Above Ground Burial Vaults: Funeral Planning Solutions

Above Ground Burial Vaults

When it comes to laying our loved ones to rest, the options are as varied as the cultures and traditions that shaped them. While in-ground burials are widely known, above ground burial vaults offer a distinctive alternative. These vaults are not just about securing a final resting place but also about creating a lasting monument that stands the test of time.

Above ground burial vaults serve a practical purpose: they protect the deceased from environmental elements and provide a secure enclosure that maintains integrity over years. They’re trendy where space is limited or in areas prone to flooding, where in-ground burials might not be ideal. Let’s explore more about these vaults.

History of Above Ground Burial Vaults

The concept of above ground burial isn’t new. It dates back to ancient civilizations. Think of the grand tombs of the Pharaohs or the elaborate mausoleums across Europe. These structures were built not just for protection but as a tribute, blending art, architecture, and reverence.

Over the centuries, the evolution of above-ground vaults has reflected changes in materials, techniques, and styles. From the majestic pyramids of Egypt to the more modern, sleek designs seen in today’s memorial parks, these vaults have adapted to cultural needs and technological advancements, ensuring they remain a favored choice for a dignified farewell.

Types of Above Ground Burial Vaults

Above ground burial vaults come in a variety of styles and materials, each offering unique benefits depending on your preferences and needs.

Styles and Materials:

  • Granite and Marble Vaults: These are the classics—timeless and elegant. Granite offers rugged durability, while marble brings a polished, sophisticated look.
  • Metal Vaults: Often made from bronze or stainless steel, these vaults are sleek and modern, providing excellent durability and resistance to the elements.
  • Concrete Vaults: Known for their strength, concrete vaults are a practical and economical choice. They are often reinforced with metal to enhance their durability.

Traditional vs. Modern Designs:

  • Traditional Designs: These often feature ornate carvings and classical architecture-inspired shapes, echoing the grandeur of ancient mausoleums. They’re about legacy and heritage, creating a lasting monument.
  • Modern Designs: Modern vaults are defined by sleek lines and minimalistic styles. They focus on clean aesthetics and can include customizable features like glass panels or digital memorial screens.

Choosing between traditional and modern designs often comes down to personal taste and the statement you wish to make. Traditional vaults evoke a sense of history and permanence, while modern designs offer a contemporary look that can be personalized to reflect the individual’s life and style. Whether you lean towards the timeless elegance of a marble vault or the sleek modernity of stainless steel, the choice provides a meaningful way to honor a loved one.

Benefits of Choosing Above Ground Burial VaultsBenefits of Choosing Above Ground Burial Vaults

When considering a final resting place for a loved one, above ground burial vaults stand out for their robust construction and meaningful advantages. These vaults offer a mix of practical benefits and emotional reassurances that can significantly ease the process of memorialization.

Durability of Construction:

 Above ground burial vaults are renowned for their solid build. Constructed from materials like granite, concrete, and metals such as bronze or stainless steel, these vaults are designed to withstand the test of time. This enduring construction ensures that the vault remains intact, safeguarding against the natural decay that affects in-ground burials.

Protection Against Environmental Factors: 

One of the primary advantages of opting for an above ground vault is its superior protection from environmental elements. These vaults are expertly sealed to prevent the intrusion of water, dirt, and other contaminants. They are particularly beneficial in areas prone to flooding or other geological challenges, where traditional burials might face issues.

Emotional Benefits: 

Choosing an above ground vault also provides families with emotional peace. These structures often resemble elegant monuments or serene chapels, providing a comforting place for visitation. The aesthetic appeal of these vaults, whether through stately marble or sleek metal finishes, creates a dignified and respectful setting for loved ones to gather and remember.

Technical Specifications of Above Ground Burial Vaults

Materials Used:

  • Concrete: Concrete is favored for its strength and cost-effectiveness. It is a common choice for vaults, offering substantial protection.
  • Metal: Metals like bronze and stainless steel are chosen for their durability and modern appearance, and they resist corrosion over many years.
  • Granite or Marble: These natural stones are selected for their lasting beauty and unique textures, contributing to the vault’s visual appeal and structural integrity.

Construction Features:

  • Sealing Mechanisms: To maintain the internal conditions of a vault, sophisticated sealing systems are employed. These ensure that the interior is kept dry and clean, free from external environmental conditions.
  • Interior Linings: Many vaults also feature luxurious interior linings, which can include velvet or silk. These linings enhance the internal appearance and provide additional protection to the contents.

