How to Build a Wine Cellar

Have questions about wine cellar construction? We have answers.

When it comes to creating a custom wine cellar, even the D-I-Yer (Do-It-Yourselfer) shouldn’t go at it alone. That’s why Wine Guardian is here for answers to some of your most common questions.

If you aren’t looking to build your wine cellar yourself, finding the right craftsman with a flair for your style and your budget can be challenging. The contractor not only has to have the technical ability to install a variety of wine racking systems, but should be proficient in the proper construction techniques of a wine cellar. Find our certified wine cellar builder in your area now!

How do I Frame Out my Wine Cellar?

Framing out your wine cellar is the initial step in the building process.  Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • 2″X4″ wood studs are generally used for the walls, but 2″x6″ studs can be used for thicker insulation
  • Ceilings can be framed with furring strips against floor or roof joists
  • The vapor barrier must be installed (carefully) first and be looped up into the joist space to form a complete seal
  • The insulation should then be pushed up into the joist space and held in place by the furring strips or other framing
  • If the walls are against an outside foundation wall, there should be a minimum 1-inch gap between the walls for air circulation purposes
  • It’s easier if the vapor barrier is installed on the wall, as it is framed on the floor before it is tipped up into place
framing walls of a wine cellar

Why is a Vapor Barrier Important?

Vapor Barrier: An enclosure around an entire room which is needed to control humidity.

When using conventional insulation, a minimum of 4 mil. plastic is recommended with seams overlapped and taped. The vapor barrier must be installed on the outside (or warm side) of the cellar insulation. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the vapor barrier and potentially wetting the insulation and forming mold.

Closed-cell foam does not require additional 4 mil. plastic and acts as both cellar insulation and a vapor barrier.

creating a vapor barrier during wine cellar construction

What is the best way to insulate my wine cellar?

The entire wine cellar should be insulated to conserve energy, stabilize temperatures and control humidity. Minimum insulation:

  •  3½ inches (9 cm) in walls
  • 6 inches (15 cm) in ceiling

Putting 6 inch (15 cm) insulation all around is a better option.

insulated wine cellar

Insulate the Floor?!

If there is space below the floor, the floor should be insulated as well from below.  If the floor is existing concrete, insulating it will be difficult.  Therefore, its impact on the heat load should be considered when sizing the wine room cooling unit.  If the floor does not have a vapor barrier beneath it, a waterproof sealer is recommended before any other flooring such as wood or carpet is installed.

Read the Wine Showcases White Paper Below:

Wine Showcases PDF

Additional Articles:

Selecting a room for wine storage

Designing a wine cellar

Building a wine cellar in your business

Building a wine cellar in restaurants & bars

Heating your wine cellar 

Air-cooled and water-cooled wine cellars

More Posts

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Selecting a Room for Wine Storage
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Selecting a Wine Cellar Builder/Contractor