How to Build a Wine Cellar in Your Basement
If you love wine, having a wine cellar in your house can enhance your wine experience and be a convenient way to store your most precious bottles. Fortunately, it’s simple to build a wine cellar if you have the drive, the suitable materials and a little creativity to make it all your own.
This guide will tell you how to build a wine cellar in your basement and give you some inspiration on how to personalize it to fit your particular style and lifestyle.
Understand What You Need For A Successful Wine Cellar
First things first, you need to understand what you need to construct your wine cellar. It’s a good idea to have all your materials together at the beginning so you’re not scrambling or running out for anything once you start. Remember, your wine cellar needs to be structurally sound and functional, so make sure that you don’t skimp on quality.
Choose The Space
Before you begin, you have to make sure that you have a space that’s consistently between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Your wine needs to be cool but not too chilly. The humidity level of your cellar should also be between 50 and 70 percent to ensure good maturation and preservation of the wine.
Since most of us live in areas where temperatures fluctuate a lot, I’ve outlined how to install a proper cooling unit a little later in this article. Your space should also be free of vibrations and a lot of noise and preferably reasonably dark. Wine doesn’t do well with a lot of light exposure.
Ultimately, it may help to envision those wine cellars of old, the ones that were actually inside root cellars or even caves. Think about the conditions in those places and see if you can recreate that same feel in your basement.
Have Proper Materials
Is your basement up to scratch? Great! Now it’s time to collect all of the materials that you need to build the wine cellar of your dreams. First, you need your wine racks. You can choose which kind of racks work for you, but make sure they are sturdy and plentiful enough to hold all of your delicious wine. Then, you need a door for the cellar.
Your wine cellar can’t just be exposed to the open air. It needs to be sealed off from the rest of the house. Again, your door can match your decor, but it should be airtight enough to keep your wine bottles fresh and secure.
Now that you have those two primary, big items, it’s time to focus on the smaller things you will need to properly erect your wine racks and make your perfect wine cellar.
- 35 furring strips
- Paint of your choosing
- Nail gun
- Measuring tape
Last but not least, don’t forget your safety goggles and gloves. Also, wear heavy shoes when you’re in the basement, especially when you’re constructing elements of your cellar. There could be bits of wood or nails on the ground, and you don’t want to risk an injury.
Setting Up The Proper Conditions For Your Wine Cellar
Now it’s time to make sure that the conditions are perfectly suitable for setting up your wine cellar. Double-checking your basement requirements will allow you to rest easy that your wine is being taken care of. Once you’ve ticked off all of these boxes, you can feel free to get to the fun stuff: making your wine cellar your own and celebrating with a fine glass of vino.
Make Sure Your Room Is Leak-Free
Your basement can’t be leaky if you want to have a wine cellar in it. Since subterranean rooms are notoriously watery, it’s essential for you to do everything in your power to ensure that your wine won’t get damp while it’s down there. Ideally, you will want to make sure that the room is hermetically sealed or totally free from any moisture.
You can do this by changing the wine cellar so that it’s more waterproof. The following three steps will help you to accomplish this. Ensure that you give appropriate attention to each one to ensure that your wine cellar is shielded from the elements as much as possible.
Seal Your Floor
If you have a rug in your wine cellar, get rid of it. Carpets trap moisture and don’t make good editions to any hermetically sealed area. Instead, the best flooring material is concrete. Although concrete is hard, and we usually don’t think of it as something that can retain water, it has pores that you need to seal off from the elements.
That’s why it’s essential to seal your floor. Choose your sealant wisely, preferably picking something that is a penetrating mixture. It should say that right on the container. If your floor is something other than concrete, make sure that the sealant will work with it as well.
Set Up Your Vapor Barrier
Your vapor barrier is made up of plastic sheets that work in conjunction with your installation to keep moisture out. You need to install it on the outside of the cellar, also known as the “warm side.” The vapor barrier’s job is to pick up any moisture that might accumulate, and it can get moldy if put on the “cool side” or the side where your wine cellar is.
Fur The Walls
Remember those 35 furring strips? This is where you use them. Furring strips are essentially tiny pieces of wood that are used to ward off dampness. In other words, they are a great thing to have in an area that you need to be hermetically sealed. Although the strips are furry, like the name suggests, they are used to work in conjunction with spray foam to keep moisture away from your wine cellar.
