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You should follow all local, state, and national building codes when building your wine cellar and purchase a obtain permit if necessary.

Step 1: Wine Cellar location:

“Can I put a wine cellar anywhere in the home?” You bet! But the location the location will have an impact on the cost of maintaining your cellar’s temperature and humidity. An ideal location for a wine cellar should be in the coolest and most humid place in your home. Smaller sized cooling units will work closer you are to the 55°-58° F temperature and 55-75% humidity that your wine will need, the smaller size cooling unit you will need and the lower the overall cost will be. We will perform a heat loss calculation for your suggested wine cellar space which takes into consideration the surrounding environment and determines the BTU’s required. If the surrounding environment has an average yearly temperature of 85°, compared to an average temperature of 65° then you will have to purchase a larger cooling unit in order to maintain proper conditions. A dry environment will also require a more frequent introduction of humidity.

Step 2.1: Studs

Seal the concrete foundation walls prior to installing studs. (Stop: Review Step 4 now, if you decide to use the 6 mil vapor barrier with new construction, you must do that step during studding. If you choose spray foam then continue with this step as outlined.) Then use either 2x4 or 2x6 construction. The 2x6 construction is used when you want to increase the insulation value in order to minimize cooling unit size and energy consumption. This is similar to adding additional insulation to your home in order to minimize your monthly utility bills.

Step 2.2: Ceiling soffits with lighting:

If your plans include a soffit to cover ducting, piping, or other obstructions, it is important to note the lighting location. Lights installed in the soffit should be placed far enough away so they do not interfere with the finished racking and/or ducting depth, including depth of crown molding. You will want to ask for the final depth of your racking including the crown molding at this location and then make sure to allow for the size of the ring on the light fixture as well. A good rule to follow is to leave a 1” gap from the front of the crown molding to the closest edge of the ring on the can light. You also want to make sure to use IC can lights so you can insulate around them.

Step 3.1: WineZone Air Handler Split Refrigeration rough-in:

If you are purchasing a ducted WineZone Air Handler you will need to run the ducting and line set at this stage. The ducting will be in the wine cellar and running to the air handler which is normally placed in a mechanical room. The line set runs from the air handler location to the condenser location (standard condensers are located outdoors, but indoor option is available.) Additionally, a drain line and electric need to be ran. For more information on these units please click on this link.

Step 3.2: WineZone Ductless Split Refrigeration rough-in:
If you are purchasing a WineZone ductless split you will need to run the line set at this stage. The line set is run from the ductless split location to the condenser location, standard condensers are located outdoors, but indoor option is available. A drain line and electric also need to be put in at this time. Note: The mounting plate shown is for clarity and is not installed until unit is on site and cellar wall is complete. For more information on these units please click on this link.
Step 3.3: Self-contained cooling unit rough-in:

If you plan cool using a self-contained cooling unit, you will need to make a hole in the wall. The hole needs to be adequate for your cooling unit. Also, you need to run an electrical outlet near the cut space. Depending on the type of unit, the outlet may need to be on the inside or outside. Many of these units also require a drain line, so a location for a condensate drain is required. Some of these units do not have the ability to add humidity to a wine cellar. To add humidity to your cellar, consider adding a separate humidifier and a 110V electrical outlet. For more information on these units please click on this link.

Step 4.1: Insulation and vapor barrier types:

The two common methods for wine cellar are insulation and vapor barriers. Spray foam or 6 mil vapor barrier and fiberglass batts. Spray foam is normally more expensive, but it will prevent the possibility of a puncture mark in your vapor barrier (as a 6 mil vapor barrier is not necessary when using spray foam) caused by insertion of screws, running wire, plumbing, etc. into or through the wall from outside the wine cellar. With non-shrinking closed cell spray foam the screw will not compromise the enclosure and the foam will expand to fill all the crevices to ensure a tight seal. We not have recommendations of brands but this link will show you one brand that will work for this application.

Step 4.2: Vapor barrier for new construction:

For new construction (where spray foam will not be used,) it is recommended that you install a 6 mil vapor barrier on the back side of your wall studs before lifting them into position. The ceiling joists will also need to be wrapped (as shown). Some cities local codes specify all vapor barriers must be installed on the warm side of the cellar. In those areas we highly recommend you switch to the spray foam insulation.
Step 4.3: Vapor barrier for remodeling construction:

In a remodeling project, it is OK to wrap the existing studs in the room as shown like the ceiling joists. Make sure the vapor barrier is on the warm side of the wine cellar or the exterior cellar wall.

