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How to Build a Wine Cellar

How to Build a Wine Cellar
September 20, 2019 Terry Bouzakis
In Wine Cellars

If you’re a wine connoisseur, a wine cellar can make a perfect addition to your home. The simplest way to build your own wine cellar is to renovate an existing room in your house. First, make sure the space you’ve chosen is properly framed and insulated. Then, purchase and install a specialized cooling system to keep your wine cellar within the optimum temperature and humidity range. When that’s done, you can begin picking out racks, lighting, and other decorative touches to put your own personal stamp on your home wine cellar.

It is always best to consult with a wine cellar professional before starting the project.

Framing the room: Stone. Glass. Cement. Brick. What do these materials have in common? While they are becoming very popular, they’re terrible insulators. No, seriously. Glass is like a sieve. Even insulated, dual-pane glass allows heat to travel freely across it. It’s the same with concrete and stone, no matter how thick. Stone and concrete are porous materials, transporting heat and moisture from the ground outside into your cellar. Honestly? The best thing for your wine cellar is wooden framing. Two-by-four or two-by-six studs and joists will do nicely.

The all-important vapor barrier: A vapor barrier is a sheet of plastic or a coating of closed cell foam which helps to keep the cellar at the ideal temperature and humidity range by hermetically sealing the cellar, prohibiting the intrusion of moisture. A minimum of six-millimeter plastic sheeting is recommended for the walls, and all walls and floors should be sealed with a sealant such as DRYLOK®.

Insulation: It is highly recommended that closed cell foam is blown-in walls, it will serve as both your insulation and vapor barrier. The R-value should be no less than R-13 for interior walls, R-19 for exterior walls, and R-19 for ceilings (but R-30 is highly recommended).

Doors: You must have an exterior-grade cellar door sealed with weather stripping, including a bottom sweep or threshold. Poorly sealed doors cause your unit to run continuously, shortening its lifespan. Glass cellar doors can negatively impact the cellar climate; as always, we recommend you consult a wine cellar professional before installing a glass door.

Lights: Low-voltage lights as fluorescent or LED are ideal. Seal any compromised area with a vapor barrier and insulation when installing lights.

Walls: Green board is preferable, as it resists moisture.

Floors: Your flooring needs to withstand humid conditions. Hardwood, tile, stone, sealed concrete, reclaimed wine barrel, and cork floors can withstand moisture.

Racking: There are two basic types of wine racks: traditional and modern. Traditional is knotty alder, mahogany, premium redwood, All heart redwood and sapele. These woods are moisture-resistant and pleasing to the eye and will give your cellar a classic feel.

Metal racking is gaining traction due to its sleek, modern look. Back lighting behind mounting panels can create a unique design and jazz up any room.