Outer Burial Containers

An outer burial container, also known as a vault, is the container that surrounds the casket in the grave. There is no law that requires you to use a vault. However, many cemeteries ask that you use such a container so the grave does not sink. Most of the families we serve do choose to use a vault and most do select a vault that is warranted by the manufacturer to be waterproof. We offer two basic types of vaults: those constructed of metal and those constructed of concrete.

Metal vaults

Metal vaults consist of a two-piece construction, the base and the dome. The base is installed flat in the bottom of the grave. When the service is over, the casket is lowered down onto the base. The base itself is not flat; it has a raised portion which elevates the casket approximately 5 1/2 inches from the ground. The dome is then lowered into the grave and latched to the base. The dome traps a pocket of air that contains the casket. Therefore, water cannot reach the casket due to this air pocket. The dome is curved at the top, allowing for any condensation to go down the side of the vault and exit at the bottom. Before leaving the factory, all of the vaults are subjected to a number of quality control tests, which includes a submersion test into six feet of water. While metal vaults all seal in the same manner, they can be constructed from different materials: copper, stainless steel, galvanized steel and steel.

Copper vaults are the most expensive type of metal vaults. They are manufactured from 10 or 12 gauge solid copper, which never rusts. The copper vaults are finished to enhance the beauty of the copper.

Stainless steel vaults are available in two colors: gray and rose. Stainless steel is a tough, strong, corrosion-resistant material that contains iron, chromium and nickel.

Aluminum vaults are constructed of the highest quality series 5052 aluminum, a standard in the aerospace industry.

Galvanized steel vaults are available in three different measures of thickness: 7, 10 and 12 gauge. The 7 gauge is the heaviest vault weighing 720 lbs. The 10 gauge vault weighs 535 lbs. and the 12 gauge, the lightest, weighs 435 lbs.

Galvanizing is a process in which the entire vault, inside and outside, is dipped into a hot molten zinc vat. The galvanizing provides long lasting protection as approximately 35 pounds of zinc is bonded to the base metal. Painted steel vaults, which are not galvanized, complete the line of metal burial vaults.

Concrete vaults

Concrete vaults consist of two pieces: the base and the cover. The base of the vault is installed in the grave. After the service, the casket is lowered into the base and the cover is then placed on top of the base. A butyl compound seals the base and the cover, which fit together with a tongue and groove construction. An inner liner is chemically bonded to the inside of the base and the cover. Concrete burial vaults will differ in price due to the type of inner liner that is used, the weight of the vault and the presence of different metals used, such as bronze, copper and stainless steel.

The triple reinforced Wilbert Bronze is the top of the line in concrete burial vaults.  The base is covered with a liner on the outside as well as on the inside. The interior of the vault is then relined with bronze and a 32 ounce bronze overlay is added to the entire cover. A solid cast bronze nameplate is attached to the cover.  The double reinforced Triune Collection consists of the Bronze Triune, the Copper Triune and the Stainless Steel Triune.  These vaults are of the same extra heavy duty concrete construction used in the Wilbert Bronze. They are not lined on the outside, but are lined on the inside with the same liner as used in the Wilbert Bronze.  The vault is then relined on the inside with either the bronze, copper or stainless steel as its name indicates.  A carapace, made of the same metal liner as used on the inside, is on the cover as well as a name plate.  The Venetian weighs some 400 lbs. less than the Triune series vaults and utilizes a less expensive liner material.  It does include a
carapace on the cover and a nameplate.  The Continental weighs just slightly less than the Venetian and uses the least expensive type of liner. It does not include a carapace, but does include a nameplate.  The Monticello weighs 500 lbs. less than the Continental and uses the same liner material.  It does not include a nameplate.


For more information on burial vaults, visit Clark Vault and Wilbert Vault.

© 2007 S.G. Wilkerson and Sons, Inc.       2100 E. Fifth St., Greenville (252) 752-2101      608 Farm Life Ave., Vanceboro (252) 244-0770