After a person leaves this world, the coffin becomes his last resting place and it should be a comfortable one. The container that encloses a coffin to help prevent a grave from sinking is known as a burial vault. Burial vaults were formerly made of wood or brick but nowadays it is being made of concrete. Wooden coffins (or caskets) decompose, and often the weight of earth on top of the coffin, or the passage of heavy cemetery maintenance equipment over it, can cause the casket to collapse and the soil above it to settle.
The burial vault or burial liner is designed to prevent the weight of earth or heavy cemetery maintenance equipment from collapsing the coffin beneath. Coffin collapse will cause the ground to sink and settle, marring the appearance of the cemetery and making it harder to maintain. Burial vaults originally emerged as a means of ensuring that grave robbers could not easily access a coffin and remove valuables, clothing, or even bodies from the coffin.
Burial vaults come in many varieties. From the standard lined vault to the highly personalized, hand crafted stainless steel interior lined vault. A burial vault encloses a casket on all four sides, the top, and the bottom. Modern burial vaults are lowered into the grave, and the casket lowered into the vault. A lid is then lowered to cover the casket and seal the vault.
Modern burial vaults may be made of concrete, metal, or plastic. Because the sides of the burial vault are attached to the bottom of the vault, the burial vault is generally stronger than a burial liner. Some burial vaults reverse the construction, so that only a base is placed beneath the coffin. The lid consists of the four sides and the top. These types of burial vaults allow a better seal between the lid and base.