How Do You Build a Wine Cellar?

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How to Build a Wine Cellar in Your Home

Building a wine cellar in your home is a great way to take your wine experience to the next level. The process of making a wine cellar can be challenging at times, but in the end, you’ll have a beautiful place to reliably store your bottles of vino. In this informational piece, we explain how to build a wine cellar and how Wine Racks America can help you keep your wine in excellent condition.

What to Know Before You Start Building a Wine Cellar

The way you go about making a wine cellar ultimately depends on whether you’re starting from scratch or remodeling an existing space. In this section, we’re setting up the process of building a wine cellar in either situation with some quick tips to keep in mind before you start.

If You’re Making a Wine Cellar From Scratch

Building a wine cellar from scratch can be an exciting process. You have the major advantage of access to the bare studs before sheetrock or greenboard have been installed. Since you have that access, you can easily wrap your wall studs and floor and ceiling joists without any issues. While you’re at it, we also recommend using a plastic vapor barrier to eliminate moisture condensation in the room. This will ultimately help you control the climate in your cellar space for long term wine storage.

Additionally, as this is a remodeling project, we advise you to obtain a permit and follow all local, state and national building codes, as well.

If You’re Making a Wine Cellar By Remodeling

Remodeling a space to create a wine cellar can be a fun addition within your home. In a finished space, you have existing wall boards, wiring, climate control and other obstacles to deal with.

Building a Wine Cellar in 8 Easy Steps

Whether you’re starting from the ground up or remodeling, you have the power to design your wine cellar just to your liking. To create the ideal storage solution for your vino, our experts recommend the following steps.

1. Select a Location

When building a wine cellar in your home, the location you choose is very important. The space’s overall temperature and climate control will greatly impact the cost of maintaining your cellar. You want to set up your wine cellar in the coolest, most humid place in your home. We highly recommend making a wine cellar in your basement because it typically offers the perfect climate.

Whether you go that route or choose a different location, you want to aim for a temperature ranging between 55° to 58° F and a humidity level of 55% to 75%. The closer you are to that climate, the smaller size cooling unit you’ll need and the lower the overall cost will be. If the surrounding environment’s average yearly temperature is around 85° F rather than 65° F, you’ll want to purchase a larger cooling unit to maintain the proper conditions. It’s also important to keep in mind that a dry environment will require a more frequent introduction of humidity.

2. If You’re Starting From Scratch, Install the Studs

Building a wine cellar from the ground up requires you to stud the space and frame out the area. Before you start, make sure to seal the concrete foundation walls. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to begin with the installation. Select either 2×4 or 2×6 construction. We recommend using 2×6 construction if you want to increase the insulation value while minimizing the cooling unit size and energy consumption. The concept of studding is similar to adding additional insulation to your home to minimize your monthly utility bills.

3. Select & Install Your Insulation & Vapor Barrier

To go about this step, you can either use spray foam or a 6 mil vapor barrier and fiberglass batts. While spray foam is normally more expensive, it will help prevent the chance of a puncture mark in your vapor barrier. Regardless of which method you choose, make sure there are no air gaps between the insulation and drywall before starting.

If you’re building a wine cellar from scratch, we recommend installing a 6 mil vapor barrier on the back side of your wall studs before you lift them into position.

As you go about installing your vapor barrier, make sure to leave excess amounts at the corners. By doing this, you can wrap it, overlap the seams and tape them shut. Once you’ve done that, fill all holes in the studs and joists with fire-rated penetration sealant to reduce air movement.

If you’re making a wine cellar by remodeling, it’s fine to wrap the existing studs. When you do this, make sure the vapor barrier is on the exterior cellar wall.

After installing the vapor barrier, it’s time to put insulation in the stud and joist cavities. Keep in mind, it’s important to insulate the entire cavities and leave as little air as possible.

4. Electrical Outlet Placement

When building a wine cellar, you want to place the outlets in dead spaces at the corners where your racks come together. Don’t make the mistake of placing the outlet outside of this area, or it may be obstructed by one of the wine rack posts. When it comes to high reveals and other accent lighting, we recommend placing your electrical outlets on a switch.

5. Wall & Floor Coverings

After placing the electrical outlets, it’s time to cover the walls and ceiling. To do this, you’ll need material that’s resistant to the high humidity conditions your cellar will have. We recommend using water resistant drywall (also known as “green board”). Screw the drywall into the walls and ceiling, and use fire-rated penetration sealant to seal around all penetrations on both sides of the wine cellar.

From there, move on to finishing the drywall. Run it all the way to the floor and don’t allow any gaps. Once that’s complete, paint the drywall with a good primer and use a water-based exterior grade paint.

When it comes to installing flooring, we recommend using bare concrete or hardwood flooring. Steer clear of other materials like carpet and vinyl because they can rot and buckle. If you choose hardwood, allow a 1/2″ gap around the perimeter to permit room expansion.

6. Install a Wine Cellar Door

When it comes to building a wine cellar, not just any door will do. Keep in mind, the goal is to maintain specific temperatures and humidity levels. As a result, you’ll need an exterior grade door that seals off the wine cellar from other rooms in your home. The door should be sealed on three sides with weather-stripping material and a door sweep on the bottom.

7. Lighting

Now, you’re ready to select your lighting. There are few limitations when it comes to lighting your wine cellar, but it’s best to use thermal LED lights to help with climate control. We recommend avoiding UV lights because they can have harmful effects on long-term storage items like wine bottles.

8. Fill with Your Favorite Wine

After making a wine cellar in your home, it’s time to put it to good use. Stock up on your favorite brands to use on special occasions or for those “just because” times. After building a wine cellar, you can rest assured knowing your vino collection will maintain its good condition and be ready to enjoy.

Create Your Ideal Wine Cellar with Wine Racks America

Sit back, relax and open a bottle of your favorite vino. Why? Because when it comes to building a wine cellar in your home, Wine Racks America is here to do all the grunt work. Whether you’re wondering about how to build a wine cellar in your basement or need other wine cellar ideas, our expert team is happy to help. From closet remodels to one-of-a-kind cellars, we can do it all. We’re proud to manufacture and distribute the industry’s most trusted brands of wood and metal wine racks. To get started on making a wine cellar, get a quote for our wine cellar design services today!

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