Types of coffins & prices

Let's talk about coffins. Sometimes, many think of coffins as scary things depicted in eerie ways, but we are trying to break down the taboos and look at the wide varieties and discuss price, decomposition, and more. There are many choices when it comes to choosing a coffin or casket. How do you choose what’s right for you or your loved one? In this blog, we'll explore.

  • What are the different types of coffins and prices?

  • Considerations when choosing a coffin

  • Can couples be placed in a coffin?

A traditional coffin, also known as a casket, is a burial container that is used to hold and bury a deceased person. The design and materials of coffins can vary based on cultural, religious, and personal preferences. However, there are some common features and characteristics associated with traditional coffins. Here are some general aspects:

Materials: Traditional coffins are typically made from wood, although the type of wood can vary. Common choices include oak, mahogany, cherry, and pine. Metal coffins, often made of steel or copper, are also available but are less common and very expensive. Michael Jackson was reported to be laid to rest in a gold plated coffin costing $25,000. If you want to know about Michael Jackson's coffin click here.

Shape and Design: Coffins are generally rectangular in shape to accommodate the human body. The design may include straight sides and a hinged lid. The interior of the coffin is lined with fabric, such as satin or velvet.

Handles and Hardware: Coffins usually have handles on each side to facilitate carrying during funeral processions and when lowering the coffin into the burial site. The handles can be made of metal or other materials. The hardware, including screws and fasteners, is often designed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Finish and Decoration:The exterior of the coffin is typically finished with varnish or paint for a polished appearance. Some coffins may have additional decorative elements, such as engravings, metal ornaments, or religious symbols, depending on cultural or religious traditions.

Size: Coffins come in various sizes to accommodate different body dimensions. Standard sizes are typically available, but customisation is also possible to ensure a proper fit. There are also many designs you can have hand crafted such as guitars, spiders and even a skip we have seen! 

Lid: Traditional coffins have a hinged lid that can be opened during viewings or funeral services. The lid is usually secured with a locking mechanism.

It's important to note that burial practices and coffin preferences can vary widely among different cultures and religions. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in eco-friendly or "green" burials, leading to the development of biodegradable coffins made from materials like bamboo, willow, or cardboard.

Coffins  can play a significant role in funeral rituals, providing a dignified and respectful means of laying a loved one to rest.

 

What are the different types of coffins? 

Traditional Coffins 

Traditional coffins are typically made from wood, although the type of wood can vary. Common choices include oak, mahogany, cherry, and pine. Metal coffins, often made of steel or copper, are also available but are less common. Wood veneer coffins are also an option for a traditional coffin. Traditional coffins may take several decades to break down completely and they carry up to 150kg. 

Prices range from anywhere between £600 - £10,000 

Here's an example of a traditional coffin from The Coffins Direct Company priced at £1150. 

Cardboard Coffins 

Cardboard coffins have gained popularity in the UK for their cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly nature. Despite their simplicity, they provide a dignified option for those looking for a budget-friendly choice. It is important to note that there may be weight limitations when choosing a cardboard coffin, make sure to consider the person’s size first. Always aim to choose a cardboard coffin from a well-known provider to make sure you receive the best service and quality. Cardboard coffins can decompose quicker than traditional wooden coffins. They may break down within a few months to a couple of years, depending on conditions. These are also much more ECO friendly when cremation is your chosen option. There are some very clever wood effect finishes that follow the more tradional route and some very unique ones as shown below. 

Prices range from anywhere between £170 - £1000. 

 

Eco Friendly Coffins 

  • Bamboo coffins are a perfect eco-friendly option, these coffins are 100% natural, making them a sustainable option in contrast to traditional materials. Bamboo is strong and durable, providing a sturdy resting place. 

  • Willow coffins are a renewable and fast-growing material, aligning with the principles of sustainability. It is biodegradable, ensures a gentle return to the earth, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional coffins.  

