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Funeral Planning 101: Understanding Burial Vaults, Grave Liners, And Alternative Interment Options

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When you're planning a loved one's funeral, there are a lot of decisions to make that you may not be prepared for. Especially for people who have never been through the funeral planning process, some of the details and considerations can be confusing. For example, do you know if the cemetery where your loved one wishes to be buried will require a burial vault or grave liner? Here's a look at what you need to know.

What Is A Burial Vault? 

A burial vault is essentially an outer case for the casket. It's intended to seal in the casket and protect it from any kind of deterioration while it's in the ground. Things like moisture from the soil, erosion, pressure from the ground above, and other similar hazards can cause damage to a casket that's not adequately protected. A burial vault can provide that protection. A burial vault is just slightly larger than the casket so that it seals around it as an added layer of reinforcement.

What Is A Grave Liner?

A grave liner, on the other hand, is used to reinforce the actual grave space. This helps to reduce soil erosion and maintains the level, even soil appearance across the entire cemetery. Unfortunately, grave liners are usually made from cast concrete, which means that they're porous. That means the grave liner can let moisture pass through and cause damage to the casket over time. If you want to ensure that the casket is protected as well as the grave site, you should add a vault in addition to the grave liner.

Are Vaults Or Liners Required?

Many cemeteries do have policies in place mandating the use of burial vaults, grave liners, or both in their burial plots. This is especially common in areas where soil erosion is a concern, but it's also an aesthetic consideration. Make sure that you understand what the requirements are for the cemetery where your loved one wishes to be buried.

If the cemetery requires the use of one or the other and it's not something you're comfortable with doing, you can talk with your funeral home director about the possibility of a mausoleum instead of a burial site, or even cremation as an alternative. However, you might find that the use of a vault or liner gives you added peace of mind about your loved one's burial site.

These are just a few of the things that you should understand when it comes to planning a graveside service and burial. Talk with a local funeral home, such as Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home Inc, for more details.