The cost of a headstone—also known to us as a glasstone, gravestone or tombstone—can vary based on the overall design, lettering, artwork, and the colour of the glass used. Seemingly small details like the shape and finish of a headstone can raise or lower the cost significantly.
The average cost of a standard flat Plaque style glass memorial is around $1,000. But more detailed, upright headstones in glass can cost between $3,500 and $8,000. More customised individual headstones, as well as family and companion headstones, can cost as much as $10,000. The average price of a headstone including a base and all the bells and whistles, all told, is around $6,000-$7,000.
In times of grief, the last thing you should have to worry about is negotiating the price of a headstone for your loved one. Knowing how much a headstone should cost will help make sure you're getting a fair deal.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process.
Breaking Down the Cost of a Headstone
Why exactly do Glass headstones cost so much? In this section, we'll break down the cost of a headstone so you can better understand what you're paying for.
The actual Glass
The most obvious cost associated with a headstone is the glass itself. Glass may seem like a low-cost material at first glance. However, the treatment of the glass used is a method that is relatively unique to us and is all done by hand (and one man).
There are a variety of colour options available for glass
Green – Clear – Dark Green – Blue Green – Bronze – Grey and - Crystal Clear.
The colour of the glass you choose will affect the price
The shape you choose to have your headstone also plays a part in the cost factor. It is a little more expensive to shape the top or create a new shape than to opt for the standard curve top with straight sides. All glass headstones pricing includes polishing.
There are two primary stone options for headstone bases: granite and marble.
Keep in mind that Granite and Marble headstones also weather more quickly than glass headstones. Glass is more environmentally friendly and non-porous so less likely to attract gunge and mould.
In addition to the actual glass material, creating a headstone requires skilled engraving. Headstone engraving can vary in cost based on how detailed an inscription you request.
Headstone engraving costs an average of about $2.50 per letter for inscriptions of any length. It is calculated per character no matter the size. This includes the paint filling of the letters in any colour you wish.
If you order a standard headstone with your loved one's name, birth date, and death date and a short message/epitaph, the cost will average around $500-600.
Slumped glass headstones have a variety of ways to incorporate artwork.
Slumping is the most popular. This is the process of including a shape or outline in the back of the glass that can be seen almost three dimensionally through the glass. These start at $250 per image.
You are able to add engraved imagery to the outside such as butterflies, flowers, crosses and shapes that represent your lost loved one. These begin from $150 each and increase depending on the complexity and how many colours are required, They do however look very effective and add a personal touch.
Ceramic Photographs are another common addition. These start at $250 each for a 10cm x13 cm fill colour ceramic in an oval or rectangular shape and increase from there depending on your chosen size. There are many sizes and shapes available just enquire when organising your layout.
Installing a headstone is a crucial part of the process, so most cemeteries offer headstone installation services, at a cost.
If your cemetery doesn't offer the service, consider hiring a professional monument installation team. Installing a headstone yourself isn't generally recommended (although you may be permitted to do so, depending on the location).
All glass Headstones must sit in a base.
Finished headstones are heavy, and you've made a significant investment up to this point. You want to make sure that the stone sits correctly and stays in place for the long term.
The process of installing a headstone involves precisely measuring the base, digging a properly-sized hole where the headstone will sit, and often, placing a concrete base. Only medium- and large-sized headstones require concrete foundations. If you have a small flat headstone, this step isn't necessary.
The average headstone installation cost is between $150 and $450. The price will depend on the amount of work required and the size of the monument. Companion headstone installation costs an average of $300 to $600. If the stone requires a concrete foundation, that will cost extra.
We've covered the average cost of the necessary glass headstone materials and services, including creation and installation. But there are additional details to consider, which can increase the cost of a headstone.
If you want to add additional accessories like full-color ceramic images, vases, sculptures, or statues, you'll need to take price into account.
The average costs listed here are just a general starting point. Please enquire about any specific requests or crazy creative ideas.
How to Save Money on a Headstone
A headstone doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are several ways to save money on your headstone purchase.
You can get a better deal on a headstone purchase by shopping ahead of time. You might buy your glass headstone well in advance to save your family undue stress in the event of your death.
Or you and your family might pick out headstones together, getting all of the details sorted out well ahead of time. Either way, you'll be able to choose a headstone design that suits you. You can even get some of the engraving out of the way early.
If you're happy with a more minimal and simplistic headstone design, you can save a lot of money. An upright slumped glass headstone requires more finishing work, costs more to ship, and it can even require an entire concrete foundation to keep it upright.
On the other hand, a small flat or tilted glass memorial plaque can cost the bare minimum and look just as beautiful.
Regardless of what type of headstone you decide you want, start planning early. That way you’ll be able to find the best deal without putting any unnecessary stress on you or your family.