Years ago, people buried their loved ones in shallow graves. They used nothing to protect the casket. This made it easy for thieves to dig up their graves and steal any valuables they could find.
These days, an outer burial container, or “burial vault,” is used to protect the casket in ground.
But what is a vault?
In this guide, we’ll dig into each of the below questions:
- What are burial vaults, and why are they needed?
- What is the difference between grave liners and burial vaults?
- What do most burial vaults cost?
Let’s get started.
Burial Vaults 101
A burial vault is a concrete container that protects a casket from outside elements. These include water and the downward soil pressure caused by maintenance equipment.
A burial vault protects a casket from the pressure, weight, and moisture of the ground around them.
Casket vault prevents the ground eventually collapsing on the casket itself.
Burial Vaults Vs. Grave Liners
So, how long does a casket last in the ground? It depends on the containers used for its protection.
Like burial vaults, grave liners are outer burial containers intended to protect the casket and the cemetery ground above it. However, they are certainly not the same.
The image below should help you compare the two.
Buying A Burial Vault
Where Can I Purchase A Burial Vault?
If you have a funeral service, your local funeral home will likely have burial vaults for purchase.
When purchasing from a funeral provider, don’t forget your rights under the Funeral Rule (a Federal law designed to protect grieving consumers from unscrupulous business practices from funeral providers). You should receive a General Price List from the funeral home director before discussing specific products or services.
You can also check with your local cemeteries to see if they are available on site.
If this is not possible, there are online retailers of burial vaults, but you’ll pay a hefty fee for shipping, especially if you need it rush delivered.
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Burial Vault?
When purchasing a vault for caskets, it’s essential to get the right one for your needs. If your plot is large, it might be wise to buy more than just one burial vault because they are heavy and will need more support from each other.
It’s also important to remember that most of these vaults have a lifespan of 50 years before needing replacement or repair.
Finally, be sure to check with your local cemetery, as cemetery requirements can vary. Most cemeteries require that a burial vault completely fits inside the grave. Local laws may also govern this, so don’t forget to check those (or ask local funeral homes, as they should be familiar with local requirements).
What Should I Do If I’m Not Sure What Size To Get?
If you’re unsure of the appropriate size, consider buying one larger than required and cut it down.
This can be done by using a concrete saw or handsaw. If your burial vault is too big for the plot, fill any excess space with dirt.
What Type Of Vault Should I Get?
There are several types of burial vaults. You’ll want to install a concrete vault for casket if you’re installing it into hard ground. Steel ones are typically better for softer ground, as they flex and accommodate more weight.
Steel burial vaults can be cheaper than concrete ones, but they won’t last as long. They also come with heavier shipping and handling fees because of their weight.
How Much Does A Burial Vault Cost?
What is the average cost of burial vaults? This depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The material type
- Whether the container is single- or double-reinforced
- Whether your casket is over-sized
- Your geographic location
For a basic funeral vault reinforced with plastic or steel, you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000.
Vault pricing varies a lot.
For a double-reinforced version made of heavy concrete and lined with plastic, porcelain enamel, or metal (aluminum, bronze, copper, or stainless steel vaults), your vault prices can be anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000.
How much does a vault cost if you want a premium vault? Outer burial containers made of metal or vaults with a marble or granite exterior can cost between $5,000 and $16,000.
Outer burial containers are not sold directly to the public, so you will have to purchase your vault from a funeral home or cemetery.
Other burial costs include the opening and closing of the grave, the plot itself, the casket, and the headstone (or grave marker). These costs can add up significantly, and this does not even include the memorial service cost, the fee you will pay to the funeral home for their services and rental of their location or any other fee.
Burial Vault FAQs
What Is A Burial Vault Made Of?
A burial vault is a sturdy container that protects the casket in the ground. Vaults are made of concrete, steel, or reinforced fiberglass. Vaults are meant to prevent water seepage, gas (decomposition byproducts) seepage, and other issues that could cause the ground over the grave to sink.
Why Are Burial Vaults Needed?
Burial vaults are recommended to anyone who wants to protect their loved one’s grave from sinking or other issues that could cause problems in future years. Note that “burial” vaults can also be used to protect cremation urns (vase-like containers that hold a person’s cremated remains.
What Are Outer Burial Containers?
Outer burial containers, also known as burial vaults or casket liners, are often made from metal and can be found at your local hardware store. They will not last as long but come with a smaller price tag.
How Much Do Burial Vaults Weight?
Burial vaults can be any size, but they are typically six feet long and two to three feet wide. Burial vaults are typically heavy-duty and will range in weight depending on how durable they are. A typical burial vault for a family plot could weigh anywhere from 800 pounds to 1,000-1,500 pounds.
How Long Do Burial Vaults Last?
Burial vaults are typically built to last a lifetime, but the metal ones will rust over time. The concrete vaults for burial can crack due to pressure, so that the container won’t be as strong. Burial vaults have a lifespan of about fifty years.
How Much Does a Mausoleum Cost?
Mausoleums are extremely expensive. A price of a private, single-person mausoleum can exceed $35,000. An eight-person version would set you back anywhere between $300,000-$600,000. It comes as no surprise that some more extravagant versions can cost well over $1,000,000.
It clearly isn’t cheap to die these days. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, average funeral costs in the U.S. are now over $10,000.
Thinking about funeral planning in advance is a fantastic way to save money and reduce stress.
If you have any additional questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email.
The GetSure Team
- Webster, Robert D. Field Notes From a Funeral Director
- Trigard. Are Burial Vaults Required? Why Place a Casket in a Vault?
- Trigard. Burial Vaults