The burial vault has become a necessary part of the interment process over the course of time. Years ago, burial vaults were not used as extensively as they are today because traditionally the casket was put in the grave and covered with soil. As cemeteries grew in numbers and the public demand for better cared for cemeteries, the burial vault is an important tool for the overall maintenance and beauty of the cemetery.
Burial vaults serve mainly 2 functions in the interment process:
- Protection of the casket
- Protection of the cemetery
Burial vaults are usually offered in many different styles and materials. These characteristics determine the protection factor for the casket. The most common burial vault used is made from concrete.
Typically, the least expensive burial vault is a concrete liner topseal usually containing some steel reinforcement. The protection factor for caskets with this type of burial vault is the minimum. The reason for this is that concrete is porous, allowing the ground water to eventually seep through to the casket.
The next type of burial vault produced that offers a greater protection factor for the casket is a polystyrene lined concrete vault. This type of vault has a polystyrene (a plastic material) liner in the bottom portion of the inside area of the vault as well as the inside of the lid. This helps prevent the water from entering the vault and giving greater protection to the casket.
One of the best protection burial vaults in today’s market is the fully jacketed polystyrene concrete vault. This type of vault has three barriers for protection from ground water….a polystyrene protection on the outside, a concrete protection in the middle and a polystyrene protection on the inside.
All of these burial vaults can be offered with some type of personalization. Many are offered with stainless steel, copper and bronze sheeting that enhance the appearance of the vault as well as the casket. Some cemeteries will leave the burial vault above ground during the service so it will be seen by those in attendance.
The main purpose of the burial vault is to simply prevent the grave from settling over time and help prevent sinkage. By eliminating the settling of the grave, the cemetery will have a uniform appearance and the maintenance of the cemetery will be less.