Saturday, 17 October 2009

Wine Cellar Conversion

Converting a damp unused cellar for another use has become a popular form of home improvement.  Conversion to a wine storage cellar is a very popular option.  

Cellars are naturally cool humid places not subject to the wild temperature fluctuations that occur above ground and many people choose to use the cellar in its original condition. This may be OK for short-term storage and for relatively inexpensive wines, but for long-term storage of fine expensive wines it is important to eliminate natural daylight and to achieve accurate control over the temperature and humidity.

Waterproofing cellar with cavity drainage membrane and render.

A sump and pump system is installed (far corner) and a wall floor joint drainage channel is installed (Waterguard) - visible as a grey strip at the wall floor joint.

Once the new floor slab is laid, with waterproof floor membrane, the cellar is ready for fitting out.

See full case history of this wine cellar conversion

The daylight issue is easy, cellars are often devoid of natural light any way and you can block up or put shutters over any windows that there might be (please note that if the cellar is to be classed as living accommodation in any way an escape window must be present in order to comply with building regulations).
Some wine cellars occupy the whole of the cellar space, often these are 'under pavement vaults' or small cellars, which were, perhaps the original coal cellar. In these cases the whole cellar must have a totally controlled environment, which means an airtight door, is required. Airtight doors made of lacquered steel with thick layers of insulation are available for this very purpose. Certain models come with a heating and air conditioning unit built into them, which is an ideal way of achieving total environmental control in one go.   Otherwise a separate heating, ventilating and air-conditioning unit will need to be installed which vents to the outside of the cellar.
These units are capable of controlling the temperature to within 3 degrees Celsius, which is the normal range for a good quality wine storage environment. Of course it makes sense to insulate the cellar as best you can in order to minimise the energy use of the temperature control unit. This can be done using traditional insulation methods and by using an insulated membrane for the waterproofing such as ThermalDry Wall Floor membrane

Where the wine storage area is to be only part of a larger cellar you may not want to have the other parts at the same temperature as the wine area and you may also wish to have natural ventilation and daylight in the other areas. Indeed if the other areas are to be used as part of the living accommodation, there will be building regulations requiring you to have these features, which would clash with the requirements for wine storage. In such cases a 'wine vault'

may be the answer. These are literally prefabricated airtight rooms (the size of a very large cupboard) , which can be assembled, down in the basement and include insulated wall panels and door with the heating and air-conditioning unit built in. They represent a very neat solution for the multi-purpose cellar conversion, where wine storage is only a part of the overall usage.

To find out more information on these systems see see wine storage systems

1 comment:

  1. I always dream of a house with a basement...turn it into a theatre room.. It may require a lot of waterproofing job, but it's worth it

    Basement Conversion