Advice on how to buy tombs and caskets

Most people don't know what they're doing when they go to buy a box or casket. Most of the time, families know where they want to bury their loved one, but they might forget about the box or coffin. Sometimes, it's hard, stressful, and expensive to make a choice. We made a casket buyer's guide to help you pick one that fits your budget and the needs of the funeral you're planning.

What Is The Difference Between A Coffin And A Casket? - Mr Vaults

What makes a coffin different from a casket?

Before picking out a coffin, it's important to know what it is. A casket is a box or other container that holds the body of a dead person. On the other hand, it is an essential component of the funeral service. It is used for moving the body, burning, visiting the dead, and burial.

People sometimes use the words "coffin" and "casket" to mean the same thing, but there are important differences between them. Both hold the body up, but their shapes and roles are different.

What does the word "casket" really mean?

A casket is a rectangular box with four sides made to hold a body. It was made just for the person whose body it holds and is designed to honor them. The cover is lined with cloth and hinged. A casket can be made from many different things, but wood or metal are the most popular. The sliding lid makes it easy to open and close, which makes it perfect for viewing at a funeral.

What does a coffin really look like?

As with a box used to hold a person, a coffin is a six-sided container. The shape of the container fits the human body because the top is bigger than the bottom. The lid can be taken off because it doesn't have handles. Most coffins are made of wood and have simple decorations on them. Most of the time, a coffin is cheaper than a box because it takes less wood to make. On the other hand, they are often harder to find, and there may be extra costs for finding and sending the model you want.

How much does a wooden box for a body cost?

The materials that are used to make a coffin have a big effect on its price. For instance, metal caskets tend to be more expensive because the metal itself is more expensive. An eco-friendly coffin, on the other hand, might cost as little as a few hundred dollars, based on the material.

For graves, the price ranges from $900 to $20,000. You should know that when you buy a box from a funeral home, they usually add a big markup to the price. Most caskets cost between $2,000 and $5,000. On the other hand, funeral houses may let you rent a casket, which is usually much cheaper and costs between $900 and $2000. A lot of people rent caskets as a cheaper way to make sure their loved one is ready for a showing. After the funeral, the body is moved to a cheaper coffin so that it can be buried, cremated, or interred.

How much does a box weigh?

Should people who are carrying the body know how heavy it is? They should be there. The body inside a box usually weighs between 350 and 400 pounds (159 and 181 kg), but it could weigh more if the person who died needs a bigger funeral container. Each of the six pallbearers must be able to lift 67 pounds (30 kilograms), which is about the same as a queen-sized bed box spring or an adult Labrador dog.

The materials used will decide how much the box weighs. For example, a coffin made of metal or copper would weigh a lot more than plywood or a thin piece of wood. The inside materials, decorations, and size of a box are some of the other things that affect its weight. 

Most of the time, there are two types of caskets: normal and big. Standard coffins can weigh anywhere from 72.5 to 220 pounds (160 to 100 kg), based on the material they are made of. They can hold up to 136 kg (300 lb) of human weight. Most oversized coffins can hold up to 500 pounds (227 kilograms) and weigh between 220 and 280 pounds (100 and 113 kilograms). The price might also change based on how big the box is. For instance, big graves might not fit in a normal graveyard. There may be more fees for a bigger plot.

The size of the box has more to do with its weight than its decorations or the materials inside. The coffin would get heavier, though, if you added heavier things like handles.

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Different kinds of boxes

An urn can be made of either metal or wood. There are, however, more kinds.

Metal caskets

Most metal coffins are made of copper, iron, or steel. They are more expensive than wood caskets because they last longer and close better, keeping the body fresher for longer. Metal coffins should be treated with care and shouldn't be cremated. On the other hand, a metal coffin can be used for burial, showing, and interment. If needed, a cremation coffin that can catch fire can be used instead.

A common way to arrange steel coffins is by their thickness, or "gauge." There are different thicknesses, with 16 gauge being the biggest and most expensive. Different gauges, like 18-gauge and 20-gauge, are usually smaller and cost less.

Copper and bronze are often used to make the most expensive metal casket options. This is because the materials don't rust or corrode as easily. They are weighted based on both price and area.

Most copper and brass caskets cost at least $6,000, while metal caskets cost between $2,000 and $20,000.

Metal coffins of a normal size usually weigh between 180 and 220 pounds (81 and 100 kg).

Coffins made of wood

Hardwoods like oak, walnut, mahogany, and cherry are often used to make wood caskets. The wood can also be pine or another softwood. These are often less expensive. Using rare woods like mahogany usually increases the price compared to other choices.

To save money on wood caskets, you could also use less expensive types of wood. These caskets have cloth on top and veneer or plastic on the outside. For instance, plywood coffins can be laminated to look like wooden coffins, but they are much cheaper.

Fiberglass or fiberwood has also become popular as an option because it costs less. Even though these coffins are made of glass or wood fibers, they look like metal and wood and are harder and lighter.

