By Marjenee Shinholster
April 17th, 2020
In times where a loved one has passed, the last thing we want to think about is the dexterity of the their marker. It’s important to know how to keep them intact to honor those no longer with us.
It’s natural for us to want our loved ones remembered for generations to come. A bronze marker is one of the best ways to do that. So how long do they last?
Ethan Darby of Trigard Memorials states “in the right conditions, a grave marker will virtually last forever. There are elements in cemeteries that can cause a bronze memorial to degrade quickly. There are also many ways to combat those elements.”
Signs It’s Beginning to Degrade
The first clear sign of the corrosion process is a greenish film on the bronze. This film is also known as patina, bronze’s natural reaction to the elements.
The three elements that cause this erosion is oxygen, chloride (salt), and water. Though all can be toxic to Bronze, Chloride is the main element that does the most damage. With all elements combined, the process is quickly accelerated.
“All three of these elements are present in any natural environment. Preventing them from contacting the marker is nearly impossible, but there are some ways to prevent or limit this chemical reaction” says Darby.
Create a Barrier Between Elements and the Raw Bronze
Bronze manufacturers take pride in their strong clear coats as the most effective way to battle the corrosion process. Once the marker is finished, it is then topped with a special clear coat sprayed on. Some companies even warranty their clear coats up to 5 years, ensuring complete coverage.
Darby also believes it is best to ask about “durability, warranties and guarantees before ordering bronze markers.”
Choose Your Location Wisely
If you have already looked at potential spaces for your loved one, see if the other markers around have begun to patina or corrode. If so, there is a good chance of a high presence of one or more elements in the area.
There may be a sprinkler system set up in the cemetery’s garden, or maybe it rains a lot in the city you’ve chosen. Particular things dealing with water or chloride in the area can cause markers to weather more quickly.
If water or salt are present on markers for too long, the element breaks down the clear coat as well as the bronze. Darby went on to state “we recommend cleaning your marker every 3-6 months to remove unwanted elements from the surface.”
It is still important to keep in mind that there is only so much you can do to prevent the exposure of these elements on your markers, as these elements are present in the nature around us. There is still hope however, as long as your marker is not too corroded, you can have it refinished to bring it back to life and it’s former glory!
If you are interested or have any questions on Bronze Markers, please give us a call at 770-482-6546 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.