A Guide to Buying Flat Headstones for Remembering Loved Ones

The death of a loved one can be difficult to deal with. However, it also presents an opportunity to remember and honor the life that was. This is where headstones can be helpful.

There is a wide variety of headstones you can pick from. If you are on the lookout for the most economical option, you should consider flat headstones. Keep reading for more info.

Flat Headstone: What is it?

A flat headstone or grave marker, as the name suggests, is flat. It can be set flush on the surface of the ground at a few inches height above it. Typically, flat grave markers are rectangular and they feature either bronze or granite make. However, you can customize them according to your preferences as well.

Granite or Bronze: Which Material Should You Choose?

Both granite and bronze offer certain unique benefits. Before you buy a flat grave marker, you should be aware of them. Let’s take a look at the advantages of granite flat grave markers:

  • Variety of colors: Every granite flat grave marker comes with its distinct color and design. Quite simply, no two granite flat grave markers are the same. So, if you want a wide variety of colors to pick from, granite is undoubtedly the better material.
  • Durability: Compared to materials such as marble, sandstone, and slate, granite is much more durable. A granite flat grave marker offers resistance against staining and shattering.
  • Engraving and etching versatility: When it comes to personalized engravings and etchings, there is no material that is as versatile as granite. Laser etching and sandblasting are among the most popular techniques for carving inscriptions on granite flat grave markers.

Now that you know the pros of granite, it’s time to look at the positives of bronze variants:

  • Low maintenance: Bronze offers excellent corrosion resistance. Bronze grave markers also feature protective layers that prevent oxidation. Regular cleaning using distilled water, non-ionic soap, and a soft cloth should ensure the longevity of a bronze grave marker.
  • Long-lasting: Environmental exposure has little to no effect on the quality of bronze grave markers. They are as durable as granite variants.
  • Customizability: You can customize bronze grave markers through removable scrolls or plates. This makes bronze one of the best materials for adding decorations, anecdotes, and inscriptions.

What Makes a Flat Headstone Better than an Upright Monument?

Upright monuments are also popular, but they have certain drawbacks compared to flat grave markers. For starters, upright monuments tend to be more expensive as their installation is dependent on bases or foundations. Flat grave markers do not need any foundations as their placement is flush above the surface of the ground.

Flat grave markers also offer more compactness than upright monuments. Typically, upright monuments feature more space than flat grave markers. While some may consider this to be an advantage, for most, this results in the need for big and detailed engravings. This aspect adds to the overall expenses associated with upright monuments.

Flat Headstone Sizes and Costs

The following flat headstone sizes (in inches) are among the most popular:

  • 24 by 12 (Single)
  • 28 by 16 (Single)
  • 18 by 24 (Single)
  • 36 by 18 (Companion)
  • 48 by 14 (Companion)

Companion markers tend to be more expensive than single markers owing to their greater sizes. Marker material and engravings also dictate prices.

Flat single granite headstone prices tend to start at around $100 and can go up to $800 with engravings and etchings. For companion markers, expect to spend at least $700.

Before comparing costs across multiple sellers, it is important to keep the following pointers in mind:

  • High initial costs: If a headstone company is quoting a high initial cost for a flat headstone, it typically means that services such as shipping and engraving are included. On the other hand, a low initial cost does not tend to be inclusive of these services.
  • 3D images: Nowadays, you can opt for bronze headstones with 3D images as well. However, expect to spend upwards of US$ 2,500 for these markers.
  • Cemetery rules: Different cemeteries have size restrictions. So, before you plan on purchasing a particular size of the headstone, make sure that it adheres to cemetery regulations.

The Installation and Maintenance Process

Here is a simple, step-by-step breakdown of the flat headstone installation and maintenance process:

  • Mark the headstone outline depending on where you want to place the headstone in the cemetery
  • Dig area according to headstone thickness
  • Position the headstone
  • Maintain headstone through regular cleaning


If your budget is on the lower side but you still want to honor the ones you loved and lost, flat grave markers are perfect. Despite the fact that they are more economical compared to upright monuments, you cannot doubt their quality. Ultimately, a flat headstone can help you to adorn your friend or family member’s gravesite.

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