What are Caskets Made Of?

What are Caskets Made Of
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There are a huge range of options in modern coffins and caskets, which can be made to look attractive and traditional, or in shapes, colors, and with motifs that reflect the interests and personality of the person.

Contemporary manufacturing methods create even more variety in look and style, with a wider range of prices and options for nearly any budget and taste.

Modern caskets are made of a variety of materials, giving people more casket options than ever. Here are some of the most popular.

Solid Wood

The common cliché of coffins being “pine boxes” frequently still holds true. Caskets and coffins are often made of solid woods, including (among others):


Pine caskets are traditional and affordable, often prized for being simple and have less adornments than other kids.

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Oak caskets are handsome and resemble high-quality furniture. Oak is a durable wood and can be finished in a variety of wood tones from light to dark.


Cherry is a rich, red-toned wood that makes a sophisticated looking casket.


Walnut is a popular wood with an attractive grain, that often has a honey-toned finish.


Mahogany is one of the most beautiful and prized natural woods, and often has a deep, dark-red or warm black finish. It's one of the most expensive wood casket options.

Wood caskets are often chosen for being attractive and having a classic look. Many wooden caskets aren't made of solid wood, but are made of plywood, fiberglass, or fiberboard with a wood veneer, for the look of wood at a more affordable price.


Metal caskets have increased in popularity in recent years, because they are more durable and protective. Metal caskets are usually made of:

Carbon steel

Carbon steel does not have a layer of chromium oxide, which means it is not as resistant to corrosion, and is more thermally conductive than stainless steel.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is naturally more resistant to corrosion and staining than carbon steel.

Steel caskets come in various thicknesses, as measured in gauge. Thicker caskets are more durable, and steel caskets are usually sealed with a rubber gasket that forms and air and moisture barrier that further protects the casket. Metal caskets are often finished or painted in a variety of ways, so they have a wide range of looks.

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Precious Metals

Caskets can also be made of precious or semi-precious metals, including copper, bronze and even gold. Bronze is particularly prized in caskets for being durable and resistant to corrosion. Generally speaking, most caskets made of precious metals aren't actually made entirely of the metal, but have a precious metal exterior coating, or are made of steel with a finish that simulates the look of a precious metal.


Many caskets are made of fiberglass, because it is a durable and versatile material. Fiberglass is extremely lightweight and can be finished in a wide variety of ways, painted with colors, or simulating metal, wood grain, or even marble stone.

Sustainable Materials 

Today, environment-friendly caskets are becoming more popular. These caskets are made of sustainable materials and are designed to naturally biodegrade and return nutrients to the soil. Sustainable caskets may be made of:

Plywood or fiberboard

Sustainable plywood and fiberboard caskets are often covered with fabrics, in either solid colors or patterns. They are also frequently covered with a solid wood veneer to simulate the look of solid wood at a more affordable price.


Bamboo caskets are quite popular, since they are a natural and sustainable material that simulates the look of wood, can be woven like a grass, or can be left in its natural hollow bamboo cane state.

Woven woods and grasses, such as cane, willow, grasses, and even banana leaves

Woven caskets are made in a similar method to wicker or rattan furniture, so the casket resembles a natural woven basket.

Sustainable caskets may also be made out of materials like sheep's wool, or even cardboard.

Specialty Casket Materials 

Some special caskets are made of see-through acrylic, designed for viewing the body. People are also exploring bio-plastics and other unusual materials for caskets that have unique environmental properties or customization options.

Casket Liners 

Casket liners are almost always made of fabric, including taffeta, satin, and velvet. However, most casket liners are made of polyester, which can look lustrous and attractive while remaining easy to use and affordable.

In North America, most caskets are made and sold by only a few companies. However, increased competition and options from overseas companies is creating more options, and years to come will doubtless lead to more innovation in casket manufacture.