handling the marker once it arrives. If the marker is larger than 24" x 12" x 3", the shipper will impose a significant handling fee to off load the marker if delivered to a residential address. Please contact us for a personalized shipping quote if you are ordering a marker larger than 24" x 12" x 3" and are requesting delivery to a non-cemetery address. Will the cemetery accept a marker from an outside source? You have the right to purchase a marker from any source that you choose. Our markers are made by the same manufacturers that supply cemeteries and funeral homes across the country. The cemetery may tell you that they will only accept a marker if it complies with certain quality standards or material specifications, in an attempt to discourage you from purchasing a marker elsewhere. Please know that our markers comply with the industry standards subscribe to by all major cemeteries throughout the country. If a cemetery claims they have a regulation that requires you to purchase the marker only from them, have them show it to you in writing in their by-laws. Can I select any size I want for the marker? Usually not. Most cemeteries have specific size requirements for markers. Their by-laws will often specify a particular size for a single marker, another for double markers, etc. The cemetery will usually refuse the delivery of a marker if it does not conform to their specifications. Your cemetery would be able to tell you over the phone what their requirements are. If the cemetery is smaller, privately owned, or located in a more rural area, they may not have any regulations at all. If you have seen all sizes, shapes and styles of markers throughout the cemetery, this may be the case. Since smaller cemeteries may not have an office on the premises, you would need to contact a caretaker or a local funeral home to find out what regulations, if any, exist. Why are there two different thicknesses of stone (3" and 4")? Over time, cemeteries have settled on certain standards for their markers. In California and some parts of the west coast, 3" thick stones were adopted as the standard. In the rest of the country, 4" thick stones are more common. Every cemetery is unique, and the requirements at your local cemetery may be different. It is important that you contact your cemetery and select the correct stone thickness, as otherwise the cemetery may refuse to accept the marker. Who is responsible if the marker gets damaged by the cemetery equipment? Many cemeteries will tell you that they are not responsible for damage to a marker if you purchased it from someone other than the cemetery. This is a commonly used scare tactic used to discourage people from purchasing a marker elsewhere. The reality is that if the cemetery has an endowment care fund (almost all do), the fund is there to provide general upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery, including repairing markers damaged by their equipment. Since every cemetery is different, the only way that you can be certain of their policies is to obtain and read a copy of the cemetery's by-laws. How is a second name and date added to a marker later on? The additional date inscription will be added by a local monument company, that will perform the engraving on site with portable equipment. The cemetery or a local funeral home would be able to refer you to whoever provides this service in your area. Costs vary geographically, with $75. to $100. being common for the additional of a last date. Adding additional information (such as a second name or other inscription) will cost more. How do I keep the marker clean? Windex or warm soapy water makes a good short-term cleaner for dirt, and it will not harm the lithochrome sealer (the white pigment in the engraved areas). The most common cause of build-up on the marker surface is calcification that comes from irrigation water. This is indicated by a gray, chalky residue, that is most prominent when the marker is dry. For long-term care, we use pumice stone to clean the markers. Pumice is sold in small blocks at stores that sell barbecues and barbecue supplies. They are often marketed as "grill stones", and are used to clean the dried, baked on residues on grilling surfaces. Scraping the marker with the pumice stone will rub away any calcification deposits, and leave the granite smooth and clean. Although it will not scratch the granite surface, it is a good idea to use the stone only to the extent needed to eliminate the calcification. (Pumice should not be used on color photo images, and should be used sparingly on black and white photo etchings). Looking at the other markers around the cemetery, you should be able to get an idea of how hard the water is, and thus how often you should anticipate cleaning it.