What Is An Urn Vault, and Do I Need One?

What Is An Urn Vault, and Do I Need One?

Nov 14, 2022

What is an urn vault?

An urn vault is a sturdy container that houses your cremation urn and protects it from the weight of the earth when buried. Generally, urn vaults are available in materials considered non-biodegradable such as stone, marble, stainless steel, bronze, fiberglass, and plastic.

Since cremation has increased in popularity over the last few years, more and more cemeteries are offering cremation burials. This means offering a building like a Columbarium or Mausoleum to place your loved ones ashes in or a ground burial. Every cemetery has their own rules on what type of material the urn vault should be made from so be sure to check with your cemetery.

Check out our helpful video: What are Urn Vaults?


Families can spend hundreds of dollars -- even thousands -- on urn vaults made of concrete and other expensive materials, however plastic urn vaults like the Basic Gray Urn Vault and the Fortress Urn Vault - White are available at a very reasonable cost and perform the same function. You also have the option to personalize the urn vault with a loved one's name.

                               Fortress Urn Vault - WhiteBasic Urn Vault - Gray

>>MORE: Shop our most Popular Urn Vaults

Why do cemeteries require an urn vault?


Some cemeteries require sealing your urn in a vault as a way to protect it from moisture and the elements of mother nature. Cemeteries also use heavy equipment for performing burials and for grounds maintenance and do not want to be responsible for inadvertently damaging or crushing an urn. For customers that plan to bury an urn, Stardust Memorials recommends purchasing a polymer/plastic urn vault or selecting an urn designed for ground burial such as our Marble Urn Collection. Another option is to seek out a green cemetery, which is a cemetery that doesn’t allow any materials that aren’t biodegradable. You can purchase a Biodegradable Urn and it will break down naturally over time.

Ground Burial vs. Columbarium

After you’ve decided on cremation, most cemeteries offer two main options–ground burial or columbarium. At a Columbarium, your loved ones urn can be displayed on a wall outside or in a building similar to a mausoleum. Sometimes the urn itself is displayed, other times the urn will be behind a plaque with the name and date of the deceased. The more common burial type is a ground burial. This is closer to the more traditional casket burial where the urn is placed inside an urn vault and buried in the ground. A name plaque or headstone will be placed above ground with the deceased's name and date.   

As more Americans choose cremation, they face many choices on whether to display cremation urns, bury them, place them in columbarium niches, or scatter the ashes. Consider all the options and determine which is best for your loved one.