Step 4.4: Wrapping walls and filling holes:

It is critical to leave excess vapor barrier at the corners so it can wrap and overlap the seams and tuck tape (not duct tape) shut. Fill all holes in studs and joists with fire rated penetration sealant to reduce air movement.

We are not recommending this company specifically but here is a link to a company that sells this product.

Step 4.5: Insulation:

After the vapor barrier has been installed add insulation in the stud and joist cavities. The most common insulation used is fiberglass batts. In 2x4 wall cavity using fiberglass you will achieve R-13 value. In 2x6 wall cavity using fiberglass you will achieve R-19 value. To remove air cavities, make sure to “fluff” insulation.

Step 5.1: Electrical outlet placement for general use:

We make the recommendations for placement but it’s important to follow your local building codes.

For wine cellars, the ideal location for outlets is in racking dead space or corners. Other locations of outlets might be obstruction. We would be happy to provide you with a specific outlet plan and elevation for your cellar.

Step 5.2: Electrical outlet placement for high reveal display lighting:

If your wine cellar contains our lighting in the high reveal displays, the location can vary. It is not necessary to place an electrical outlet in immediate area of the high reveal racking. If the outlet is located in a dead space, the cord will be able to reach it up to 6 feet. For easy of access, you can install the outlet in a different location. Again, we would be happy to provide you with a specific outlet plan and elevation for your cellar.

We recommended placing accent lighting on a switch.

Step 6.1: Drywall:

After the installation of the studs, vapor barrier, insulation, and electrical outlets the next step is the walls and ceiling finish materials. You will need to use materials that are resistant to the high humidity conditions of a wine cellar. The most common choice for wall and ceiling coverings is water resistant drywall (commonly referred to as green board). This is the same drywall that is utilized in bathrooms and kitchens of most homes and easily obtainable. It is specifically recommended that the green board be screwed to the studs. Use fire rated penetration sealant to seal around all penetration on both sides of wine cellar.

It is critical to run the drywall to the floor because the base molding will attached to the front of the racking. It is not recommended to install moldings on the wall behind the racking due to the racking being flush with the wall.

Step 6.2: Drywall painting:

Prime the drywall and then use an exterior water-based paint. It is not recommended to use oil or solvent based paints as can leave a lingering odor. Paint should cover the entire surface top to bottom because of the lack of moldings.

Step 6.3: Alternate wall and ceiling materials:

Tongue and groove material is a decorative option to cover your walls and ceiling. Ideally it would complement the wood, stain, and/or lacquer that will be on the racking. Before installing, screw ¾” marine grade plywood to studs to attach T & G to.

Step 7.1: Flooring:

Wine cellar flooring materials need to be resistant to high humidity environments. Carpet and vinyl flooring is not recommended. Bare concrete floor can be used as long as it is sealed. Tiles, cork, or hardwood flooring are most decorative options.

Wood flooring needs to be acclimated to wine cellar conditions 48 hours before installing. Please allow for expansion with 1/2” gap around the perimeter.

Step 7.2: Alternate Ceiling material:

For an aesthetically different look to your wine cellar, consider a raised panel ceiling. We can provide you a design & quote for a raised panel ceiling for most wine cellar spaces.

Step 8: Door Installation:

For an environmentally controlled wine cellar, an exterior grade door is required. Interior doors will not be able to keep the temperature and humidity inside the wine cellar.

Exterior doors with glass may be used as long as they are thermopaned to allow for insulation properties and to avoid condensate on the glass from the temperature differential. Also, solid wood doors are a decorative option that works well in wine cellars.

Step 9: Lighting:

There is no scientific evidence currently available that confirms any harmful effects of UV lighting on long term storage of wine. Some industry professional recommend steering clear of UV lighting if possible. For can lighting, please use thermally fused can lights, also referred to as IC rated cans.

Step 10: Wine cellar design final revision:

Once your wine cellar room construction is complete, please submit final dimensions. Your wine cellars are very accurate dimensionally to within 1/16”. It is ideal for your custom wine cellar to be made to fit your wine cellar space than remaking the racking to fit guessed dimensions.

At final revision, it’s a good time to review with us the wood, stain, finish, and other options you want included in your final quote.

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