Monument FAQs

Helpful Hints and Generally Interesting Information


What is the difference between a monument, headstone or marker?

When people refer to monuments, they typically refer to larger headstones (think "monumental"... aka "big"). While monuments are often times the same shape as headstones, you likely have seen other monuments in very different shapes and sizes. Some gravesites may have have large obelisks, or tall skinny spindles (think "The Washington Monument" in Washington, D.C.). A monument might have any icon or image represented typically in three dimensional form. 

A headstone is the most common form of memorial for a gravesite. The headstone is typically constructed of granite or marble and sits erect on the ground, allowing individuals who walk past to easily identify the individual. You can have any information you desire carved into the headstone, ranging from a person's name, to birth date and death date, to a quote or saying, to an engraving or inscription.

A marker is a smaller option of a memorial that is not going to gain as much attention as a monument or headstone simply because of its size. A marker often sits flat, so you can only read it when standing straight above it (although some bevel markers have a slight angle designed to it that make it easier to read).  The marker allows for the same basic information as a headstone to be printed, which is desirable. This is also an excellent option for anyone who is working within a budget and doesn't have the financial assets to build a larger monument or headstone.


This is all new to me and I don't know where to start or even what to include on the headstone. Can you help me design it?

Most headstone include the name of the deceased and date of birth and passing. Others also include symbols, pictures or epitaphs. Our highly experienced, professional staff will work closely with you and help you decide exactly what you would like to include on the monument. You will be provided a computer generated drawing that shows you the exact design for your approval. Vining Funeral home is involved in every step of the process and will patiently walk you through each stage of design, fabrication and installation.


I have heard terminology about headstones, but I don't know what it all means. Can you explain this to me?

We understand that the purchasing and designing of a permanent memorial can be somewhat overwhelming, especially the terminology and vernacular. Let us help you by providing meanings to some of the more common terms associated with designing headstones and markers.

Granite - Is a common and widely used type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock.

Marble - A metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. We do not use a lot of marble since it is not as durable as granite.

Flat MarkerThe most economical of all monuments. Just as their name implies they sit flat on the ground. Some cemeteries require the monument to be flat so they can mow over it. Others require the monument to be set level with the lay of the land.

Bevel MarkerThis monument is normally six inches thick in the back and slopes to four inches in the front. The bevel makes this type of monument easier to read than the flat marker.

Bronze MarkerA mixture of different metals cast to form a specific design and lettering. Many perpetual care cemeteries require bronze. A bronze monument will normally begin to patina (turn a greenish color) after about 10 years. There is nothing you can do to prevent this except by reapplying a clear coat to the bronze every 5 to 8 years.

Slant MarkerSlants are normally ten inches thick on the bottom and sixteen inches tall on the back center of the stone. The lettering is placed on the face of the slant. Slants can be set with or without a base.

Upright MonumentsUpright monuments normally consist of two pieces: the top part is referred to as the die while the bottom is called the base. We typically leave nine inches on the ends to add vases at any time you may desire. Upright monuments come standard polished on the front and back, but there is an option to polish all sides. Upright monuments are the most common.

Wing MonumentsThis is the term that is used when two dies are placed on one long base. Wing jobs are exclusively double monuments.

Laser Etching - The process of etching a photo or scene on a granite monument using a laser etching machine. The best results are achieved on black granite, but we can also etch on Celtic Green and India Red. One of the keys to a good etching is the photo; it should be a clear picture that was taken close to the subject. You do not want to use a picture that was taken from across the room.

Sandblasting - This is the process of actually cutting the letters deep into the stone.

Hand Etching - An artist rendition of a photo or a scene on black granite.

Polish - This is when a diamond or carbon based pad is used to smooth and darken the stone. Polishing a stone helps to seal it and helps prevent fungus from growing on it.

Rock Pitched - This term describes the rough edges that are usually seen on the edges of a base. Rough edges help conceal areas where a lawn mower might hit the side of the base.

Frosting or Flashing - This is the process of taking the polish off of an area of the stone. This is usually done to help the lettering stand out better by creating more contrast.

Sawn - This term describes a flat or smooth saw cut to the stone, but may have lines in the finish from the saw blade, and are generally used only for surfaces that will not be visible after the monument is installed.