Compliance with Regulations and Standards: Every above ground vault is built to comply with specific cemetery regulations and construction standards. This compliance is crucial for ensuring that the vaults not only meet legal requirements but also respect the needs and expectations of grieving families. It ensures that the construction quality is maintained at a high standard, providing reliable and safe final resting places.

Choosing the Right Above Ground Burial Vault

When selecting an above ground burial vault, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure the choice aligns with personal and familial needs:

  1. Material Preference: Depending on budget and preference, families can choose from different materials that offer various benefits in terms of appearance and durability.
  2. Site Requirements: Some cemeteries may have restrictions on the types of vaults allowed, so it’s essential to check these requirements before making a decision.
  3. Personalization Options: Many vault providers offer customization options, allowing families to personalize the vault with engravings, plaques, or even digital memorials.
  4. Budget Considerations: The cost of above-ground vaults can vary widely based on material, size, and customization. It’s important to set a budget and discuss financing options with the provider, if necessary.
  5. Future Maintenance: Consider the long-term maintenance of the vault, including cleaning and preservation efforts, to ensure the site remains a welcoming place for visitors.

Cost Considerations for Above Ground Burial Vaults

When it comes to choosing a final resting place, cost is a significant factor. While above-ground burial vaults offer many benefits, they do come with a unique set of costs that vary depending on materials, design, and location.

Average Costs: Generally, above ground burial vaults can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. The material plays a big role here; for example, vaults made of marble or granite tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum due to the cost of the raw materials and the craftsmanship required.

Comparison with In-Ground Burial Costs: When compared to in-ground burials, above ground vaults are often more expensive. This is because they require more material and elaborate construction. In-ground burials, while needing a coffin and a burial plot, don’t require the same level of structural components.

Financial Planning Tips:

  1. Budget Early: Start planning and saving early to spread the financial impact over a longer period.
  2. Compare Options: Shop around and compare prices from different providers. Sometimes, prices can vary significantly based on the cemetery or location.
  3. Consider Pre-Paying: Many facilities offer the option to pre-pay for a vault, which can lock in current prices and avoid future increases.
  4. Explore Financing Options: Some places offer payment plans, which can make the process more manageable financially.

Installation Process of Above Ground Burial Vaults

Choosing and purchasing a vault is one thing, but understanding the installation process is equally important.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Foundation Preparation: Most above ground vaults require a solid foundation. This involves laying a concrete base or preparing a flat stone surface, depending on the weight and size of the vault.
  2. Vault Placement: Once the foundation is ready, the vault is placed using heavy machinery like cranes, especially for larger or heavier structures.
  3. Sealing and Securing: The vault is then sealed properly to prevent any environmental ingress and secured to the foundation to ensure stability.
  4. Timeframe: The entire process, from foundation preparation to the final placement and sealing, can take from a few days to a couple of weeks, mainly depending on the complexity of the vault and the preparation work required.

Personnel Involved:

  • Construction Team: A skilled team is necessary for the foundation work and the placement of the vault.
  • Specialist Technicians: Specialist technicians are needed for more sophisticated vaults, especially those involving intricate sealing mechanisms.
  • Crane Operators: These are for moving and placing heavier vaults.

Necessary Preparations and Permissions:

  • Cemetery Permissions: Most cemeteries require specific permissions to install an above-ground vault, considering the space it occupies and its visual impact.
  • Local Regulations: It’s important to check with local government bodies to ensure that all construction and installation activities comply with local regulations and building codes.

Understanding these aspects can help ease the process, making it less daunting for those purchasing an above ground burial vault for the first time. By preparing financially and grasping the practical steps involved in the installation, families can ensure that they honor their loved ones with dignity and respect in a manner that also aligns with their financial and emotional capacities.


In conclusion, choosing an above ground burial vault comes with its own set of considerations and benefits. From the cost perspective, it’s essential to budget wisely and explore different options to find what fits best. The installation process, while requiring some time and effort, ensures a dignified resting place for loved ones.

However, beyond the practicalities, there are deeper personal and social implications to consider. Opting for an above ground vault may reflect a desire for enduring memorials and a sense of permanence in remembering those we’ve lost. Moreover, it can also serve as a statement of respect and honor, preserving memories for future generations to cherish. Ultimately, the decision lies in balancing practical needs with emotional considerations, ensuring that the final resting place reflects the love and respect we hold for our departed loved ones.