Yet another common choice is wood veneer. The base of a veneer casket is made of wood, and thin pieces of more expensive wood cover it. This looks and feels like real wood, but it costs less.

Most of the time, solid wood caskets cost the most. This is because solid wood, as opposed to veneers, means that the whole coffin is made from a single type of wood. However, prices change based on the type of wood used, so this type of casket can be bought for a fair price.

Most wood coffins cost between $500 and $9,000. Less expensive types, like veneer and plywood, cost between $800 and $4,000. A lot of the time, wood coffins weigh between 68 and 350 pounds.

Casket for cremation

Boxes for cremation that are made from cardboard, pressboard, or canvas cost less and are better for the earth. The main purpose of these is to hold the body while it is being cremated, not to be seen. As was already said, these can be used instead of metal tombs or other types of coffins that can't be burned. Most of the time, this kind of container is used to get rid of a rental box.

The price of this kind of box changes, but it usually costs less than $700. Different kinds of caskets weigh a lot more than these. They weigh as little as 200 pounds (91 kilograms).

"Green" or compostable coffins

It's clear from the name that compostable caskets are made of materials that break down naturally. Many people use these caskets for "green" burials, which are better for the earth. In this group of caskets are simple wood caskets, weaving caskets, and shrouds.

Simple wooden caskets are made from wood alone, with no metal, glue, or finish added. Most environmentally friendly cemeteries will accept these kinds of caskets, which are easy to change to fit your needs.

Most weave coffins are made from bamboo, willow, or wicker. Most of the time, these are unique, beautiful, and well-made items. Also, the material is harder, which makes it easier to carry.

Shrouds are pieces of fabric that cover the body. Cotton, silk, muslin, wool, bamboo, and hemp are just some of the fabrics that are used to make shrouds. Shrouds are often used for green funerals because they are easy to change and don't require many materials.

Once more, the price and weight depend on the material that is picked. These types of coffins, on the other hand, tend to be less expensive and lighter. For example, cardboard coffins weigh between 20 and 80 pounds (9 to 36 kilograms), while weaved coffins weigh less than 150 pounds (68 kilograms). Wicker caskets usually cost between $900 and $1,500, while shrouds can cost anywhere from $195 to $1,000.

Pick up a box

Over the years, renting tombs has become increasingly popular. This allows families to buy more expensive and fancy caskets for a lot less money. The funeral home also gains because the coffin can be used for something else.

The body is put in a wooden box that can be removed and used as an insert for rental caskets. During a viewing, the body looks like it's inside the casket, but it never touches the inside of the casket. The insert box is easy to remove after the services and viewing so that the body can be buried or burned.

As we already said, renting a box costs around $900 to $2,000. Also, because boxes are made of smaller, cheaper materials, they tend to be lighter.

The type of casket is based on where it's going

In graves and graveyards, bodies are usually buried in caskets.

Since a crematorium needs a "casket or rigid container" to burn remains, the casket's remains can be mixed with human ashes and given back to the family.

For alkaline hydrolysis, also called liquid cremation or aquamation, a hard container or coffin is not needed.

A grave is dug for the person to be buried, and the casket or coffin is then buried there. Often, remembrance items like flowers, pictures, and other things that are important to the person are placed inside. Then, the grave is filled with dirt again, either to the level of the ground or to a small height.

Mausoleums are stone buildings that are meant to hold the bodies of one or more people above ground. Caskets can also be buried in these. This is known as a tomb sometimes. Your loved ones will be buried in a tomb based on its type. One example is a public cemetery, which is open to everyone and can hold a lot of people. On the other hand, private mausoleums are usually built on private land and are only open to family members.

The types and sizes of caskets limit the places where they can be buried or interred. Plans need to be made, which generally costs extra, and a specially made coffin needs to fit in a standard burial site.

If you choose direct cremation, you can use a utility casket to move the body and keep it safe during the burning. It usually makes up one-third to one-quarter of the total cost of a funeral.

Still, an urn with cremated parts inside could be buried in a grave or put in a niche.

Cremations usually cost between $2,000 and $10,000. Usually, it costs between $4,000 and $12,000 to bury or entomb someone.

What store has coffins?

Most people buy caskets from burial homes. This can cost a lot, though. It is common to add a charge of 30 to 50 percent.

However, third parties, like online stores and companies that provide caskets, still sell them. You can also buy them from people in other countries, like Canada. You could also get caskets that are made just for you.

Skeletons from other places

Buying caskets from someone other than the funeral home may save you money, but there are some important things to think about first.

Most of the time, shipping costs are covered by the price of the box.

Getting ready for a funeral might be harder if you order from outside the province or country since shipping is likely to cost more, and the box might not arrive for days or weeks. This is because the costs of cleaning and cooling the body will be higher.

No law in Ontario says funeral houses have to take things from outside sellers, like caskets. If the seller lets them, they can't charge the customer more as long as the item is safe, fits the purpose, and follows the rules of the cemetery or crematorium.