What is the average cost of a headstone: What do people pay? (2021)

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The average cost of a headstone in the United States is $1,000. This represents the cost of a simple, upright, granite headstone – including installation. Readers should know that costs can vary a lot depending on a number of factors: the kind of stone, the type of headstone, and whether you want to install any intricate designs or engravings on the stone.

The cost of a headstone, sometimes referred to as a gravestone or tombstone, also includes long-term maintenance fees. You can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $500 to get the stonework restored every 5 to 10 years, i.e., $50 per year, depending on how quickly it degrades and how well it’s taken care of. Frequent cleaning and addressing of cracks and/or fractures is sometimes taken care of by the cemetery as part of your eternal care costs.

Check out the rest of this article to see a more detailed breakdown of headstone costs.

In this article:

How much does a headstone cost?

Flat marker headstones are usually the cheapest headstones you can buy, therefore, if your goal is to minimize how much you have to pay, we recommend starting here when shopping. Typically, the more upright and larger a headstone gets, the more expensive it will become without considering material type. Here is a breakdown of the average cost of a headstone by design type:

  • Flat marker or Lawn-level Headstone: Costs between $200 and $700. Also known as grass markers, these units are the simplest headstone you can buy, and are typically flush with the ground.
  • Bevel Headstone: Costs between $850 and $1,000. Bevel headstones are similar to flat marker or lawn-level headstones, but are raised a few inches from the ground, typically around 6 inches in height, and will be slightly more noticeable in comparison.
  • Slanted Headstone: Costs $1,200 or more. These headstones are cut at an angle, making them significantly more noticeable and readable from a distance compared to flat marker and bevel headstones.
  • Upright or Monument Headstone:  Costs $2,000 or more. These are the most common type of headstone and are much more expensive compared to the other options. Upright headstones are completely vertical and have the most room for intricate engravings and personalized designs.
Different types of headstones

How much do companion headstones cost?

The above prices are quoted for individual headstones. Units for families or companions are typically marked 60% to 80% more expensive, since they require double or more the amount of stone to make.

These prices included above are for granite headstones. If you wanted to use marble or quartzite instead, expect the price to get significantly more expensive as explained in the next section.

Headstone costs by stone type: Granite versus Marble

Granite headstones are the most common and least expensive type of headstone you can buy in the United States. The prices we’ve quoted above were all granite-based. On average, marble headstones cost $1,500 or more.

While the upfront cost of marble is more expensive, so is its long term care cost. These stones weather more quickly than granite, so you’ll likely have to invest in the upkeep of these headstones if you want them looking their best.

So, why do people elect to get marble headstones? The polished appearance is generally considered to be of a higher quality than granite stones. Therefore, if you want to get something that will stand out and appear more lavish, you should go with a marble headstone.

The following article provides more detail on marble, granite and quartzite headstones.

How much does headstone engraving cost?

A typical headstone engraving order, including name, date of birth and date of death costs $500. You usually have to pay $20 per character (letter or number) on granite headstones, but if you need to get more than 30 characters engraved, the cost can come down in price to about $10 per character.

How much does headstone installation cost?

Once engraved, the stone needs to be transported to the cemetery and installed. The labor usually costs around $200. Of course, these prices will vary a lot by market. We’ve seen prices as low as $50 while in some markets, they can be as much as $300 or $400. Transporting the headstone is no trivial matter. Larger headstones can weigh as much as $1,000 and need to be handled with care – since any carelessness can lead to damage.

How much does headstone cleaning cost?

Getting a headstone cleaned costs about $100. However, if you have an old, weathered stone then you may need to pay for additional cleaning chemicals.

If the stone is in a very bad state, then cleaning may not be enough. You may need to get the stone professionally restored. In these instances, prices will greatly vary depending on the damage and who you hire, starting at around $200.

You can save money by ordering headstones from Amazon

You can order headstones online instead of going to a monument store or funeral home. While there isn’t a huge collection available, the slanted and upright headstones we did find may come at a cheaper cost depending on how long you’ve been comparison shopping. Here are a few options we found:

Frequently Asked Questions

We scoured the web in search of questions people ask when shopping for a headstone. While some of these are topics we covered above, we present these here for your convenience.

How much is the cheapest headstone?
The cheapest headstone can cost as little as $500 – this would include a granite, flat lawn-level marker, with a 30-character engraving. The most expensive headstones can end up costing families as much as $10,000 or more (on the higher end they include things like obelisks or grand family tombs and mausoleums).

What is the average cost of a headstone?
The average cost of a headstone is $1,000.

How long do you have to wait before putting a headstone on the grave?
You’ll want the ground to settle before installing a headstone, so typically people will wait at least 6 months before erecting an upright headstone. Again, this will vary depending on the headstone size as well as the soil you’re dealing with.

Can you make payments on a headstone?
Yes, depending on where you buy your tombstone, some places will offer payment plans. That means you can effectively get a loan and pay down the cost of a tombstone over time (with interest).

Can I install the headstone or monument myself?
Sometimes, families try to save on the cost of a burial by installing the headstone themselves. However, many cemeteries only allow licensed monument installers to perform this task.