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Do Vaults Have Holes in the Sides?


I was told that when a vault is put in the ground, the people that do it put holes in the sides for the casket go in. Is this true?

No, this is not true. Burial vaults, or outer burial containers, in the Chicago area are made of concrete, and it is almost impossible to put a hole into them. Other parts of the country use steel vaults, and these are equally difficult to put holes into.

Some cemeteries now use heavy duty plastic vaults. While it is possible to put a hole into any of these vaults, in all practical purposes there are not holes put into them. The only outer burial container that would have holes in it is known as a grave liner. This is a concrete container that keeps the grounds from sinking, but is technically not a burial vault. The difference is that a burial vault has some type of seal to it, and a grave liner does not.

Some cemeteries have sections where grave liners have been placed in the ground with a layer of soil on top of them. Many cemeteries call these in ground crypts. Most of these have had a layer of gravel placed under them for drainage before the section is covered over with soil. These underground or in-ground crypts have holes in the floors for drainage.

The burial vaults, or outer burial containers were designed for two purposes. 1. to add a layer of protection to the casket from outside elements such as excess water and/or soil. 2. to keep the grounds from caving in at the cemetery. This could happen from the heavy equipment that is used to open a grave: backhoes, dumptrucks, riding mowers, etc.

A website to check out is This is the website of the American Wilbert Burial Vault Company, and can answer more questions about outer burial containers.

Thanks -- Stephen Dawson

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