Why Waterproofing is a necessity in Wine Cellars

Building a basement wine cellar offers several benefits to wine connoisseurs. It provides easy and direct access to a collection of wine. For those looking to collect vintage wine, a wine cellar allows you to purchase and store young vintage wine that will increase in value and taste over time. Financially, a wine cellar can prove to be a lucrative investment as it can significantly increase the value of a property.

It is vital that the cellar is in a room that has as little exposure to direct sunlight as possible as the temperature and humidity of the room have an integral role in wine preserving its qualities. This is why basements are an appropriate location for passive wine cellars due to its concrete walls and consistent temperatures. However, failing to waterproof a basement wine cellar could cause disastrous consequences to not just the quality of the wine but also the property.

Flooding of the basement due to clogging of the sewer condominium exhaust system

CONSEQUENCES TO PROPERTY

Although wine cellars have the potential to increase the value of a property, a flooded or damp basement will have the opposite effect. Ignoring a damp problem in a wine cellar may lead to rot in the basement structure which can significantly damage the structural integrity of the property. It is important not to ignore any signs of damp that exist in the wine cellar as damp problems are prone to become more expensive and complicated to resolve if ignored.

IMPACT OF DAMP BASEMENT ON WINE

Water ingress into the basement can come from several sources such as a leaky pipe or leak in the foundation. It is strongly advised that the basement wine cellar is waterproofed as failure to do so could potentially cause water ingress as hydrostatic pressure forces water to the lowest possible point. Damp conditions are often associated with mould which can spread over time. This mould could affect the appearance of vintage wine as it may spread to labels of wine bottles in the cellar.  

If there is any excess moisture or water on the floor, then the cellar should not include wooden wine racks as the damp conditions can significantly deteriorate the racks. Damp and soggy wooden racks will rot over time and this rot will severely affect the structural integrity of the wine rack. There is a danger the rot will cause the rack eventually collapse and smash all the bottles of wine it holds in the process. Water collecting on the floor would also suggest that a drainage system needs to be installed to create an exit point for water ingress so it can not build up on the basement floor.

on fungus mold weathered wall

HOW TO SPOT WATER DAMAGE

Peeling Paint – Water  through the walls may result in peeling paint along the basement walls

MouldAny detection of mould in the basement would suggest there is an ongoing damp problem that hasn’t been treated. The mould should be removed immediately as the mould can spread around the cellar if left untreated.  

Buckling Walls – If the walls appear to be bowed inwards, this indicates damage to the walls has been caused due to water pressing down on the structure. This process occurs by hydrostatic pressure.

Cracked Walls – Cracked walls are likely to be the result of severe pressure or structural damage to the basement walls.

MY BASEMENT IS DAMP AND I WANT TO BUILD A WINE CELLAR

While damp issues can cause structural damage to a basement wine cellar, these problems are completely avoidable if the right precautions are taken in time. You may need to consider waterproofing the basement to ensure there is no possibility of water ingress to the wine cellar.

By Jake Ryan of Wise Basement Systems

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