  • Seagrass coffins are not only environmentally friendly, but also showcase a natural aesthetic. Additionally, the affordability of seagrass coffins makes them an accessible choice for those seeking an eco-friendly option. 

  • Banana coffins are made from dried banana leaves that are woven together around a frame. Banana coffins are suitable for both burials and cremation. 

Eco-friendly coffins made from biodegradable materials are designed to break down relatively quickly, within a few years.  

Prices range from anywhere between £600 - £3,500.

Here's an example of a rainbow willow coffin from Somerset Willow Coffins

Considerations when choosing a coffin 

Material 

Considering the materials of your coffin is a very important part of the process. The material of your coffin would determine the price and may come with some size constraints. Think about what material your loved one would have wanted, for example, an eco-friendly coffin or a personalised coffin. 

Design & style  

Consider the style and design of the coffin, including its shape, colour, and overall aesthetic. Coffins come in a range of designs, from simple and traditional to more elaborate or personalised options. 

Personalisation 

Some people choose to personalise the coffin with engravings, paintings, or other decorations. This can be a way to celebrate the individuality of the person who has passed away. Here are some examples of personalised coffin options from Parley Green, they offer coffins and caskets with bespoke designs from scratch or one of their in-house designs. 

 

Also from a company we just love Crazy Coffins they have commissioned some amazing coffins from ballet pumps, to spiders here are a few touchingly beautiful coffin creations but sky is the limits with this creative team: 

This coffin was commissioned by Mrs Pat Cox, nurse and music teacher, who's lifelong passion was ballet. Mrs Cox has told us that she is arranging her funeral service around the ballet 'La Fille Malgardée'  taken from https://www.crazycoffins.co.uk/

 

The first canal boat coffin was ordered by a narrow-boat enthusiast, who loved it so much, he decided to keep it in his living room!
His wife shared his tastes, and he agreed to make her a narrow boat coffin of her own to match.

The family of a teenage boy, killed in a domestic accident, chose to bury him in a replica of the guitar he loved so well.

Photos and content next to images courtesy of @ Crazy Coffin Club

Here is another idea from Kris Hallenga’s living funeral. This is the perfect idea to involve everyone and leave a beautiful memory. This was a cardboard coffing provided by Parley Green. 


 

Price 

Coffin prices vary widely depending on the material, design, and other features. Establish a budget beforehand to help narrow down the options and prevent overspending. Before choosing a style, check for others that may look very similar but cost less and decide whether the expensive coffin is worth the extra money.  

If the plan is to have a direct cremation, it is important to remember that there are no ceremonies held and both the body and the coffin will be cremated together. It is possible to be cremated without a coffin, however, a direct cremation typically involves a simple coffin made from cardboard or other non-expensive materials. 

 

Special requirements 

It is important to note that there may be rules and regulations for certain coffins. For example, if you want a green funeral, the coffins need to be made from biodegradable materials. Always ask your funeral director or the burial site whether the coffin you like is an appropriate option. 

 

Can couples be placed in the same coffin? 

While it may be possible to place two people in the same coffin, it is not common and there may be logical constraints that may not permit this to happen: 

  • If both people pass away at different times, it would not be feasible to reopen the coffin to place the other body 

  • Having to transport two bodies in a large coffin or casket will not be easy but can be done 

  • You may not be able to find a burial site with enough capacity to bury the coffin or casket 

However, if this an option you want to consider and want to learn more about, there are some alternatives: 

  • In some cemeteries, it is possible to have a double-depth grave where one coffin is buried on top of each other. This will allow the two people to be buried in the same plot, with one coffin above the other. You would need to book and pay with your local cemetery for a double grave. 

  • You can have one person’s ashes in an urn, and the other remains in a coffin. The urn can then be placed on top of the coffin in a single plot. You by law would need to request to place the ashes in the grave with the cemetery for approval. 

  • In certain cases, you may be able to make arrangements with a funeral director to have a custom-designed coffin that is large enough to accommodate both individuals. Again, this is something to discuss with your local funeral director, crematorium, or cemetery. 

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