Using Burial Vaults to Bury and Protect Your Cremation Urn

What is a burial vault?

A burial vault (or urn vault) is a container that will not biodegrade or decompose, used when burying cremated remains.

What is the purpose of a burial vault?

The purpose of a cremation urn burial vault is threefold:

  1. To provide a sense of dignity for the decedent
  2. To give the family peace of mind
  3. To protect and preserve the cemetery grounds

Typically the vault is intended to hold a cremation urn to ensure that it will be protected from the natural elements after it is buried. From the family's perspective, this is important to provide a sense of dignity for their loved one as well as peace of mind knowing that the beautiful cremation urn is well-protected and preserved. From the funeral home or cemetery's perspective, the burial vault is necessary to make sure that the ground does not cave in as the urn decomposes in contact with earth and moisture.


Note: Burial vaults (or urn vaults) will protect your loved one's cremation urn and/or remains for a very long time. But, as with everything, these too will eventually break down. Our cremation urn vaults are well-designed and well-made, and will preserve the urn and the burial site for a long, long time - often entire generations after you're gone. However, all things will eventually return to the earth.

What are burial vaults made from?

Burial vaults are made from a variety of non-biodegradable materials, including but not limited to polystyrene, polypropylene, granite, cultured marble, stone, steel, and more.

How are burial vaults used?

The most common way a burial vault is used is to hold and protect the cremation urn for ground burial. A second way burial vaults are used is securely contain the ashes without a cremation urn.

For the first option, used in conjunction with a cremation urn, you will want to make sure that the interior of the burial vault is the right dimensions to hold the urn. All of our urn vault product pages list the interior and exterior dimensions to help you determine if it is the right vault for your situation.

For the second option, you will want to ensure that the vault is large enough to hold the cremated remains, and that it can be sealed to prevent any spillage.


Can an urn be used as a burial vault?

Yes, there are several types of cremation urns that will serve as their own burial vault. Our cultured marble and granite urns will not biodegrade or decompose due to normal ground conditions, and thus will typically be allowed to be buried without an additional exterior vault.

Read more about the advantages of cultured marble urns  here.

Note: Each state and each cemetery has different requirements, so please check with your local burial site prior to making any decisions about a burial vault.

Can an urn be buried without a vault?

Yes. You probably won't be allowed to bury the urn at a cemetery without a burial vault, but if you're burying on private property you do not need a vault. Just be aware that the urn will eventually be affected by the natural conditions of the soil.

If you're going for the "back to earth" idea, you can do a ground burial without a vault using biodegradable urns specifically designed for eco-friendly burial.  See these urns here.

Can a vault be buried without an urn?

Yes. Our  Convertible Burial Vault is ideal for this, as it has an interior capacity of 180 cubic inches and will seal up quite nicely. Simply place the plastic bag holding the remains inside the burial vault, seal it, and it is ready to be buried. 

Again, as with all of these suggestions, check with your funeral director or the cemetery prior to proceeding to make sure that you comply with their requirements.

Browse Burial Vaults


The Convertible is our smallest vault. With a capacity of just 180 cubic inches, this burial vault is ideal for holding simply the remains without an urn, or for holding a very small child or pet urn. Shown here in the Emerald Green finish.


The Cosmos Urn Burial Vault is a spacious vault with our simplest design, which includes one decorative emblem and one engraving plate. Pictured in White Granite.


The Constellation is pictured above in the Gray Granite finish, which contrasts beautifully with the bronze-colored appliques, engraving plate, and brass hex bolts.


The Galaxy Urn Burial Vault is perfectly sized to hold most rectangular cremation urns. Or, with its interior capacity of 496 cubic inches, it can hold the remains (sans urn) of two individuals who wish to be buried together, such as a husband and wife. The Galaxy includes a blank plate for you to get personalized locally as well as your choice of two metal applique emblems. Pictured above is the Sandstone Mahogany finish.


The Global Urn Burial Vault is our premium offering. This is the most spacious vault in the new line, and it comes with your choice of two decorative appliques and three blank engraving plates.