How do you choose the right coffin?
Selecting the right coffin or casket for your loved one can be one of the most personal decisions when arranging a funeral, which is why so many different designs, materials and styles are available. These range from simple cardboard caskets to metal builds costing thousands, and each one comes with their own properties you should be aware of.
Do cardboard coffins work?
It’s a common misconception that cardboard coffins are unreliable due to their paper-based construction. However, if bought from professional providers, this isn’t the case.
The cardboard caskets and coffins we provide are tested and approved to hold up to 25 stone (163kg) without issue, which is more than some wooden caskets. This is achieved by using layers of corrugated cardboard, a style designed to give the coffin significant structural strength. So there’s no need to be concerned.
As well as their affordability, many cardboard coffins are chosen for their high biodegradability. This makes them a perfect choice to protect the environment through woodland burials.
What about wicker coffins?
The word coffin derives from cophinus in Latin, meaning basket, which tells you just how long wicker has been used in coffin construction.
Wicker caskets are particularly beautiful sights in woodland burials. Like cardboard coffins, they are often built from all-natural materials such as willow and bamboo, which means they impact less on the environment and are very reasonably priced.
The vast majority of wicker caskets in Britain are made from willow, a remarkably tough yet flexible material that allows for intricate weaving patterns. Bamboo, rattan and pandanus-based caskets are also available, though start from a slightly higher price due to their increased tensile strength and rarity in the UK.
Are wooden coffins best?
Coffins and caskets made from wood are arguably the most common of all, not least because they come in an incredible variety of styles and prices.
Willow, poplar and pine are just a few of the trees used to construct the most affordable wood coffins. These usually look natural with pronounced grains and lightweight properties and are particularly resistant to shrinking and swelling.
The mid-range sees maple, birch and oak take precedence, all of which are incredibly hard and shock-resistant with smooth textures. This desirable combination has made this group of woods the most common in coffin designs.
Like for most wood-based items, mahogany, walnut and cherry trees are used for very high-end constructions. All come in reddish-brown hues with excellent durability that is said to get better with age.
Can you get metal coffins?
Coffins made from metals and alloys aren’t the cheapest to buy or easiest to transport, however they offer some unique qualities in return.
Most metal coffins are steel based, which can last for hundreds of years and are incredibly resilient to damage. These cost in the thousands, depending on how much steel is used, whether it’s stainless or more affordable carbon steel and its thickness, the most common gauges being 16, 18 and 20.
The rarest and most expensive coffins in use are made from bronze and copper. These are non-rust materials that last longer than any other available, costing anywhere from £5,000 to tens of thousands. Metal coffins can be bought with a variety of finishes such as gold and topaz. However, this doesn’t mean the rest of the coffin will be made from the same material, which will often be steel, copper or bronze based.
Metal coffins are not something we deal with often in Essex, but we can arrange them if they’re requested.
Get in touch with Co-op Funeral Directors in Essex
There’s no one answer when it comes to selecting a coffin or casket for you or your loved one. Speak with our funeral directors for advice on what may work best for you.