Sunday, July 26, 2015

Repairing Fallen Stones

When visiting Ozark cemeteries, I occasionally come across large old tombstones that have been broken at the base and fractured a few times. These stones are sometimes the only visage of our past. Deterioration of these stones are further compounded by three agents.

1st. Lawnmowers & weed-eaters: Every time a lawnmower runs over the top of  a stone, the stone's integrity is compromised.
D / 2
2nd. Chemicals: Weedkiller or any substance to clean or whiten the stone, such as: Bleach, Vinegar, Ajax, Comet, Muriatic Acid, Lime Away, Bon Ami or Bar Keeper's Friend. These detergents have salts & chemicals that will breakdown and degenerate the stone prematurely. Keep in mind, it will also erode the engraving etched in the stone. The only recommended cleaner that will not harm a stone is called D2. You can order it by clicking on the D/2 bottle.

3rd: Wicking: One unseen problem that causes these stones to further fracture is due to the stone being porous. Therefore, the small spaces or holes in the stone adsorbs the rain or draws up moisture form the ground. This process is called "wicking." The problem is in the winter time, as the temperature drops below freezing, and the stones will freeze and crack.

I've had people ask me quite a few times if there is a way to mend these fractured tablet stones back together inexpensively.

Inexpensively?   No.

But, there is a simple & inexpensive method to ensure the stones will endure longer by eliminating the wicking process. I learned this method two years ago from Rusty who owns the Texas Cemetery Restoration.
                                                                                             Check out their Facebook page.

First, gently remove the stone sections.

Next, add a layer of pea gravel of 2 - 3 inches in the imprint of the ground. Also, excess dirt and debris may need to be removed. Level out bed of gravel and replace stone fragments.

Finished stone in 15 minutes.

Another quick fix in 15 minutes.

Enjoy your Ozarks' History.