Above Ground Burial Vaults: A Comprehensive Guide

Above Ground Burial Vaults

In a cemetery where the words carved in stone are silent with the passage of time, lies a special tribute to the departed—above ground burial vaults. Imagine a calm building standing proudly, a safe place holding memories, protected from nature’s touch. 

Above ground burial vaults, also known as mausoleums, are more than architectural marvels; they’re a persistent symbol of love and remembrance. In a world where choices for final resting places abound, these structures stand out—offering protection, grace, and a touch of timeless elegance. 

Let’s explore the world of burial vaults, digging their virtues, symbolism, and the heartfelt considerations behind choosing these dignified sanctuaries for our dearly departed.

What is a burial vault called?

A burial vault is also called a grave vault, burial liner, or outer burial container. These terms are used interchangeably to refer to the protective container that encases a casket before it is buried in the ground. 

The purpose of a burial vault is to provide structural support to the gravesite, protect the casket from the weight of the earth and heavy equipment used in the cemetery, and help preserve the integrity of the gravesite over time.

What is an Above-Ground Burial Vaults?

Above ground burial vaults, also known as mausoleums or crypts, are structures designed to provide a final resting place for the deceased. Unlike traditional in-ground burials, these vaults are constructed above the ground surface. They are typically made from durable materials such as stone, marble, concrete, or other sturdy materials.

These structures serve as a protective enclosure for caskets or urns, shielding them from environmental elements such as moisture, soil, and other natural forces. Above ground burial vaults offer a secure and lasting memorial space for individuals or families. They can be customized in various designs and sizes to accommodate single or multiple interments, providing a dignified and enduring tribute to those who have passed away.

Burial vaults hold cultural, religious, and personal significance for many people, symbolizing reverence, respect, and a connection to the memories of their loved ones. Their accessibility, durability, and the ability to create a shared family memorial space are some of the reasons why individuals consider them as a meaningful option for honoring their departed loved ones.

Advantages of Above Ground Burial Vaults:

Above ground burial vaults offer several advantages that distinguish them from traditional in-ground burial methods. These advantages contribute to their popularity and appeal among individuals seeking a dignified and enduring resting place for their loved ones.

Some of the key advantages include:

1- Protection from Environmental Elements

Above ground burial vaults provide a sturdy barrier against moisture, soil, and other natural elements. This protection helps preserve the casket or urn and its contents, ensuring longevity and preventing deterioration.

2- Durability and Longevity

Constructed from robust materials such as stone, marble, or concrete, these vaults are designed to withstand the test of time. Their durable nature ensures they remain intact for generations, serving as a lasting tribute to the deceased.

3- Ease of Maintenance and Accessibility

Maintaining burial vaults is often simpler compared to traditional gravesites. They are easier to access for cleaning, upkeep, and personal visits, providing a well-kept and convenient memorial space.

4- Space Efficiency and Family Memorials

Mausoleums or crypts can accommodate multiple interments within the same structure, making them space-efficient for families. This allows for a shared memorial space, fostering a sense of unity and togetherness.

5- Cultural and Symbolic Significance

Across various cultures and religions, burial vaults hold significant symbolism. They symbolize respect, honor, and a lasting connection to the departed, reflecting the importance of preserving memories.

6- Customization and Personalization

Families have the opportunity to customize and personalize the design and aesthetics of the burial vaults, creating a unique and meaningful tribute that reflects the life and legacy of the deceased.

7- Aesthetic Appeal and Architectural Beauty

Above ground burial vaults often feature exquisite architectural designs and craftsmanship. Their aesthetic beauty adds a touch of elegance to cemeteries or memorial parks, contributing to the serene and contemplative atmosphere.

These advantages collectively make burial vaults an attractive option for those seeking a dignified, protected, and lasting resting place for their loved ones, encapsulating both practicality and emotional significance.

Different Types of Above Ground Burial Vault
Different Types of Above Ground Burial Vault

Different Types of Above Ground Burial Vault

There are several types of burial vaults, each offering distinct features, designs, and purposes. These variations cater to different preferences, needs, and cultural or religious traditions. Some common types include:

Private Mausoleums

These are standalone structures built to accommodate one family or individual. Private mausoleums offer the opportunity for personalized designs, architectural features, and customization, providing an exclusive and private memorial space.

Community Mausoleums

Community mausoleums are larger structures designed to accommodate multiple caskets or urns within shared spaces. They often feature individual or family compartments, offering an affordable above ground burial option while maintaining a dignified and communal setting.

Lawn Crypts

Lawn crypts are pre-installed burial vaults placed in a cemetery lawn. They offer an affordable above ground burial option similar to traditional in-ground burials but provide the advantages of protection and accessibility offered by above ground vaults.

Columbarium Niches

Specifically designed for cremated remains, columbarium niches are compartments or alcoves within a structure that house urns. These niches allow for the placement of cremated remains above ground, providing a respectful and centralized location for remembrance.

