How Are Headstones Attached to the Base?

When a loved one passes away, family members often face the daunting task of buying and installing headstones. This can be a stressful and confusing time for many.

It is important to remember that a headstone must be properly installed and maintained to keep it safe for years to come. This guide will show you selecting a grave marker and caring for it after installation.

Ground anchors

Headstones are one of the most important parts of a cemetery and mark the final resting place of your loved ones. When a family decides to memorialize their loved one, they can choose from a wide range of headstone types and styles.

There are two main methods of fixing headstones to the ground. The Monolith Method is where the headstone is fixed directly to the ground without a base, while the Dowel or Ground Anchor Fixing Method uses stainless steel dowels to connect the headstone to a concrete base that is then drilled into the ground and bolted in place.

The ground anchor method is more popular in the UK, particularly in sandy cemeteries and churchyards where the soil is loose. It allows headstones to be buried by more than a third of their length below the surface of the ground and also increases the stability of the monument.

However, it is a relatively expensive way of fixing headstones to the ground and can often look unsightly as the dowels can tamper with the stone. This is why some people prefer the Monolith Method, which complies with most cemetery regulations in the UK and is cheaper than the dowel method.

In addition, the ground anchor method is a relatively simple way of fixing headstones and can be done quickly by a competent mason. It is, however, a less reliable method and can be difficult to fix if the headstone begins to lean.

To illustrate this point, Anton Matthews, the owner of the Memorial Stone Centre in Bognor Regis, tested his own Stone-Safe system against a NAMM-approved ground anchor using the same conditions that are required by BS 8415 to be met when memorial fixing systems are tested. Under these circumstances, the Stone-Safe system hardly moved at 150kg load while the NAMM-approved system was able to resist only 63kg.

As a result of the results, Anton is calling for NAMM to change its test procedures. He is pushing for the British Standard to require tests to be carried out in pits dug for the purpose and filled with medium coarse sand so that the conditions are consistent and repeatable.


When it comes to a headstone, one of the most common ways to attach it to the base is with dowels. These are small, circular pieces of wood, metal, or plastic that can be inserted into drilled holes to join two sections of wood together.

Dowels are typically stronger than nails or screws and can be used for a wide variety of applications. They are available in several different diameters and lengths depending on what they are being used for.

They are also much cheaper than screws and can be applied to any kind of wood, including the hardier types such as pine or cedar. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are available in different colors to help you choose which type is right for your project.

Another reason to use dowels is for safety reasons. You don’t want the head of a nail or screw to pierce through the wood and cause an injury to someone, especially a child.

Alternatively, you may have a specific style of headstone that you want to use. In this case, you’ll need to find a monument company to make it for you.

Dowels are a popular choice for a tombstone because they can be shaped into almost any form you can imagine. They are also a great way to add realism and give your memorial a unique, personalized look.

However, you should be careful when using dowels to attach a headstone because they can easily break. You should also be sure to properly set the dowel before gluing it to the wood.

The dowel should be positioned so that the head of the dowel is flush with the surface of the wood. This can help create a durable bond and prevent it from falling apart over time.

In addition, the dowel should be centered over the hole that will hold the tombstone. This will ensure it is seated correctly and won’t move around once the piece is placed on the ground.


A concrete base is one of the most common ways to attach a headstone to the ground. It is a simple, inexpensive solution that can be used with many different types of headstones and is a great way to keep them looking their best for decades.

You may need to set your headstone on a concrete foundation for several reasons, but the most obvious reason is that it can make it sturdier. This is especially important for medium-sized and larger headstones, which may require pouring a concrete foundation.

Another reason you might need to pour a concrete foundation is because headstones can lean and sink due to water in the soil or other factors. You can prevent this by making sure that the foundation is strong enough to withstand such movements.

Once you’ve poured a concrete foundation, the next step is to build a wooden frame around it. This frame should be about 12 inches wider than the finished size of the headstone and longer than the base width. You’ll also need to add screws to fasten the frame together.

When you’re ready to set the headstone, you’ll need to dig a hole in the ground about 24 inches deep and six inches smaller than the size of the frame. You’ll also need to pour two bags of gravel into the hole.

This will help the concrete bond to the ground and ensure that it’s stable. It’s also a good idea to place weights on the headstone before you set it in the hole.

If you plan to put your headstone on a concrete foundation, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully is important. You should use only enough concrete to fill the hole, not so much that the concrete oozes out of the sides.

You should also ensure that the cement you’re using is high quality. If you’re using low-quality concrete, it will crack and crumble over time.

If you want to make your own headstone, use a homemade mold or concrete stamp to create the shape you need. You can also get creative and add a variety of embellishments to the headstone, including letters, flowers, or other natural articles like leaves or twigs.


Headstones are a very common type of memorial. They can be made from just about any material and are often shaped to represent the deceased. This makes them a great choice for people who want a personalized tribute to their loved ones.

They can also be designed with a variety of different symbols and designs, including floral arrangements, statues, and inscriptions. This gives you a personalized stone that reflects your loved one’s personality.

The first step is to determine which type of material you want your headstone to be made from. You can choose from a wide variety of options, including granite, marble, bronze, sandstone, and even iron.

Choosing the right material for your gravestone is very important, as it will affect its longevity and appearance. Some materials, such as limestone and sandstone, are soft and easy to carve, while others, such as marble, can be harder and more durable.

You should also consider how the stone will weather over time. Some rock types, such as slate, can deteriorate more quickly than others. In addition, the temperature and humidity of the area around a stone will greatly impact its lifespan.

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate material, it’s time to figure out how to attach it to the base. You can use a dowel, a metal pin that holds two pieces of stone together.

Another option is to use a metal bracket, a screw that fits into a hole. This is an especially effective option if your headstone is very large and will need to be lifted.

Finally, you can use steel bars to help hold your stone in place. These can be installed through holes in the ground and then secured to the base using metal twist ties.

A headstone is a special way to remember your loved one; choosing the right one can be difficult. But with a little patience, you’ll be able to find the perfect one for you and your loved ones.

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