The most common products that people think of are caskets, burial vaults, urns and cremation caskets/containers.
Those are the ones we'll discuss on this page.  Please visit our page, Miscellaneous Products, for other products. 


Almost all caskets are made from wood or metal.  

Wooden caskets are usually made from mahogany, walnut, cherry, oak, pecan, ash, pine, or poplar. Some are made from hardwoods and are usually labeled as such. Some caskets are made from a solid wood; this will be reflected in the casket description. New York state law requires that every casket have a paper or card displayed in it that tells its content, type of fabric lining, and the cost. Some caskets described as a specific wood, may be made from a hardwood and only have the veneer of the specified wood. Be sure to ask if it's solid or veneer, if that's important to you. For example, a solid cherry casket will differ from a cherry casket that is made from hardwoods and has a cherry veneer. The solid cherry casket will cost more naturally.   Also the cost of the casket depends on the species of the wood, just as furniture made from cherry will cost more than pine.

Orthodox caskets are available that are made entirely of wood, with no metal components. These are commonly made from pine, walnut, oak or mahogany and some are available unfinished.  

Metal caskets are usually made from steel, copper or bronze. Steel caskets are made from gauges of steel or stainless steel. In the gauges of steel, the number represents the thickness. Sixteen-gauge steel is 1/16th of an inch thick, making it thicker than 18- or 20-gauge steel. Copper and bronze caskets are gauged according to their weight per square foot - a casket described as being made 48-oz. bronze will be heavier than one of 32-oz. bronze.

Interiors in caskets are commonly made from crepe, linen, satin, or velvet and are color-coordinated to match the outside color.

Some caskets can be personalized. They may have interchangeable corners that feature a theme such as gardening, golf, or religious connotations. Another option is a choice of a custom panel in the casket lid when it's open. These are available in a variety of embroidered themes or can be custom made with a phrase, logo, insignia, or picture. These may have an additional cost and take an extra day or so for shipping to the funeral home.

BURIAL VAULTS FOR CASKETS AND URNS                                                                                                     

What are they and are they required? Almost every cemetery in this area requires one to bury a casket; fewer of them require one to bury an urn. A burial vault is an outer covering for a casket or urn. In this area, they are most commonly a concrete box that the casket or urn is lower ed into and a concrete top is placed on it. They serve two purposes: protect the casket or urn and to maintain the integrity of the grave. The vault's structure protects the casket from the elements in the ground and also from the common use of heavy equipment in digging other graves in the area. It maintains the appearance of the grave as there is less settling of the ground on top of a solid structure, the vault.    

As an exception to vaults for urns, there are some available that are made from other materials and these may double as a vault and an urn. Your funeral director will be able to guide you according to each cemetery's requirements. 

Vaults are available with or without a protective lining. Those with a lining also have a seal to help protect the casket or urn inside. Those with a lining usually also have a seal to help protect it from air and moisture. 

Some vaults provide additional protection by being double or triple reinforced. One of the manufacturers has a website with pictures and illustrations to help explain this. 


The most common materials that urns are made from are wood, metal, porcelain, glass, marble, and pottery. If the urn is going to be buried, you may want to give consideration to what it is made from. For example, if you select a glass or porcelain urn, you may want to also select an urn vault to protect it even though the cemetery may not require it.  


For those who choose cremation, there are a couple of choices. Most commonly, they are either a wooden casket or a wooden cremation casket. The most obvious difference between the two usually is the subtle substitution of wooden handles and hardware for metal. The cremation casket may also be a bit simpler in design and may cost less. Still, for those who value quality, they are available in some of the same woods as traditional caskets, such as cherry, oak, or mahogany.

For those who desire something simpler and are not having visiting hours or services with the deceased's body present (or before the cremation takes place), there are simple containers, some with no inside lining, made of unfinished wood or even cardboard.

Your funeral director can give you detailed information and show you the differences.