Rock of Ages Blog

Standing Tall: Why Quality Mausoleum Columns Matter

Posted by Amanda Pittsley

Building an above ground granite mausoleum with columns

Building a granite mausoleum is a major investment both financially and in terms of the legacy you leave behind. This stone structure that holds you and/or your loved ones' remains is meant to withstand the test of time and reflect who you and your family were after leaving this earth, so it's important to know that it's built with quality control in mind, down to every detail. 

When planning your mausoleum, look for a supplier that is both a designer and fabricator of mausoleums, meaning they can take your project from concept to design through to construction and installation. Rock of Ages is here to help you understand what differentiates a high-quality column from one that is inferior, so that you can have peace of mind knowing what you leave behind has the longevity you expect.


Stone private family walk in mausoleum design

BLUE GRAY™ granite mausoleum


What Are Columns?

Columns represent a majestic strength and can be a pleasing detail for your mausoleum. A column not only adds aesthetic value to your family mausoleum design, but it is also functional in terms of being load-bearing — transmitting the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below through compression.

Columns are typically round. A similar square shape is called a pier. The capital is the top of the column and can feature sculptural decorative details. The base is the lower portion of the column.

Column's sculptural decorative details on an open air family mausoleum

BLUE GRAY™ granite mausoleum with columns


Capital of Corinthian mausoleum column sculpted with decorative details

The capital at the top of a Corinthian column


Granite open air mausoleum with Ionic columns and piers

Open air mausoleum incorporating both Ionic columns and piers


What Determines the Quality of a Mausoleum Column?

A well-made column is fabricated from a single piece of solid stone. This helps ensure quality in its strength and uncompromising appearance. Many mausoleum builders will create columns from individual pieces (base, shaft, and capital) in order to reduce stone consumption, turning time, and production costs. However, multi-piece columns create joints that can break down over time and have inconsistencies in coloring, which can be unsightly. Dimensional inaccuracies of proportions also cause them to look slightly off kilter.

Rock of Ages columns are fabricated from a single solid piece of stone to ensure the highest quality standards, and a full perpetual warranty backs every column. Rock of Ages granites and marbles from the U.S., Canada, and abroad exceed the industry’s most stringent criteria, the majority coming from quarries the company owns and operates. Every block is carefully inspected, and only the best are given the seal of approval. When you purchase from an exclusive Rock of Ages Authorized Dealer, you can rest assured that you are buying direct from the source.


How Are Columns Made?

At Rock of Ages, columns are made by dimension sawing a large block of granite into a rectangle slab, developing a proportionally correct pattern to the architectural style selected. The column is turned on a machine tool called a lathe to create the appropriate symmetry. The polished or matte finish is applied, and any carving details are added. 

Depending on the size and carving details, a column can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete.

From quarry to completion, watch as a personal Rock of Ages mausoleum is designed and assembled.




How Do Columns Impact Mausoleum Prices?

Whether walk-in, interior loading or push-in, exterior loading, choosing to incorporate columns into the design will increase the price of your mausoleum. Keep in mind, the number of columns, style, granite type, finish, and option to flute will all impact cost.

By substituting an engaged column or half column, the number of full columns required is halved (a half column is simply a full column cut in half).

Affordable pricing of granite mausoleum with columns

This will reduce the mausoleum’s cost, while still adding aesthetic value. They can also help reduce a private mausoleum's footprint to adhere to the cemetery lot's limitations. 

The Rock of Ages team can help you evaluate your project needs and provide you with prices.




Column Styles

Different column styles for memorials and mausoleums and pricing factors



Corinthian columns are slender columns with a flared, bell-shaped capital, carved with acanthus leaves.

Decorative detailing of Corinthian columns constructed from Blue Gray granite from Rock of Ages



Ionic columns are slender columns with a molded base. The capital is typically spiral or scroll-shaped.

Small Ionic columns on private family mausoleum are spiral and scroll shaped



Doric columns come in two styles: Grecian and Roman. Grecian columns are tapered, fluted columns that rise directly from the base with plain capitals. Roman columns are also fluted and crowned by plain capitals, but have a base. 

Grecian and Roman Doric style columns sculpted into mausoleum design



Composite columns are a combination of the Ionic and Corinthian styles with decorative capitals.

Composite columns on private family mausoleum in cemetery



Tuscan columns are smooth with little ornamentation.

Mausoleum with simple smooth Tuscan columns



Egyptian columns have polygon-shaped shafts meant to resemble a tree or bundled plant stems with bell-shaped capitals.

Egyptian Columns resemble elements of nature such as trees or plants and are incorporated into the family's mausoleum design


Download the Mausoleum Inspiration Guide for a gallery of buildings of all styles and scale, examples of custom features, and an array of granites and marbles available to you.

When you are comparison shopping for a granite mausoleum and know that you would like columns to be part of your design, be sure to look into how the mausoleum is constructed and where the stone is sourced. With Rock of Ages, you'll get an American-made product that is created with the highest quality standards. 

Don't settle for anything less to represent your family for generations to come.

Learn how to evaluate the quality of granite mausoleums. Get the comparison shopping checklist. Download it here.

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Topics: Mausoleum Design, People of Rock of Ages, Granite Columns

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