How to Pick Out a Burial Coffin
by Funeral Home Resource
Choosing a burial coffin for a deceased loved one is never an easy task. Families are usually tasked with making a quick decision from a wide array of possibilities at a time when grief and stress are at their highest. This decision and other funeral arrangements usually require that all family members are in agreement.
Reaching a consensus on the casket is the first step in the process. Burial caskets are available in a variety of materials and finishes and represent a sizable portion of a burial expense. There are beautiful wooden caskets made of solid hardwoods such as mahogany, oak, cherry, walnut, maple, pecan, poplar and pine. Less expensive alternatives are wood veneer coffins as these are typically not as durable or as detailed. Cloth covered burial caskets are also less costly with tasteful fabric covering a fiber-board or press-wood structure.
Metal burial caskets are considerably more impervious to the elements. Common materials for metal caskets are 16, 18 or 20 gauge carbon steel or stainless steel. 16 gauge is the heaviest and thickest weight. Bronze and copper are the two most resilient material choices for a burial coffin and are also the most costly. These two metals are non-rusting, which is a very beneficial feature. Metal caskets offer the option of a sealing gasket to preserve and protect the coffin's interior from the elements.
In recent years, cremation has increased in popularity. For a cremation, families may pick a less expensive coffin, which is then cremated along with their loved one's remains. Cremation caskets are more basic, as durability is not an issue. They are made from wood, fiber-board, or cardboard and purposely contain no metal. Many families choose to place a cloth cover over the casket during the visitation and burial ceremony. After cremation, an urn or small casket is selected for a cremated loved one's remains. These range from simple to elaborate designs, in either wood or metal.
Deciding on the right burial coffin is a necessary service that families perform for their deceased loved ones. Knowing what options are available will reduce the stress of this important choice during an emotionally trying time.