Can You Make Additions to an Existing Headstone?

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From time to time, families may decide they need to add something to an existing headstone. This can range from putting another deceased person’s name on the headstone if they’re buried nearby to adding a quote or image.

Yes, you can make additions to an existing headstone – but it isn’t a quick process.

At Merkle Monuments, we can make additions to existing headstones – in good condition – even if we did not provide the original headstone.


What’s Needed to Make an Addition?

In order to make an addition to a memorial marker more quickly, we need to know who created the original headstone. 

If we made the headstone, we can often access our design files and let you know quickly if there’s room on the memorial to make the additions you’re requesting. If we did not make the headstone, we try contacting the company that did to get their design files for this purpose.

While knowing who designed the original grave marker is helpful and can speed up the process, it isn’t absolutely necessary that we know this information.

If we cannot access the stone’s original design or you don’t know who made it, we do need a recent photo of the headstone. This photo allows us to see whether there’s room for the design you’ve requested.

Additionally, we will need to know the name of the cemetery where the stone is located, the location of the stone in the cemetery, and a picture and description of what you want added to the memorial.

Once we have this information, and after we’ve taken a rubbing of the stone, our designers get to work drawing a mock-up of the headstone with the additions. We do this so you know exactly what you’re getting with the addition, and we can work through any changes that need to be made before the stone is altered.

You also will be given a cost estimate and general timetable for completion of your addition.


How Long Do Headstone Additions Take?

Making an addition to a headstone depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • How quickly we settle on an agreed-upon design and you provide payment.
  • Whether your addition is something easy such as adding a death date or more complicated such as an image or large quote.
  • How long it takes us to receive approval for the changes, both from the family and the cemetery.
  • Whether other factors, including weather conditions, changes at the cemetery, and our staffing levels.


Do You Make Additions at the Cemetery?

In most cases, additions to existing headstones are made at the cemetery. This helps avoid any damage to the stone that may happen in transit.

However, some more complex additions may require us to take the stone back to our workshop, make the addition, and bring it back to the cemetery.

For older headstones that have some fading or minor damage, we also offer repair and cleaning services to revitalize the headstone and get it in its best shape for the addition.


Do You Need Approvals to Make an Addition?

Before we can make an addition to a headstone, we need approval from two parties:

The responsible party – This can be the family member paying for the stone alterations, or a funeral director. This person approves the design of the memorial including correct spellings and dates, as well as paying for the changes.

The cemetery – Some cemeteries require notification that an addition is being made to a headstone. In some cases, this notification requires actual approval of what’s being added.


How Much Does a Headstone Addition Cost?

The amount of money you will pay for your headstone addition will depend on a variety of factors. These include:

  • The type of lettering style and finish
  • Amount and size of the addition
  • The complexity of the design
  • Whether the stone needs cleaning or repair first

Our team of experienced designers can give you an accurate quote on how much your addition will cost after even a short telephone conversation.


Headstone Additions in Maryland

For more than 85 years, Merkle Monuments has provided high-quality headstones, memorial markers, urns, and more to families throughout Maryland. Whether you need a brand new grave marker or want to make an addition to an existing stone, our team can help. Call today for a quote!