Build Your Own Wine Cellar in Only Days!
First of all, do research. Read through all the sites offering wine cellar kits . The best ones are www.vintage.com, and the even better www.rosehill.com . These sites will offer you a virtual tour where you can browse and study what they have to offer. Prices vary from $3,000 to $4000 but can increase with the quality of the racks you’ll install. This may seem like an expensive DIY project but remember that a wine cellar will increase your home’s resale value.
Most people place their cellars below ground although some have put wine cellars on first and even second floors. This is usually seen in bigger homes (read mansions) or of you have a lot of space. Also you have to make sure your flooring can support the cellar’s weight. The safest bet is in your basement that can withstand the combined poundage of the cooler and racks.
Before you begin anything make sure the area is ready for a wine cellar. All walls must have a vapor barrier and insulation of some kind. The interior walls must have a minimum of R-11 insulation while the exteriors walls must have the minimum of R-19. The ceiling must have the same R 19 as well. Wine cellar floors need only a vapor barrier and a concrete sealant over it. Any above ground floors need to have the same R-19 insulation. Remember that your vapor barrier itself (which is nothing more than a 6mm thick polyethelene plastic sheeting) should be on the ‘warm” side of the cellar . The warm side means that the sheeting is facing outward , away from the wine cellar’s “cold” side. Insulation separates the two sides.. If you install this sheeting on the cold side, humidity will build up and damage the walls.
The first step is sealing your cellar’s floor with some kind of water based sealant. Make sure that it’s going to be compatible with any tile adhesive if you’re planning on tiling the floor later on. After this it’s time to install more of the barrier on the walls and ceiling. Fur out your walls using 2′ by 2′ one 2′ by 4; Cleotex R-max types that have both sides covered in foil. Use 3″ strips for the exterior walls and ceiling. Check for any air leaks from existing pipes or vents
The next step is installing your door. Pick out a good solid insulated one such as the kind that connect a garage to a house. You can install a paned or windowed door but keep in mind that it’s not going to be as effective as a windowless one. Also fiberglass and wood ones are out because they are not properly insulated. Install the door and frame according to manufacturer’s instructions and add an extra panel of foam insulation on the door’s interior. After make sure the weather stripping is in place and the door is air tight.
The next big step is framing your cooler. Ideally this should go in the back because you don’t want to ruin the rooms’ aesthetic with a clunky looking refrigerator. Place a 2′ by 4′ crosswise over the desire area -approximately 6 inches down from the cellar’s ceiling .The lower board will act as a support for most of the cooler’s weight. You can install a second 2′ by 4′ at right angles for extra support. Make sure the refrigeration system will fit into this or you’ll have to rebuild the entire space. The next and final steps are the walls and lights. Use green board drywall to finish off the walls and you can later put up durable paneling such as redwood. Put the panels up in strips. After this you can now install the lighting. Stay away from any recessed kinds because they are an escape point for your much needed cold air. A simple bulb can do the trick or just a hanging overhead one is fine.. Also place your light switches on the outside. Interior switches will just get in the way of your wine racks.
A wine cellar is a lush but relatively easy addition to anyone’s house. If you’re a oenophile you should treat yourself to this luxury. It only takes a few days to build and then – voila – a lifetime of your favorite Cabernets at your fingertips !