Burial VaultsOverview • Caskets • Burial Vaults • Urns • Flowers
A burial vault is a protective outer container for the casket. Many families select a burial vault for the additional peace of mind it brings. A reinforced burial vault provides long-lasting protection needed to resist elements and physical conditions--including ground water, and weight from heavy equipment. The burial vault also protects the casket and keeps the ground intact, thus preserving the beauty of the cemetery or memorial park.
This outer burial container is placed in the ground beforehand and the casket is lowered into it during the funeral. While there is not a federal law nor a state regulation in Connecticut requiring the use of an outer burial container, most local cemeteries require using them to protect the casket, grave and grounds keeping and so heavy machinery can be used to dig the graves.
Usually, the minimum outer burial container called a grave liner will meet the cemetery requirement, but in almost all cases, you have the option to upgrade to the more robust burial vaults. It is less common for an outer container to be required when burying an urn or when the casket is to go in an above-ground mausoleum.
Also, some very old or very rural cemeteries, green cemeteries, and some religiously observant cemeteries do not require outer burial containers at all. Most dedicated veterans cemeteries furnish a basic concrete grave liner at no charge. We can advise you on the requirements of the cemetery or cemeteries you are considering. Some of the broad categories of outer burial containers are described below:
A grave liner is the minimal outer protection required by most cemeteries. It serves as a structural protection and is made of porous concrete about 1½" thick. The standard concrete grave liner is a box shape measuring about 30" high, 33" wide, and 84" long. Though grave liners are less substantial than vaults, they offer significant protection from the pressure of the earth above and are heavy enough that they must be lowered into the grave by a crane. We use the higher quality solid gravel liners as opposed to sectional ones that are assembled on site. Perhaps the best mental image of a grave liner is a small house foundation with a lid on top.
In some cases the grave can be dug two deep. More protection is required for the additional weight of the two graves. Sometimes these graves are equipped with what is called a lawn crypt. This product is more solidly constructed than a burial liner and is double the height of a liner box because it accommodates two caskets. An inset cover separates the two burials. The cemetery excavates entire sections beforehand, installs the lawn crypts and covers them over until needed. The price of the lawn crypt is usually included in the original cost of the burial lot, so a container does not need to be purchased later at the time of need.
By definition a burial vault is a lined, sealed and water-resistant unit that is specifically engineered to support the weight of the earth above the grave as well as the heavy equipment that passes over it. Burial vaults measure about twice as thick as grave liners and are reinforced with a heavy gauge steel re-bar making them much stronger. Vaults are also virtually waterproof because they are lined inside and out with a copper or plastic for protection against groundwater and grooves on the vault to which the cover creates a seal. Burial vaults offer the highest level of protection but also cost more. Simple burial vaults offer a great deal of protection and start at prices slightly higher than grave liners. More ornate models offer additional protection but can rise significantly in price depending on the workmanship and materials used.