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How To Build A Wine Cellar

LOCATION: The ideal location is in the basement.

DESIGN: Vigilantinc.com and some other sites offer a “Design Your Own Cellar” program. Create a virtual cellar of exact dimensions, door placement, and placement of differing racks. More than one design can be created for comparison. As each rack is added, the program calculates the cost including shipping. And a free CAD design is available via e-mail.

FRAMING: Frame ceiling and outside walls with 2” X 6” studs. Frame walls facing the inside of house with 2” X 4” or 2” X 6” studs.

OUTSIDE WALLS: Sheetrock the warm side of walls. Use 1/2” drywall of moisture resistant green board for walls and ceiling. Paint with mildew resistant primer and paint, or install other ceiling materials over the drywall.

INSULATION: Use a minimum of R-13 on inside walls and a minimum of R-19 on outside walls and ceiling. Use 6 ml polyethylene on warm side of walls and ceilings. Check local building codes.

INSIDE WALLS: Use 1/2” drywall moisture resistant green board for walls and ceiling, and paint with mildew resistant paint. Other wall and ceiling materials may be installed over the drywall.

FLOORS: Use a waterproof concrete material on floor. Install moisture resistant materials, such as tile, stone, brick, or treated cork tiles.

DOOR: An exterior grade insulated door complete with jamb and weather stripping is required. If using glass, it must be double and thermal paned.

REFRIGERATION: Models that vent through a wall to an adjacent room are the simplest to install, but they are not engineered for installation into ductwork, ceilings, or flooring. Split systems (separate evaporator and condenser units) are more expensive to purchase and to install. They must be installed by a certified refrigeration technician.

RACKING: Racks must be constructed of non-aromatic hardwoods, such as Redwood, Mahogany, or Western Red Cedar. The racks at vigilant.com, created in virtual designs, are 77.5 inches high (verses the 72 inches high of most racks). Made of Mahogany (finished or unfinished), they fit together and offer trim work for a custom look. Samples of wood are available at no cost, which are useful when selecting complementing paint colors or wall, ceiling, and floor covering. These pre-drilled racks are assembled with a screwdriver.


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