burial vault for cremation urn
We get this question almost daily. To answer the question let’s assume the ashes and the urn will be interred (buried in a cemetery or memorial garden). We need to find where you and your family fall on the “urn/ashes protection spectrum”. On one side of the spectrum we’ll have folks who want to be darn sure the urn and ashes are not touched by “Mother Nature” (i.e. ground water, soil, weight of the earth) at all and for generations and generations. They’ll want the urn and ashes to remain as pristine as they were when they were interred into the ground. On the other side of the spectrum there will be folks who are more “ashes to ashes” minded and are ok with Mother Nature eventually taking over (i.e. breaking down the urn, urn may be crushed or take on water). So if you don’t mind the urn breaking down over time, and if your cemetery doesn’t require a vault, then you don’t need to buy one.
If you don’t want the urn and ashes to be compromised by Mother Nature – then yes, you need to buy a vault to put the urn in and the vault will protect the urn and ashes. A typical urn whether metal, wood, plastic etc is not designed to protect ashes interred in the ground. They just aren’t strong enough and will break or break down over time. There is one exception, the Mackenzie Urn Vault. It is an urn and a vault in one (crush proof to 5,000 lbs and water tight). The Mackenzie Classic is a great choice to protect ashes and not dealing with buying two items. This does the job of an urn and a vault…and they are very, very nice urns.
Burial vaults for cremation urns have a spectrum of their own. Most all will get the job done and protect the urn for generations. Prices range from about $125 to $450 for vault that will protect the urn and ashes from water or being crushed by the earth. These are made of dense plastics, cultured marble (man made marble like kitchen counter tops) poly-resins, steel or a combination of all the materials. They are generally classified as economy urn vaults since they don’t cost an arm and a leg. You do get what you pay for. A $400 vault will generally be stronger and last longer than a $125 vault.
The other end of the burial vault spectrum you’ll find cast concrete vaults. They are usually $850 and up, way up. These can be lined (inside or outside) with copper, stainless steel, bronze, thermo-plastics, etc. Wilber Vaults is probably the most recognizable name around. They have distributors all over the US so their vaults aren’t hard to find. We don’t sell them because they are WAY to heavy to ship. They are actually made locally…no matter where you are they will have a facility that makes them close by.
Your cemetery may require a vault. They do this for 2 reasons. 1. So that the urn doesn’t crush over time and create a sink hole at the surface and 2. To make some money. A cemetery is a property owner and with that comes rights. They can determine what goes in the ground and how. They may require a vault and you may be able to provide your own (from us or another third party) but they also have the right to insist you use theirs. To save some money, ask what brand and model they require and shop around to see if you can find the same vault for less…you usually can.
Some urns will last a long, long time in the ground…but without the aid of a vault, all will succumb to Mother Nature eventually. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s up to you and your family.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us and use us as a resource.