Although the process of fully furring your walls might be tedious, it is necessary to do so to ensure that your wine cellar is as dry as possible. You should install furring strips every 12 to 16 inches, depending on the size of your space.
Install A Cooling Unit
Since wine cellars have to be at a specific temperature at all times, you should install a cooling unit. Every wine cellar is different, and the size and shape of the unit you need will depend mainly on how extensive your basement cellar is. Once you’ve determined this, you can choose a cooling unit that will keep the space at between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Those who live in cooler climates will generally have an easier time keeping their wine fresh and at the appropriate temperature, but if you live somewhere hot, you will want to ensure that your cooling unit can do its job.
Make The Wine Cellar Your Own
Now that you have the basics down, the fun stuff starts! This wine cellar is a place where you will be storing all of your most prized possessions, so it should reflect your style and attitude. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there to make your wine cellar your own.
Choose The Right Door For You
As we said earlier, your wine cellar needs a door that protects it from the rest of the house and keeps it hermetically sealed and at the appropriate temperature. The door style you choose is totally up to you, but it needs to fit these two requirements.
There are a few different types of material that you can choose from. Many people prefer glass-paneled doors for aesthetic purposes, but these options really don’t offer the kind of insulation that a good wine cellar needs. If you do go with glass, make sure that it is flush to the ceiling and the floor and that it’s double-paned.
You could also opt for a wooden door. There are plenty of styles to choose from these days, and wood does afford your wine cellar a little bit more protection.
Paint and Finish the Walls
Now that you have your door in place, it’s time to paint the walls. This is where you can get really creative with colors or even different styles of wallpaper and designs. You should always use water-based paints and stains for your wine cellar, and make sure that you allow the color enough time to dry before putting the wine in.
Paint and seal your walls, give them ample time to dry, and then get ready to put the finishing touches on your room.
Set Up Your Wine Racks
You have two options here: you can either set up your wine racks first or plan out the other elements of your wine cellar and then set up the shelves. Some people like a sparse and clean wine cellar, whereas others prefer one that is cozy, almost like a mini-den in their basement.
Think about the type of decor that you want, and equip your wine cellar with racks and furniture accordingly. The gold standard of wine racks are wooden ones. They are ideal for keeping your wine safe and also aiding with the aging process. You can get wooden shelves in virtually any design and color that you see fit.
Striking a Balance Between Sophistication and Utility
The most important thing that you can do is to strike the right note between sophistication and utility. Of course, you will want your wine cellar to reflect your personal tastes, but it also needs to be practical enough to keep your wine safe. After all, the goal of any wine cellar is to help the wine mature properly.
When choosing your wine racks, weigh these two options, and don’t be afraid to spend a little bit extra on some quality racks. You will certainly not regret your investment.
Personal Touches and Style
Once all of the nuts and bolts of installing your wine rack are done, it’s time to focus on the personal touches. Some people prefer their wine cellars to simply be a place where they keep their immense collection of wine. Others like to entertain down there. Truthfully, a wine cellar can be a pretty cool underground den, almost like a secret room.
Think about your personal aesthetic and start to decorate the room with touches that speak to you. You might want to hire a professional interior designer to help you put it all together.
Stone is a great accent material for any wine cellar. In fact, it recalls visions of old-time wine cellars, the ones that were actually in caves. Add a little bit of stone to your wine cellar, and you’re certainly dabbling in a fun type of charisma.
You can add as much or as little as you would like. Stone looks great on an accent wall or as part of a rustic bar.
Wallpaper is a retro, cool way to add a little fun to your wine cellar. These days, wallpaper doesn’t have to be stodgy. You can get it in all sorts of fun patterns or even metallic colors. Like stone, you can use wallpaper to spice up an accent wall or even put it on in strips around the wine cellar.
If you want to pretend that you’re James Bond, why not give your wine cellar a secret lair vibe? You can do this by decorating the room in jewel tones and adding some sophisticated furniture. Put in a private bar down there, and make sure that you serve your best vintages right in the cellar itself.
Properly equipped wine cellars can make incredible venues for hosting intimate gatherings and are a great place to do small wine tastings.
If you want to show off your wine collection in style, consider building a wine cellar in your basement. It’s easier than you might think, and you’ll cherish it for years to come.
If you’re looking for quality wooden wine storage racks for your wine cellar, check out my post here.