by Todd L., Wine Enthusiast Companies
If you are planning to build a wine cellar, there are certain steps that need to be taken in order for the room to perform properly and maintain ideal wine storage conditions of both temperature (55 degrees) and humidity (60-65% relative humidity). To ensure that this happens, follow our basic steps which involve common building materials, all obtainable from any building or home supply store.
- Framing lumber
- Green board (moisture-resistant sheet rock)
- Rigid foam insulation
- Vapor barrier (rolled plastic sheeting)
- Floor tile (ceramic, porcelain or rubber)
- Exterior grade insulated door
The key is to apply the materials in the correct order. It goes without saying that our wine storage consultants can help with this process, but with these simple tools, you can also prep the room yourself.
Once you’ve determined the size and location of the room and framed all the walls, it’s time to install the vapor barrier. The vapor barrier is the outer most layer of the room. Think of it this way: if your wine room is a Styrofoam cooler and the vapor barrier is a plastic trash bag, then you are putting the cooler inside the bag. Wine rooms are often in the basement of the house which typically have a concrete floor. This can make it difficult to apply the vapor barrier like you do for the walls and ceiling. Using a rubber, ceramic or porcelain tile and sealing the grout can achieve the same goal.
The Styrofoam cooler reference leads me to the next point: insulation. We recommend you use rigid foam insulation, instead of fiberglass or cellulose. Because you’re trying to create a high-humidity environment, there is going to be moisture. Unlike with rigid foam, the insulating value (R value) of fiberglass or cellulose is weakened by moisture. Rigid foam is also easier to install.
The door to the wine room and also any other windows that you have in the room should be insulated as well. Any glass should be at least double pained so that it insulates better and reduces the chance of condensation on the glass. The doors and windows should be exterior grade, meaning they are designed to keep the weather out of your house, and will keep the cool in your wine room!
Finally, we have the interior walls. If you choose to use dry wall, then you want to use the moisture-resistant green board that is also used in bathrooms. When painting the walls, use a latex based semi gloss paint. You can also use stucco, stone, wood paneling or tongue & groove as well, as long as it is not aromatic, like cedar.
If you have any questions or want us to send you a copy of our room prep guide, give us a call at 800.377.3330 or fill out our Wine Cellar Design Form. Cheers!
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