After cremation, some people do not want to keep ashes at home. Instead they prefer to inter them in a cemetery, in what is called a funeral niche. Below is everything you need to know about this final resting place.
A niche is a permanent, above-ground location in which to place an urn that contains cremation ashes. Niches are typically located in a cemetery, mausoleum, or chapel. It can stand on its own or in an arrangement of niches, called a columbarium.
A columbarium is a structure used to store and often display urns containing cremated remains. The structure is typically a wall, room, or building, usually made of brick or concrete. Niches and columbariums can be located indoors or outdoors.
Niches can come in a variety of types and styles. It varies mainly on the cemetery and how many urns will be kept in one plot. The most common types of niches include:
Niches come in three basic variations: granite-front, bronze-front, and glass-front. Crystal and marble are also options. The niche is sealed for granite-front and bronze-front types, and the urn is typically not visible.
A granite-front niche is more challenging to customize and add an inscription. However, a bronze plaque can be added for that purpose.
Glass-fronted niches allow the urns to be displayed visibly alongside inscriptions, small pictures, or tokens related to the deceased person.
The size of a niche varies based on type. However, a standard single niche is usually 9 inches cubed (22 cm cubed) or up to 12 inches cubed (30 cm cubed). Couple and family niches will be larger to accommodate for more urns.
It is important to establish the size of the niche so that you buy an urn that is compatilbe to the niche size compatible.
The cost of a niche will depend on factors that include type, location, and time of purchase.
Naturally, larger niches designed to fit multiple urns will likely be more expensive than a single niche. However, having multiple urns in one location may be more cost-effective overall.
For example, a single niche in a columbarium will often range from $600 CAD to over $3,000 CAD - in the US expect pricing to be in the $500 USD to over $2500 USD range. A niche holding two or more urns will likely range from $800 USD ($950 CAD) to over $3,000 USD ($4,000 CAD or more).
Location of the niche is also a key pricing factor. An indoor niche costs more than an outdoor niche in most cases. This is because indoor niches are protected better from the elements and other potential damage causing factors such as extreme weather or vandalism. For this reason, glass-fronted niches will almost always be locate inside as glass is more fragile than bronze or granite. The location of the cemetery will also affect the cost. For example, a cemetery located in the centre of a large, heavily populated city will cost more than one in a smaller city because of demand.
Finally, the time of purchase will also impact the cost. Niches purchased before death will cost less than niches purchased after the death has occurred. Expect post-mortem niche purchases to cost 20 to 25 per cent more than those purchased ahead of time.
Want to learn more about the cost of a funeral? Click here.