Do I need to wait a certain amount of time before I place a headstone or marker in the cemetery?

The simple answer is no. Typically it takes eight-to-twelve weeks to produce and deliver a headstone or marker to the cemetery providing adequate time for the grave to settle.


How can you work with me if I live out of town?

We can work with you in whatever manner you desire. We regularly utilize email, teleconferences, faxes, US Mail and even texting to communicate with families we serve. We have many headstones and markers we have completed where we never met the family member face to face. We also will provide you a photograph of the headstone upon completion and setting in the cemetery.


Can I purchase a headstone before the need arises?

Increasingly, people are choosing to purchase their own headstone before the need arrives. By planning ahead, you can select the style, size and color you prefer. A personalized design, which you can help to create, can reflect your beliefs, values or what ever is meaningful to you. What do you want to tell future generations about yourself and your family? This is your opportunity to make your personal statement for history.

You can save money. Purchasing a headstone before the need arises means that you are utilizing today's dollars. Like everything else, it will cost less now than in years to come.

It is less traumatic and emotional to purchase a memorial in advance. You have the opportunity to discuss the purchase with all the family members. Most major purchases are completed with the interests of all members of the family. This is one of those major purchases.


How long does it take from order to completion for a monument?

If using readily available inventory stock material, we expect to deliver your completed headstone eight-to-twelve weeks after you’ve approved of your artwork and design. Custom monuments or headstones from non-inventory stock can take up to three-to-six months to complete and deliver. Many variables can influence completion time, from quarry location and rarity of stone to seasonal weather and changes in final design.


I do not see pricing for monuments, headstones and markers on the website. Why not?

Prices for monuments, headstones and markers vary depending on size, features, colors, and cemetery requirements. We have found that providing prices can cause more confusion for families. We work to keep pricing simple with as few “additional” items as possible. But all our memorials are unique even if you purchase a common type. We prefer to provide you a complete and accurate price so you can make an educated judgement.


My loved one was cremated and their ashes were not buried in the cemetery. Is it still appropriate to have a headstone or marker in the cemetery?

Headstones are intended as a recognition of a passed loved one and as a place for the living to come to remember that special person. No matter what final disposition to the person was, a recognition and remembrance is always appropriate. It also provides easy access to genealogical information for future generations.


Are you able to match an existing headstone already in the cemetery?

Yes we can. We are able to duplicate most colors, shapes, size and designs.


Will my chosen cemetery accept my monument, headstone or marker?

Some cemeteries have different rules and regulations regarding monuments headstone and markers. Before you buy a cemetery lot, ask what kind of monuments and markers are allowed. Some cemeteries, often called memorial parks, only allow flat markers. If your lot is in this type cemetery, you will never be able to place a traditional upright monument there. Those cemeteries may have an upright section, also. They may impose restrictions on the size, which could severely limit your choice. When you purchase a cemetery lot, be sure to know if traditional upright monuments are allowed and if there are limitations on location and size.

With that said, our professional staff are aware of the guidelines and regulations in our local cemeteries. Overwhelmingly, the majority of the cemeteries in Graham and Greenlee counties do not have stringent guidelines and rules and will allow most common monuments, headstones and markers.


What cemeteries do you service?

Primarily we service all of the cemeteries currently located in Graham and Greenlee counties. In addition, we have set monuments and headstones in cemeteries throughout Arizona and New Mexico. We pride ourselves on our excellent working relationship and reputation with area cemeteries.


How do I obtain a veteran marker or plaque?

As part of our unwavering commitment in continuing the service to those who have served, we will assist you in obtaining the government provided memorial. Vining Funeral Home offers installation services of the upright granite or marble headstone(s), flat granite, marble or bronze plaque mounted on a granite foundation and installed in the cemetery of choice. If you have any questions about your eligibility, or that of a family member, call us at (928) 428-4000 or send us an email using our contact form.


I have trouble traveling. Can you come to my home?

Absolutely! We will send one of our professional staff to your home. They will have a samples and ideas so you can select your headstone and have it designed in the comfort of your home. Please call to schedule an appointment for us to visit with you.