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To help with your choice I have put together some helpful and informative facts that may help you with your decision on the types, size and material for your memorial.

SIZE: The size of a memorial is probably not one of the first things that is considered but it is actually one of the most important considerations if only to accommodate all of the lettering that will ultimately have to go on to the headplate as most graves will take a number of cremation caskets in addition to the interments.
Letters are cut usually no less than 1/2" in height and it is the size and number of letters that determines the space that is required, a scale drawing can be provided to help with this.
Another fact to consider is weight, the heavier a memorial is the more stable it is in extreme weather conditions, also as the costs are the same for transportation, lettering and erection of the smaller memorials as the larger ones, the larger memorials represent better value for money.

MATERIAL: The choice of material is usually governed by the funds available but not always, the size and design play a part and the aesthetic characteristics and nature of the various types of materials with regard to their durability and ease of cleaning and cemetery rules, especially church yards, all have also to be considered. To help you with your choice of material I have listed below the attributes and failings of the most widely used materials.

YORKSHIRE STONE: This is the cheapest material which is obtained locally and has a biscuit colour, being soft it can be deeply carved and can carry a deep cut letter but because it is soft it can easily be chipped, stone is porous to water and if it was placed under trees it will soil quickly although it can be cleaned to nearly new by a mason.
Yorkshire Stone has it's good points as it is very workable, is inexpensive and is one of the preferred materials allowed by church authorities as it is unobtrusive, has no shine to it's surface and blends in with the natural surroundings.

ITALIAN WHITE MARBLE: This was probably one of the most widely used materials in the post war years as granite was too expensive and not easily worked. Marble has most of the characteristics of stone but is harder and polished to a smoother finish and being white in colour is appropriate for children's memorials.
The price of marble for memorials has always been under the price of granite up until about 20 years ago but as it is imported from Italy and the price of granite has come down in real terms with the introduction of mechanization and the importation from low labour cost countries, the cost savings are minimal.
Marble, like stone, is porous and in winter the moisture can freeze within it's surface giving rise to "sugaring" on the surface, a weathering effect that is it's long-term downfall. for this reason it is preferable to letter with flush lead filled letters for more permanency although letters can be cut and black enamel painted at less cost.

GRANITE: Often refereed to as "Black Marble" is available in black, greys, many colours and grains. Granite has to be the best material from a durability point of view, it is natures hardest material almost impervious to moisture and polishes to a mirror finish.
Granite, with the introduction of new technology can now be worked almost as easily as stone with deep carving not being the impossible and extremely costly task it once was. It is the most expensive but in the long term it offers the least problems being virtually maintenance free and carries a very high mirror finish requiring only an occasional wash over with plain water, it is the choice of Architects for building facias, banks etc, this has to be an endorsement to it's quality. Due to it's hardness, fine grain and high polish, designs of all kinds can be etched in to the surface of the granite with precise detail giving very pleasing results (see our Bespoke Page for examples), Definitely the best quality material in every respect!
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