When choosing to bury the remains instead of cremation or entombment, you will have to add a grave liner or vault. In some places, you have to purchase from the mortuary whereas in others, you have to purchase form the cemetery. A grave liner and a vault are completely different. Make sure you know which one you want.
Remember, vaults are NOT required in any state but most cemeteries will require it to keep the grave from sinking in and creating more work.
There are two different types of Grave Liners – 1. Concrete sectional burial liner or a 2. Solid liner box. Although it costs about $50 for a sectional and $125 for a solid, they will charge you $250 for either one. Generally, they will not ask you which one you want, they will just pick one.
A Concrete sectional burial liner is assembled inside the grave. It has very little water proofing and can easily be pushed over if it wasn't assembled inside the grave. The packed dirt is the magic ingredient in keeping the Liner together. Each section is about 1 inch and a quarter thick, constructed with concrete and reinforced with chicken wire.
On the other hand, a Solid concrete box is about 1.5″ thick and reinforced with gauge iron mesh. It stands 30″ high, 33″ wide, and 94″ long.
So which one would the cemetery prefer to give you? They would actually give you the solid box if they could. It doesn't require any labor time and can be installed in minutes. The only problem is a backhoe and the solid box weighs several tons. When driving through the cemetery, shallow graves could cave in. Therefore, they will generally give you the sectional liner.
Although the liner requires more work, it doesn't come in any preset sizes. Therefore they can break a few pieces here and there inside the grave to make it fit. On the other hand, the solid liner would take forever to break. As long as the sectional “looks good” from the top, everybody is happy. Since you will be charged the same amount for both products, it would be better to ask for the solid liner in writing.
If you want peace of mind, you should go with a lawn crypt. They are two times the height of a burial liner box, hold two deceased, and are installed side by side to other lawn crypts. Also, the gravel that is taken out is replaced with fine sand, dressed with loam and the area is also seeded. The price of the lawn crypt is also included in the cost of the burial lot; therefore the cemetery has less incentive to try to make more money out of you.
You will have to spend a couple thousand on a good burial vault. Paying anything less will basically get you a glorified burial liner. They are also very good at keeping water out. The cover is sealed onto the vault with a strip of tar and then it is also lined with a copper or plastic liner.
Cemetery plots are getting more and more expensive. There was a case in where a man bought his plot 10 years ago for $500 dollars and now that same land sells for $6500! Unless you have already made up a choice about a cemetery due to personal reasons, do some research and check with a couple of cemeteries to pick the right one.
When researching, remember to find out what type of regulations they have. Some allow you to place flowers and other remembrances whereas others do not. Many cemeteries require you to purchase a grave liner. The other costs are opening the grave, the tombstone, care fee, grounds keeping and more. Make sure to ask for all the fees so nothing is hidden.