Just as many cemeteries require a casket to be enclosed in a burial vault before it's placed in the ground, some also require cremation vaults for urns that will be buried. The reason for this requirement — to prevent the earth from sinking around the burial site — is the same in both instances. You can choose either from burial urns or urn vaults.
In the case of urns, there are two ways to meet the cremation vault requirement:
- One option is burial urns that serve a dual purpose. As an attractive urn, this product is suitable for display at a memorial service or in the home, while its reinforced construction makes it sturdy enough to meet the requirements for a vault. Burial urns are typically made of cold-cast cultured marble, a precise mixture of natural marble limestone and synthetic polyester resin, which is hand polished to a high-luster finish that closely resembles the look and feel of natural marble.
- The second option is a burial container that is a separate, outer container to hold a traditional cremation urn. These urn vaults are typically made from polystyrene, stainless steel, or fiberglass — strong, durable materials to support the earth and protect the urn from the elements.
Urn Vaults: Points to Consider
You may wonder if an urn vault is really necessary. The best way to make that decision for your urn is to ask yourself the following questions.
What will I do with the cremains?
Many people who choose cremation do so with the intent of scattering the ashes at sea or on land, often as a way of symbolizing that the deceased's soul is now free from the mortal body. For others, keeping the cremains close at hand in a traditional or keepsake urn is a way to memorialize the deceased. Still others prefer to bury the cremation urn.
Unless you are bound by cultural or religious customs (the Catholic Church, for example, requires the burial of cremains), the answer to this question is simply a matter of personal preference. A burial urn is not required if you do not plan to bury the cremains.
Does the cemetery require an urn vault?
If you opt for in-ground burial, check with the cemetery where the ashes will be buried. Contrary to common misconception, state or local laws typically do not mandate the use of burial urns for human ashes. Individual cemeteries, however, may require urn vaults for in-ground burial of cremains.
Am I concerned about protecting the urn or the cremains from the elements?
Depending on the material it's made of, a cremation urn may weaken and collapse over time as it is exposed to moisture and the weight of the ground above it. Ceramic urns, glass urns, and wood urns, for example, are particularly susceptible to damage from exposure to the elements. If you find this troubling, you may want to consider an urn vault for your own peace of mind.
Enter in an approximate weight of your loved one before cremation and we will tell you the size needed.
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Choosing the right size urn is easy. For every one pound before cremation you will need 1 cubic inch of volume. For example, a loved one weighing 200 pounds will need an urn that is at least 200 cubic inches or larger. Choosing an urn larger then you need is OK.