5 things you should know before you choose a monument.

Step 4.
Selecting a finish for your monument.

After you’ve chosen the style, size and material of a monument, it’s time to choose its finish. Among traditional headstones, these are the four most common finishes used today:

  • Polished. Smooth, glass-like appearance.
  • Steeled / Frosted. Smooth, but non-polished. Appearance is achieved by sandblasting a Polished with textured steel shot.
  • Sawn. Semi-smooth finish, achieved after being cut with a wire or diamond saw blade.
  • Rock Pitch. Rough, rugged-like rock finish.

Specialty finishes.

In some situations, a monument may warrant the use of a specialty finish. Patten Monument offers three types of specialty finishes, with capabilities for more depending on the circumstances. Our four specialty finishes include:

  • Axed. Lighter and brighter than a traditional frosted finish. Achieved by chiseling. Most commonly used when crafting Square Raised Lettering and/or Bias Relief Sculpturing.
  • Honed. Smooth, semi-polished. Made by partially removing polish with dust. Used when creating scenes and custom designs, especially when a third color is needed to add more depth. Typically decided on by the monument artist.
  • Shell Rock. Most often used to picture frame the face of the memorial.

There are other specialty finishes, but are much less common. They are achieved through flaming, sandblasting through screens, and the use of various types of highly specialized chiseling tools. Such finishes are rarely used, and only in specific situations. They should only be considered when suggested by your memorialist.

Specialty details for bases.

The granite base under a Tablet or Slant style monument comes default with polish on the top surface, and rock pitching (rough) on the four sides. Modifications can be made to alter the appearance of the base, most include polishing additional portions. The two most common specialty details include a polished margin, and a polished bevel front. A polished margin creates a band of polish on the sides of the stone on the top 2″. This creates a more formal look to the base and can allow for a line of text to be added. A polished bevel front is another great way to add to the appearance of the stone. this method would polish the majority of the front side of the base on a slight angle. This method allows for an additional large lettering surface on the stone.

How standard monument styles are finished.

  • Flush markers. Polished top, sides are finished via Rock Pitch or Sawed.
  • Bevel style. Standard finish, including polished beveled top and Rock Pitch sides.
  • Slant style and Slants on Base. Polished face, standard sawed back and balanced Rock Pitch. Note: Slants typically come with a sawed finish on their back not shown here.
  • Monument standard finish. Polished Two Tablet, front and back. Polished Three Tablet, front, back, and top. Polished Five Tablet , all sides polished. Standard bases are polished flat top with the balance of Rock Pitch (rough).
  • Optional moldings and cuts that can be polished, steeled or sawn.


Go to Step 5: Design

Better Business Bureau
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Funeral Directors Association
Indiana Funeral Director's Association
Monument Builders of North America