How Long Will a Black Granite Headstone Last?

Black granite headstones are a dignified and lasting tribute to your loved one. They can be adorned with engravings, inscriptions, and even images to truly capture the essence of your lost family member or friend.

Choosing a monument-making company that employs great etching techniques will ensure your memorial stays intact for a lifetime. This is especially important for monuments with laser-etched designs.

Geological Composition

Granite is a hard rock that has withstood the elements for centuries. It’s one of the reasons it is a primary choice for memorial art and headstones. The longevity of black granite headstones is due to a combination of factors including their geological composition, environmental resistance, and structural integrity.

Like all granite, black granite is an igneous rock. It formed when magma – basically underground lava – cooled and crystallized. The resulting rock is composed of feldspar, quartz, and mica. It is also known as a dense silicate rock with a high magnesium and iron content. The rock is usually grey or white, but some are black, particularly those that originated in the Northland region of New Zealand.

Many monument manufacturers rely on black granite quarried overseas or imported from Southern Africa. These dark-colored granites are called gabbros and differ from true granite in that they don’t contain quartz. However, they contain abundant feldspar and a high concentration of dark-colored metal oxides and silicate minerals. These gabbros are suitable for use as cemetery memorials, but it’s important to check that the quality of the granite is up to standard. The best ones have a dense, fine-grained surface that can be polished to produce a shiny black surface that will take etching well.

When choosing a monument for your loved one, consider what type of image you would like to have laser-etched into the stone’s surface. High-resolution images can be etched directly into premium-quality black granite without losing legibility or clarity. These images can include scenes, poems or writings, hobbies, and special items that were cherished by the person being remembered.

It’s also worth noting that low-grade granite is prone to chipping and degrading faster than high-grade stones. It’s also more difficult for monument makers to engrave and etch low-grade granites, so the finished result may be less than ideal. Before purchasing a piece of granite, it’s worth performing the acetone test: gently rub the surface with a rag that has been dampened with acetone. If any residue or color remains, it’s likely the stone has been doctored.

Weathering Resistance

Granite is a very durable material that can be carved into to create any type of design you want. It has a natural beauty and timeless elegance that will never go out of style. It is also very hard and abrasion-resistant, making it an excellent choice for monuments. It is also highly resistant to chemical degradation, meaning that a black granite headstone will last very long.

The environment in which the memorial is placed will also impact its longevity. Headstones located in coastal areas or regions with high levels of air pollution may need more frequent maintenance due to increased exposure to saltwater, humidity, or pollutants. However, if a granite monument is maintained and cared for regularly, it will remain intact for decades, if not centuries.

It is important to note that even though granite is a very tough material, it will still undergo some minor weathering and changes in appearance over time. This natural process is part of the aging process and helps add character to the stone. It will not affect the integrity of the headstone or cause it to break down, but it is something to keep in mind when deciding on what type of memorial to choose for your loved one.

When selecting a granite monument, you will also want to consider the type of finish that you would like. The three most popular types of finish are polished, part-polished, and honed. Polished will produce a headstone that shines like glass, part-polished will have a shiny face and base top with sanded areas, while honed will have all of the visible surfaces matte.

Another thing to remember is whether you will have the headstone laser etched or carved. It is best to choose a black granite monument that has been laser etched, as this will ensure that the text and designs will remain visible. This method of decoration will not damage the surface of the granite, and it will be easy to clean.

Structural Integrity

Granite, which is a natural igneous rock that forms from the slow crystallization of molten magma over thousands or even millions of years, has remarkable durability. This makes it an ideal material for headstones, which are often exposed to harsh environmental conditions year-round. It also has an incredibly strong resistance to weathering, making it one of the longest-lasting monument materials.

However, the longevity of a black granite headstone is not solely determined by its composition and construction but also by how it is cared for over time. Choosing high-quality granite and working with a reputable monument-making company can help your memorial last a lifetime without chipping, scratching, or losing its color or design.

The quality of a headstone’s etchings and engravings can also impact its longevity. Low-grade stone tends to degrade faster and may lose the clarity of lettering or other details over time. It’s also harder for monument makers to engrave and etch low-quality granite, so the finished product doesn’t look as good.

Choosing a memorial in a cemetery with a high-quality water supply helps ensure that your loved one’s monument will stand the test of time. The softer, less acidic water will help keep your granite memorial clean and free of damage for longer. It will also help reduce the amount of debris and dirt accumulating on the monument’s surface, which can stain or reduce the contrast between the memorial’s lettering and designs.

Structural integrity is an important concept in any human-made and natural construction. From houses to airplanes, everything needs to have structural integrity in order to operate safely and effectively. Similarly, a memorial needs to have structural integrity in order to preserve and protect the memories of your loved ones for generations to come.

A granite headstone is an enduring and beautiful way to pay tribute to your loved ones, and with proper care can last for decades or even centuries. If you’re considering a black granite headstone for your loved one, talk to the team at MMS Memorials for expert knowledge and recommendations.


Black granite headstones can last for centuries if they are properly cared for. However, the lifespan of a headstone depends on many factors, including its geological composition and environmental conditions. In addition, the way a headstone is maintained and cleaned also has an impact on its longevity. Regular cleaning using non-abrasive cleaners and soft brushes or cloths can help reduce the accumulation of dirt, moss, and other organic growth. A periodic application of a granite sealant can provide an extra layer of protection against moisture and other environmental conditions that can affect the stone’s surface.

One of the primary reasons that black granite has become a popular choice for memorials is its ability to resist fading. The dark coloration of this igneous rock helps to block out the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight that can cause other types of materials, such as marble, to discolor and deteriorate over time.

High-quality black granite is particularly durable and well-suited to laser etchings, which can be used to create a variety of images and text on the stone surface. As long as the etching is done on quality granite and sealed, it will last as long as the polished surface of the monument does without any signs of fading or weathering.

Unfortunately, many headstones become prone to blackening over time. This discoloration is caused by the cumulative effects of physical and chemical weathering, biological growth, and pollutants. Physical weathering causes small cracks and fissures in the stone, allowing moisture and contaminants to enter the stone and contribute to blackening. Chemical weathering occurs when minerals in the stone break down over time, producing dark-colored patches on the surface of the headstone.

Freeze-thaw cycles can also accelerate the process of weathering in gravestones by causing water to enter the cracks and pores of the stone, then freeze and expand when it thaws. This can damage the stone by exposing it to increased stress and pressure.

Although black granite is more resilient than other types of memorial material, choosing a high-quality stone is still important. Low-grade stones are more likely to chip and degrade, and they can be harder for monument makers to engrave or etch. High-quality black granite, on the other hand, is a durable, attractive, and affordable option that can be etched with fine details to create a beautiful and lasting memorial for your loved one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *