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Conservatory Subsidence

(July 3, 2024)

Is Your Conservatory Sinking? What Are the Causes & What Can You Do About it?

Subsidence is a structural issue that, typically, affects domestic houses and commercial properties. However, where we only ever hear of instances of subsidence on larger scales, we often forget that other aspects of our homes can be affected by the same issue. From outbuildings and conservatories to garages and extensions, if the foundations have failed as a result of soil movement, subsidence will make itself known. 

Whether those signs appear slowly or in quick time, it will soon become obvious if your conservatory is sinking. So, why is your conservatory subsiding, what are the signs and how can it be fixed? Let’s take a closer look into the issue of conservatory subsidence and conservatory underpinning.


What is subsidence?

Subsidence can happen to almost any building, under the right conditions. It involves the movement of the ground that sits underneath the foundations, causing the foundations to shift along with the moving soil. 

This can compromise the structure that sits on top of the foundations, with detrimental consequences. It can cause catastrophic damage to the building itself, including considerable cracks that could, eventually, lead to parts of the structure falling off in severe cases. 

Subsidence is a serious structural issue that needs to be rectified by way of underpinning methods, and underpinning can be performed on a wide range of property types and sizes, from vast commercial buildings to small domestic conservatories.


What are the signs of a sinking conservatory?

The signs of a subsiding conservatory are much the same as the signs of a shrinking house. However, many homeowners are unaware of what subsidence is, until they come across the issue themselves. If you aren’t sure what the general signs of subsidence are, then don’t worry, because we’ll be detailing them below for you. 

Whether these signs are noticed in your home, your extension or your conservatory, it’s always best to call in a professional. Geobear can offer subsidence surveys, enabling us to either confirm or deny instances of subsidence. However, in the meantime, here are the signs of a subsiding conservatory:


  • Windows and doors that are unable to close
  • Windows and doors that are unable to open
  • Cracks that appear, either internally or externally, in a zig-zag pattern, or that follow the mortar line in the brickwork
  • Internal or external cracks that you can insert your little finger into
  • Cracks along the floor
  • The floor has sunk or moved
  • Cracks along the ceiling
  • The conservatory coming away from the rest of the house
  • Wallpaper is creasing with no signs of mould or damp
  • The conservatory is noticeably leaning to one side


How can I stop my conservatory from subsiding?

While preventative measures might already be too late, depending on when your conservatory was built, there are things you can do and measures that can be put in place before you build your conservatory, if you’re considering one for your home. 

The first thing to consider is the preparation and, most of the time, it all falls on the soil type that will sit underneath the foundations themselves. Depending on the type of soil you have, the ground preparation work will be different. 

For instance, if your conservatory foundations are on clay soil, you need to think about the possibility of constant shrinkage and expansion of the soil. As such, the foundations will need to be far deeper than usual to ensure maximum strength and longevity. 

If your soil has been mixed with hardcore or other foreign objects, then the same thing applies. Foundations need to be laid on undisturbed soil and it may take a lot of digging to get down to that point if your soil is mixed with debris. 

In addition to soil type, you need to consider the nearby surroundings. For example, look for any large trees or shrubs that might be around the site of your prospective conservatory. If there are any, make sure they’re removed (but check to see if they’re protected beforehand). You might be wondering why this is relevant to subsiding conservatories, but the short answer is: roots. 

Roots from large trees and shrubs will seek out moisture in the ground and they won’t stop until that water source is found, even if that means sucking the moisture out from the ground underneath your foundations. 

If a root extracts that water, the soil will shrink, thus leaving a void behind. This then weakens the soil and your foundations could end up shifting along with it. If you’re building a conservatory, just keep the nearby shrubbery in mind. As well as that, don’t plant anything too close to your conservatory in the future for the same reason.


House injectionConservatory underpinning: can I fix conservatory subsidence

Yes. Conservatory subsidence can be rectified in much the same way as house subsidence. Like with the underpinning of a house, there are several different options available to you when it comes to subsidence solutions. Some methods are traditional, involving the digging out of the surrounding and affected ground, which can be both disruptive and messy. This is why some people will choose the non-disruptive resin injection method. 

This underpinning solution allows the homeowner to carry out their everyday lives with very little disruption and mess. This is because, rather than digging up the ground, it will be injected from the top and a resin will be pumped in. The resin will then follow all of the gaps and voids that are present in the ground underneath, hardening as it goes along. 

Not only is this method incredibly convenient and efficient, the results are also long-lasting, meaning your conservatory will remain sound and stable for many decades to come. So, can conservatory subsidence be fixed? Absolutely, with the help and expertise of the tea here at Geobear.


Is conservatory subsidence covered by my home insurance?

Essentially, it depends on what your individual policy covers. Not all home or house insurance policies are the same and some might not include outbuildings or extensions. Something else to factor in is how old your conservatory is. If it’s relatively new and you haven’t notified your insurance company of the change to your house, then it might not be covered. 

Before making any enquiries about insurance claims for conservatory subsidence, you should double check that your conservatory is included as part of your house, likewise if you have any sort of extension. In short, every policy is different, so make sure you check your policy before assuming that they will pay out to cover the cost of underpinning solutions.


Geobear is pleased to offer a wealth of subsidence solutions to customers throughout the UK. Whether it be your home, your conservatory or your commercial premises that are sinking, you can rest assured that Geobear will be on hand to help. We have a state-of-the-art resin injection underpinning method. It involves injecting the affected area with resin that will fill any voids by expanding along the way. If you would like further information about our underpinning services near you, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we can also offer thorough subsidence surveys for your peace of mind.

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