Are vaults required in Pennsylvania?

By: William Spence
Friday, December 16, 2022

Vaults or other types of outer burial containers are not required by federal or Pennsylvania state law to be placed in the ground prior to a casket being buried. However, most cemeteries in Lancaster County require, as a minimum, the use of a non-sealed grave liner. Vaults are designed to support the weight of the surrounding earth as well as heavy cemetery equipment that may pass over the grave. By requiring the use of burial containers, cemeteries decrease maintenance while preserving the safety and beauty of the cemetery property. In the early days, simple wooden caskets were placed directly into the ground without the benefit of outer protection. The predecessor to the modern outer burial container was a “rough box” constructed of thick wooden planks. With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, materials such as steel and concrete replaced the earlier materials. Today, burial containers are constructed of durable materials such as copper, stainless steel, galvanized steel, steel, aluminum, and concrete.

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