Foundations for your conservatory

Your conservatory will sit on just one thing – the foundations, so for that reason it is pretty important to ensure you get the best advice in deciding how to proceed with your conservatory or orangery.

Many top conservatory companies do not include ground work within their service, often leaving the homeowner to source someone locally to build this for them. Also, one has to consider the ability for digging equipment to gain access to the property, if this is not available then it will have to be dug manually.

There are four main types of foundations to be aware of and knowing something about them can help you make the right decision and potentially save you money. The four types of foundations are:

Deep Strip Foundations
The most common foundations to be used in conservatory and orangery construction are deep strip foundations. Where the ground is suitable they are the cheapest type of foundation to build your conservatory on. The strips are usually 225 mm deep and a minimum of 450 mm wide. Remember that foundations are usually smaller for those on a 2-story building, where the width of the deep strips are usually 600 mm – this happens to be the width of a typical trench-digging bucket.

Trench Fill Foundations
Trench fill foundations are what they appear, it is a trench filled with concrete. They tend to be quicker to prepare than deep strip foundations, especially if you have mechanical digging equipment. So they have less labour time (and disruption) but you often get slightly higher costs for materials. The trench is filled to a depth of 500 mm with a minimum of 150 mm below ground level. Lining may be used where ground movement might be expected. This type of foundation is common in areas with the following round conditions:
. Where there is a high water table.
. In areas of heavy clay.
. Where the soil is loose.
. Where there are trees nearby that will soak up lots of moisture from the soil.

Raft Foundations
When Trench Fill or Deep Strip Foundations can not be used, Raft Foundations can be a suitable alternative. If recommended to use this type make sure you find out the rationale for this and ensure the edge of the raft sitting next to the existing property will not move away when the raft settles – this can happen when the rate at which the soil settles underneath the new conservatory is significantly different than the main building, for example, rising water tables over time can influence this. Your builder or architect will be able to calculate the weight of the conservatory to provide an estimate of this.

Piled Foundations
If good bearing ground can only be found a little deeper underground, for example on reclaimed land, then it may be necessary to bore into the ground to sink concrete pillars to provide a suitable foundation for your conservatory. Then concrete ground beans are used to span from pile to pile to provide a strong base for the conservatory or orangery. As you can imagine, access for machinery will make the task of digging the bore holes a lot easier and less costly in terms of labour.

Please note that your ground conditions will affect the choice of which foundations to use. So it is wise to get good advice, or easier, use a reputable conservatory company that do the ground works themselves and include this within the overall quote and guarantee.

Breckenridge offers the most comprehensive choice of hardwood conservatory, contemporary extensions and bespoke conservatories in a choice of materials as well as a range of pool enclosures, summer houses and windows & doors.

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