Rock of Ages offers the following information as a resource to guide you through your memorial purchase. Please keep in mind that a memorial created from quality granite will last for centuries. We encourage you to plan your purchase as carefully as you would that of an automobile or a home.
STEP ONE: PLANNING
Purchasing the Lot:
Each local cemetery has specific regulations about the size and type of headstone allowed. It is important that you discuss these specifications prior to buying your cemetery lot. If you are purchasing a monument to be set in a lot you already own, be certain to learn about any restrictions before purchasing the grave marker. An Authorized Rock of Ages Dealer can contact your local cemetery on your behalf to determine local requirements and restrictions. Be certain to bring your cemetery's name and address with lot location and description to your Rock of Ages Monument Dealer.
Designing and purchasing a monument before it is needed offers you and your family many advantages. First and foremost, planning for a memorial ahead of time allows you to choose a headstone that best reflects your personal tastes, spares your loved ones the burden of planning your memorial at the time of their grief and enables you to purchase the memorial at today's prices, leveraging your purchasing power and avoiding inevitable future price increases.
Chances are you would not purchase the cheapest suit, the cheapest car or the cheapest home based solely on price. You need to consider several factors in order to compare the value offered by competing memorial dealers: quality of the stone, quality of the workmanship, availability of customization, experience, dependability, customer service and warranty offered.
Each of these points deserves careful attention:
A. Quality of the Stone: granite is the most durable choice for monuments. However, not all granites are the same. Be certain to ask questions about the grade of granite being offered to you. Does it stain easily? Is it likely to crack? Will the surface be free from blemishes and flaws? Many inexpensive imported tombstones are fabricated from granite that is inherently inferior, making it subject to discoloring, checking or cracking.
B. Quality of the Workmanship: Stroll through the showrooms of the dealers from whom you are considering making a memorial purchase. Compare the luster of the polish between brands of memorials; compare the fineness of detail of flowers and lettering. Compare the depth of granite color and uniformity of the texture of the stone.
C. Availability of Customization: Is the dealer able to offer you stock memorial designs only or can that dealer offer you the personalization that you and your loved ones deserve?
D. Experience & Dependability: How long has the dealer been in business? Make inquiries among your friends, family and neighbors to determine how well respected the dealer is.
E. Customer Service: Is the dealer able to navigate the confusing waters of local cemetery regulations on your behalf? Does the dealer have the resources and relationships in place to design, fabricate and install (set) your monument?
F. Warranty: Does your dealer offer a comprehensive warranty against defects in material and workmanship? Is the dealer straightforward in answering all of your questions about quality and permanence of the memorial being purchased?
Taking time to make these comparisons and asking these penetrating questions will help you to avoid purchasing a monument that will not fulfill your expectations.
STEP TWO: DESIGNING YOUR MEMORIAL
Once you or your memorial dealer is familiar with your cemetery's regulations, and once you have examined the market and carefully chosen the best value for your money by considering quality of material, quality of craftsmanship, the integrity and reliability of the seller, the seller's reputation for providing good customer service and have determined what warranty is provided with the purchase, then you are ready to design your monument.
The memorial counselors at Authorized Rock of Ages Memorial Dealerships are uniquely positioned to assist you in this regard. Our counselors are trained to listen to your needs to assist you in creating a monument that reflects the personality of your loved one. Our memorial counselors will walk you through the process of selecting a memorial type and size, choosing the color of granite for the piece, deciding on finish details and providing you with the best designs and level of personalization available in the memorial industry today.
Upon approval of your design, you will receive a drawing or proof, which serves as the blueprint for your memorial. Be sure to pay careful attention to the spelling of all names and to all birth and death dates so that you are certain that the finished memorial will be error free. Your dealer needs your assistance during this proofing stage to assure your satisfaction.
STEP THREE: FINALIZING YOUR MEMORIAL PURCHASE
Once you and your memorial counselor have settled on a design, the color, style and size of your monument, details remain that can be addressed during the time that your new memorial is being created. Most memorials require a base upon which to rest. This base or foundation is normally made from poured concrete. Foundation requirements vary according to the size of the memorial, the climactic conditions of the location and specific regulations of your cemetery. In areas where the ground freezes, foundations cannot be set during the cold season. Discuss with your dealer the time required to make and to set your memorial so that you will have realistic expectations of its completion and installation dates. Furthermore, you will find it helpful if you purchase an inexpensive folder to hold all documentation needed, such as your loved one's death certificate, the cemetery lot deed, your memorial design and purchase contract and your memorial warranty. Having this information in one place will make the process of selecting, creating and setting (installing) your monument a much smoother one.
We hope that this information will help you in preparing to purchase your family memorial. Please visit the Authorized Rock of Ages Dealer nearest you for additional assistance.