Whether you are in the research phase of funeral planning or surprised by the dollar figure when your Maple Shade, NJ funeral home, handed you the price list. Many people have questions about burial vaults.
Below, we answer five of the common ones.
How Does Burial Vaults Work?
A burial vault is a rectangular container that houses a coffin in a designated burial ground. It is native to cemeteries, but you can also use it for home burials.
Handypersons dig a coffin-shaped hole and install the vault in the ground in readiness for the committal service.
After the coffin is lowered into the vault and attendees fill the grave with dirt, cemetery staff lower the lid onto the main vault and seal it.
Finally, they return the dirt removed from the ground for the vault and coffin to cover the grave.
What is a Burial Vault Made Of?
When vaults first came to be, they were made from wood and stacked bricks. However, technology has since advanced, and our understanding of materials has improved.
Today, several sturdy materials are used to construct vaults. As such, specifics depend on the manufacturer.
The most common material is concrete, made using the pre-cast process and reinforced with wire mesh and rebar. Other possible materials include plastic and metals like stainless steel, bronze, and copper.
How Long Does It Last?
Burial vaults are supposed to last. That’s why manufacturers commonly use sturdy materials and are confident enough to offer lifetime warranties.
Whatever the material, they are designed to have a minimum strength of 5,000 psi. Hence, even the cheapest burial vaults can last a few decades, and reinforced concrete vaults can last 50 to 100 years.
Metal-based vaults like bronze last even longer, up to a couple of centuries.
Why Use a Burial Vault?
Cemeteries, and by extension, your funeral home, require a burial vault to protect the casket from surrounding earth and heavy maintenance equipment.
They keep the cemetery ground intact and prevent collapse from external pressure from backhoes and visitors.
A burial vault also shields the grave from natural elements like water seeping into the casket and causing rapid decay.
But this wasn’t the initial reason we use burial vaults. Burial vaults were invented to protect graves from grave robbers. The structural benefits to the casket and the surrounding soil were a side effect that later became the primary purpose.
Are Burial Vaults Necessary?
With the average burial vault costing between $900 and $2500, it is a good question. They are only necessary to the extent you want to bury the casket in a standard cemetery.
Federal or state law doesn’t require them. If you would rather avoid the expense, you can choose a green cemetery.
In a green cemetery, bodies are buried and decomposed naturally without a coffin or vault. Cremation is also an option, and you can keep the remains in an urn in your home or scatter them in a meaningful place.
We hope you’re satisfied with these answers. Please, let us know if you have additional questions. Also, feel free to reach out to our Maple Shade, NJ, funeral home if you want affordable burial arrangements for your loved one. Call us today or visit our location for an in-person appointment services.