Walk-in Mausoleums

These larger mausoleums feature corridors or rooms where visitors can walk in and pay respects to multiple interred individuals or families. Walk-in mausoleums often have ornate architecture and are designed to accommodate a considerable number of crypts or niches.

Religious or Cultural Specific Structures

Some religious or cultural practices have specific above ground burial structures tailored to their traditions. For instance, Islamic mausoleums may follow certain architectural guidelines, while other cultures may have unique structures designed for their burial customs.

These various types of burial vaults offer diverse options to accommodate different preferences, space requirements, budget constraints, and cultural considerations. Individuals and families can select the type that best aligns with their needs, values, and desires for honoring and memorializing their loved ones.

How to Choose an Above Ground Burial Vault?

Choosing an above ground burial vault involves considering various factors to ensure it aligns with personal preferences, cultural aspects, practical needs, and long-term considerations. Here are essential steps to guide the selection process:

  • Material and Design: Explore different materials such as marble, stone, concrete, or metals. Consider the aesthetics, durability, and cultural significance of each material. Choose a design that resonates with the style preferences and the memory you wish to honor.
  • Location and Cemetery Regulations: Understand the regulations and guidelines of the chosen cemetery or memorial park regarding burial vaults. Consider the location within the cemetery, ensuring it offers accessibility, scenic views, and fits within the designated space.
  • Space and Capacity: Determine the size and capacity needed for the vault. Some vaults accommodate single interments, while others cater to multiple family members. Plan for the potential future needs of additional interments within the same structure.
  • Budget and Long-Term Costs: Assess the costs associated with purchasing, constructing, and maintaining the above ground burial vault. Factor in long-term maintenance expenses to ensure the memorial remains well-preserved over time.
  • Personalization and Customization: Consider personalization options such as inscriptions, decorative elements, or additional features that honor the memory of the departed. Ensure the chosen vault allows for customization to create a unique and meaningful tribute.
  • Consultation and Professional Guidance: Seek advice from cemetery officials, memorial experts, or burial service providers. They can offer insights, recommendations, and assistance in selecting an above ground burial vault that meets your preferences and requirements.
  • Emotional and Cultural Considerations: Take into account the emotional significance and cultural traditions associated with the above ground burial vault. Ensure that the chosen structure reflects the values and beliefs of the departed and their family.
  • Visitation and Accessibility: Consider the ease of access for visitation purposes. Choose a location and design that allows family and friends to pay respects comfortably and regularly.

By carefully considering these factors, individuals and families can make an informed decision when choosing an above ground burial vault, ensuring that it serves as a meaningful and lasting tribute to their departed loved ones while meeting practical and emotional needs.

What is the difference between a vault and a tomb?

A vault and a tomb are both structures used for the burial of the deceased, but they differ in their design, purpose, and usage.

A vault is a usually underground or partially underground structure used to bury caskets or coffins. Vaults are typically made of concrete or metal and provide a protective enclosure for the casket. They are often used in cemeteries to prevent the ground from sinking or collapsing over time.

On the other hand, a tomb is a more elaborate and often above-ground structure used to bury the deceased. Tombs can vary in size and design, from simple structures to elaborate monuments or mausoleums. Tombs are often used by wealthy or prominent individuals and may contain multiple burial chambers or crypts.

What is the difference between a vault and a mausoleum?

A vault is a protective outer container, typically made of concrete or metal, that is used in the burial of caskets or coffins. It serves as an additional layer of protection for the casket, helping to preserve it and prevent the ground above from sinking or collapsing over time. Burial vaults are often required by cemeteries to maintain the overall appearance and integrity of the burial grounds.

A mausoleum, on the other hand, is an above-ground structure used for the entombment of the deceased. Mausoleums are often more elaborate and decorative than vaults, and they may contain multiple burial chambers or crypts. Mausoleums are typically used by families or individuals who wish to have a more permanent and visible memorial for their loved ones.

Summing Up

Above ground burial vaults offer a dignified, enduring, and protective final resting place for loved ones. Their advantages extend beyond practicality, providing families with a meaningful and lasting tribute. Understanding the significance, advantages, and considerations involved in choosing an above ground burial vault can aid individuals in making informed decisions while honoring their departed loved ones.

Ultimately, the choice of a memorial space is a personal one, influenced by cultural, religious, and emotional factors. Burial vaults stand as a timeless testament to the lives and legacies of those who have passed, offering solace and remembrance to families for generations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1- Are burial vaults only for caskets, or can they accommodate cremated remains as well?

Burial vaults can be designed to accommodate both caskets and urns containing cremated remains. There are specialized structures such as columbarium niches specifically designed for housing urns.

2- How do above ground burial vaults protect the deceased from environmental factors?

These vaults are constructed using durable materials like concrete, stone, or marble, forming a protective barrier against moisture, soil, and other natural elements. This shielding preserves the integrity of the casket or urn and its contents.

3- Can crypts be personalized or customized to reflect the personality or interests of the departed?

Yes, families often have the opportunity to personalize crypts . Customizations may include inscriptions, artistic engravings, decorative elements, or specific architectural designs to honor the life and legacy of the deceased.