How Long Do Bronze Grave Markers Last?
When faced with the decision of choosing a grave marker for you or your loved one, many factors come into play like size and quality, but longevity may be the most important factor of them all.
The desire to be remembered for generations to come is shared by many of us, so how long does a bronze grave marker last?
The answer depends on a lot of different variables, but 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, but there are also many ways to combat those elements.
How Do I Know When Bronze is Beginning to Degrade and Break Down?
The presence of a turquoise or greenish film on the bronze is a clear sign the bronze has begun the corrosion process. This coating is often referred to as patina, which is bronze’s natural reaction to being exposed to elements.
What Causes a Bronze Memorial to Corrode and Break Down?
There are three elements that cause bronze to patina:
- Chloride (Salt)
Chloride is the main element that creates the chemical reaction with bronze, but when all three of the above elements are combined, the reaction is quickly accelerated. Removing any of the three elements can drastically slow down the corrosion.
All three of these elements are present in any natural environment, so preventing them from contacting the marker is nearly impossible, but there are some ways to prevent or limit this chemical reaction:
Create a Barrier Between Elements and the Raw Bronze
Bronze marker manufacturers take great pride in their clear coat. This protective coating is sprayed onto the marker once it has been finished. This clear coat is the most effective way to prevent raw bronze from being exposed to elements.
Trigard Memorials uses an extremely durable powder clear coat that ensures total coverage while providing a dense barrier. Trigard also warranties their clear coat for 5 years.
Before ordering a bronze marker, be sure to ask about durability, warranties, and guarantees.
Choose your Location Wisely
If you have the option to choose where your grave marker will be placed, be sure to check other markers in the area. If the other markers around your potential grave space have begun to patina or corrode, there is a good chance that there is a high presence of one of the elements listed above in that area.
Sometimes a sprinkler system with harsh water or a nearby natural spring can cause markers in a particular area to weather more quickly.
Limit the Amount of Time Elements are in Contact with your Marker
If water or salt are present on the surface of a grave marker for too long, they will begin breaking down the clear coat and the bronze.
We recommend cleaning your marker every 3-6 months to remove unwanted elements from the surface.
If you’re wondering the best way to clean your marker, please see our blog post here: How to Clean Your Bronze Grave Marker
Please keep in mind that there is only so much you can do to prevent exposing your grave marker to elements that are present in nature. The good thing is, as long as your marker is not too badly corroded, you can have it refinished by a manufacturer, and they will bring it back to life!