Generally, flooring for wine cellars can come from many sources and complements the overall décor and ambiance of the space. What is hardly ever used is carpet because of the cool, humid environment needed for aging and storing wines. These conditions could contribute to mold or mustiness in the fibers of the carpet.
Most wine cellars are built in a lower level of a home, usually a basement, which may have a concrete slab floor. Concrete will need to be sealed and a vapor barrier should be applied. This is especially important if the wine cellar will have refrigeration installed to maintain a constant temperature and humidity level. The vapor barrier is usually applied to the warmer side of the space, but in dry climates like Arizona, the vapor barrier is placed closer to what you want to retain moisture. Floor should be applied to a level surface, and base trim or moldings should be eliminated behind your wine racks.
Your flooring choice should also be able to retain the weight of the contents of your cellar (racking, cabinetry, furniture, and wine). A typical rule is 500 bottles weighs approximately a ton (2,000 pounds). This is particularly important if your wine cellar is above another living space.
Concrete slab floors can limit flooring choices. You can't put wood planking or floor stripping over concrete easily. Manufactured wood or laminate flooring can be placed over a moisture barrier because they can “float” over the concrete without fastening to it. However, the humidity in the cellar might cause the floor to buckle. Ceramic tile or stone is a better choice, but you will need to create a raised threshold at the door to create a tight seal on the room. Vinyl sheet flooring is a good option because it is durable and will not buckle. You can also paint or texturize the concrete slab itself.
You can use wood flooring for your wine cellar if you are not installing directly onto concrete. Sealed hardwood is an industry mainstay in wine cellar construction. Wood boarders are another good choice because you can add an artistic element to your cellar that reflects your personality. Many of these borders have grapes or floral motifs with wood border squares to mark when the design changes direction or to break up a scrolling design. Some cellar owners choose an 8 1 /2 inch border featuring six different woods (bubinga, purple-heart, walnut, poplar and Brazilian cherry) inlaid into a red oak or maple background. These are placed into a hardwood floor pattern. Most borders are 3 /4 inch thick with a solid hardwood wear layer. They are usually grooved on both sides for ease in installation and can come unfinished or pre-finished.
Another decorative option is adding a wood medallion. These are inlaid designs in a circular piece that is added to your hardwood floor. Placed in the center of your wine cellar, a wooden medallion instantly becomes a focal point. These medallions usually come in three different sizes: 25 inches, 36 inches, and 42 inches. They are made with multiple hardwoods in a floral or grape design with a Greek key, grapevine, or solid ring border in Brazilian cherry or walnut. Medallions usually are 3 /4 inch thick or can be customized for a specified thickness. They are shipped with a template, router bit, and directions for installation and come pre-finished. Medallions smaller than 36 inches in diameter can be installed in a floating floor.
The average lead-time for wood borders or medallions is about a month.
Vintage Wine Barrel
One exciting new idea in wine cellar flooring is using vintage wine barrel parts. Each piece is a unique work of art because no two piece of wine barrel are exactly alike. Cooperage, the outside portion of the barrel, has distinct markings, which identified its original contents. The tops and bottoms of each barrel are used in flooring and bear two cooperage stamps every three feet. Each barrel has a distinctive patina because of the type of wine that has seeped into the wood during storage. Your wine cellar floor will come pre-finished and sealed and each piece is 3 /8 of an inch thick. This unique flooring is durable and adds an Old World feel to any wine cellar. It must be installed on a sub-floor or a raised foundation, with pin nails. It is best to glue down the threshold for added strength. Most vintage wine barrel flooring suppliers will send your flooring to you in 14 to 18 weeks, but you will have to have your contractor install it or do it yourself.
What could go better with a wine cellar than a cork floor! Cork is a natural, durable, and sustainable material. Like bamboo flooring, cork is a rapidly renewable resource. Cork flooring is especially gentle on the feet and troublesome joints and bad backs. It is an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator. Cork contains subherin, a natural insect repellent that will even keep termites away. Cork flooring is usually treated with Microban, which helps it be resistant to mold and mildew, and JointShield, a moisture protection system that helps cork wear longer despite spills or frequent mopping and allows the panels to create a watertight seal.
Cork flooring is made with a 1 /8 inch cork underlayment, a layer of 1 4 inch exterior grade fiberboard that does not contain formaldehyde, and toped with 1 /8 inch layer of high density cork. It is finished with five coats of durable UV-cured acrylic finish, making it wear and scratch resistant without losing the resilience and flexibility of cork. It is easy maintenance, needing only regular sweeping or vacuuming, and an occasional cleaning with a pre-finished hardwood product.
Most cork flooring on the market is made with tongue and groove for a floating floor. If you are installing in a basement, you should create a floating floor with a 6 mil film of polyethylene as a moisture barrier.
It usually takes a week or two for delivery of your cork flooring.
Like painted tiles for tabletops, wine cellars can also have painted tile accents. Each porcelain tile is hand-painted with colored glazes and fired four times in a kiln at temperatures higher than those for fine china. This produces a very durable tile with strong color. They are scratch resistant and can be washed with products usually used on tile. Tiles can be either 6 x 6 or 12 x 12 to suit your decorative needs.
You can choose from a variety of wine motifs (grapes, vineyards, cherubs, fruit, and floral motifs) that your wine cellar designer has or you can have a customized design painted from a drawing, photograph, or postcard of your choosing.
Tiles are shipped in about a month and must be grouted in place by your contractor or yourself.
Designs done in mosaics for flooring are a blend of antique fine china, stained glass, and porcelain tiles. These materials are broken by the artist and fitted into a vineyard landscape, floral or grape motif, wine bottles or glasses, geometric design, or even a picture of people or animals. They design is affixed to a mason board and grouted. Then a protective glaze is applied to seal the art work. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a mosaic piece to be completed. In flooring, this usually takes the form of a mosaic medallion or a signature piece for the center of your floor.
Finally, standard stone flooring may also be used in your wine cellar. You may chose slate, marble, travertine, or brick. Your flooring can be a random design or a well-thought-out pattern. Stone will need to be grouted. Whether it needs a sealing agent will depend on the type of stone you use and the effect you want to achieve. Some people choose to seal slate for a matte or even a shiny appearance. You can use a water-based polyurethane penetrating sealer to give stone it's best protection. Marble usually requires a special sealant.
Flooring adds an exciting and practical dimension to a custom wine cellar. Use your imagination and put your personality into your cellar by choosing a flooring that expressed who you are.