Funeral vaults may be part of funeral planning at funeral homes in Ferndale, WA, It is very likely that the cemetery you choose to be buried in will require a funeral vault as well. Many people don’t know the history of funeral vaults nor do they know why they are needed for burials in cemeteries, so let’s take a quick tour of what funeral vaults are, why they exist, and why they are used now.
Funeral vaults are lined and sealed containers that store and surround caskets or urns on all sides. They are like grave liners, except that grave liners cover only the top and sides of caskets. Funeral vaults are usually made with reinforced concrete and are generally combined with lining materials such as high-impact plastics, copper, stainless steel, or bronze.
The history of funeral vaults one that is interest. The original purpose for funeral vaults is not the purpose that they are used for today. The concept of funeral vaults began in the early 1800’s as a way to deter grave robbers.
In those days, when loved ones died, they were buried in their best clothing and with the most valuable pieces of jewelry they had. Grave robbers would roam around the countryside and desecrate the graves by digging up the coffins and stealing anything of value.
As grave robbing became more and more common, people began to use brick protective containers to bury coffins in cemeteries. Three sides of the container were built inside the grave, the coffin was lowered in, and then the top side was added and sealed, and dirt covered the top of the grave.
Cemetery caretakers began to take notice that the graves that used these early funeral vaults didn’t sink – causing uneven ground, or even ground collapse – like other graves where just coffins were buried. Because of this, burial vaults began to be commonly used to bury caskets in as a way to protect the cemeteries since grave robbing incidents decreased dramatically in the late 19th century.
In the 1900’s, burial vaults became a standard requirement in many cemeteries, especially in long-established cemeteries where many older graves were sinking and monuments were cracking, breaking, or toppling because the ground was uneven. Even today, there are many old cemeteries throughout the United States where it’s very evident which graves have funeral vaults and which ones do not.
Funeral vaults don’t prevent the inevitable decomposition of a body, but they are still a necessary part of underground burials in cemeteries. While most states don’t legally require that funeral vaults be used, many cemeteries do. Why?
Funeral vaults, which are completely sealed, protect caskets and urns from any damage that might take place under the ground. This type of damage might come from spreading tree roots or moles and other burrowing animals. However, the main reason why the majority of cemeteries require funeral vaults is to protect the top of the grave from sinking.
As time passes, the soil settles. When heavy equipment is brought into the cemetery to dig new graves and to maintain the cemeteries, caskets buried without a funeral vault will start collapsing under the weight. When caskets collapse, they sink several inches lower into the ground, which presents safety hazards for the equipment used in the cemeteries, walking hazards to cemetery visitors because of the uneven ground, and detraction of the beauty of cemeteries. These same conditions apply to urns buried that without a funeral vault, but on a much smaller scale.
For additional information about funeral vaults at funeral homes, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Ferndale is here to help. You can visit our funeral home at 2039 Main St., Ferndale, WA 98248, or you can call us today at (360) 384-1391. We also serve the areas of Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA.