Gravestone tilting and sinking occurs mainly because of aging.

Cemeteries tell many stories through their layout and gravestone symbolism. They tell of military heroes, children who departed the earth too early, occupations and religious beliefs. Over time, gravestones can tilt due to improper setting or changes in the land due to weather or natural disasters. Cemeteries are responsible for initially setting a gravestone, but most do not perform upkeep insuring the stone remains in place. If you want to have a gravestone reset, ask the cemetery if they can perform this service or if you can have permission to reset the gravestone.

Remove dirt by digging a hole around the gravestone. Dig deep enough to simply remove the stone. Ask for help when removing the stone as it will be heavy. Remove the stone. Place the stone to the side out of the way.

Examine the hole. This should explain why the gravestone was tilted or sunk. Use a shovel to dig straight walls on each side of the hole to level the hole. Place a level in the bottom of the hole to level. Place dirt and sand in the hole leaving at least 4 inches of depth to replace the stone. Level the dirt and sand.

Reset the gravestone. Place it in the hole and place a level on top to ensure it is placed properly. If the gravestone is still tilted, remove the gravestone and level the bottom of the hole again. If the hole is level, fill in with the remaining dirt and sand. Pack the dirt and sand in around the gravestone to create greater stability.

Clean up the grave site. Place all debris from your work in a garbage bag and dispose of in a trash can.

Things Needed

  • ['Assistant', 'Shovel', 'Tape measure', 'Level', 'Gloves', 'Bag of sand', 'Garbage bag']


  • Gain permission from the cemetery before resetting a gravestone. If the cemetery is owned by a family or town, gain their permission before proceeding.