Pouring a foundation for a headstone is as simple as forming a slab of concrete. But if you want the foundation to last for a long time, there are other things that you can do to make the foundation stronger so it will last longer. A strong foundation will not begin to crack and crumble in the next few decades. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of variations in headstone shape, material make-up and size. Customize the size and depth of the headstone foundation based on these factors.
Build a wooden frame to form the concrete. The internal frame dimension should be 12 inches wider and longer than the finished size of the headstone. Use 2x4 lumber to build the frame and use screws to fasten the wood together securely. Use an electric drill to install the screws.
Dig a hold in the ground with a round nose shovel where the headstone will be placed that is roughly 24 inches deep and 6 inches smaller than the wooden frame widthwise and lengthwise. Pour two bags of gravel in the bottom of the hole and pack the gravel down with a hand tamper.
Pour two 80-pound bags of concrete mix into a wheelbarrow, add water and mix the concrete up well with a shovel. Pour the mixed concrete into the hole and lay three to four pieces of rebar over the wet concrete. Add two bags of concrete at a time and three to four pieces of rebar per two bags of concrete until the hole is filled.
Lay the frame over the ground so the hole sits in the center of the frame opening. Pound one piece of rebar into the ground on the outside of the frame to keep the frame in place while the concrete cures. Mix enough concrete to fill the frame opening to the top.
Use a long piece of 2x4 lumber to level the concrete off and use concrete finishing tools to smooth and finish the surface of the concrete. Allow the concrete to cure for 24 hours before removing the wood frame and let the concrete cure for at least seven days before mounting the headstone to the concrete foundation.
Items you will need
Round nose shovel
Bagged pea gravel
Large, heavy foundations will require a deeper, larger foundation with extra reinforcements.
- Jewish grave image by Peestka from Fotolia.com