If you or your loved one plans to be buried, the conversation about outer burial containers will need to come up. This article will cover what they are, why we have them, and what your options are.
What is an outer burial container?
An outer burial container is used when either a casket or an urn is buried. There are typically two types: the grave liner and the burial vault. Burial containers are usually made of reinforced concrete (they also come in plastic and metal). Most cemeteries will require, at a minimum, the use of a grave liner.
The biggest reason outer burial containers are used is because, as caskets and urns degrade over time, the ground above will shift and resettle. Without a burial container, graves would collapse under the weight of the earth and create tripping hazards for families, visitors, and cemetery staff. Burial containers keep the ground safe and level, making maintenance and cemetery visitation safer.
What are my options?
While a grave liner partially or entirely encloses the casket/urn, it does not offer full protection from the elements. Because is it not sealed, soil, moisture, water, and other elements can make their way inside to the casket. Though usually made of concrete, both plastic and metal options are available. Grave liners are often less expensive.
A burial vault seals and entirely encloses the casket/urn. In addition to a water-resistant seal in the lid and walls, a burial vault (except those made of plastic) contains an interior liner. This liner works in tandem with the sealant to prevent soil, water/moisture, and other elements from reaching the contents. Because of this, a burial vault is usually more expensive than a grave liner.