How to Build a DIY Walk-in Cooler With a Floor
Looking to build your own Do-It-Yourself walk-in cooler? This step-by-step guide for building a walk-in cooler with a floor is going to show you how to do just that.
Click here if you need a step-by-step guide on how to build a DIY walk-in cooler with NO floor.
Before you grab your hex wrench and get started, it's important you learn how to locate your assembly drawing, handle your panels correctly, and prepare your site.
Sounds like a lot? Don't worry. The step-by-step instructions laid out below will help you build your walk-in cooler in no time.
One important disclaimer before we dive in...
All electrical and refrigeration work should be completed by a licensed and insured electrician and refrigeration contractor.
Alright, let's get started.
The process of building a DIY walk-in cooler with a floor is broken down into four parts:
- Inspecting and Handling Your Panels
- Preparing Your Site
- Assembling Your Floor Panels
- Assembling Your Wall, Door & Ceiling Panels
Inspecting and Handling Your Panels
Take time to inspect the parts and equipment included in your shipment. Make sure the order number on the boxes and panels match the order number on your invoice.
If you discover damaged parts or equipment, take photos and make a note of the damage on your delivery ticket. Contact the manufacturer or your point of sale immediately for further instructions.
Each panel is individually labeled as "wall", "floor", and "ceiling".
The assembly drawing included with your shipment, generally found inside the door package, demonstrates the panel layout and shows where each panel goes. This drawing will serve as a reference throughout the assembly process. Keep it handy.
When handling panels, keep them flat and avoid resting them on the edges of the corners to minimize the possibility of damaging them. Stack the panels on an elevated platform if the ground is wet and cover them with waterproof sheathing if you will be storing them outside.
Use 2 to 3 persons during assembly to avoid mishandling your panels.
Here is a list of the tools and accessories you will need to complete the assembly:
- Hex wrench (included) or Drill (not included)
- Vinyl caps for cam lock holes (included)
- Level (not included)
- Measuring tape (not included)
- Ladder (not included)
- Chalk line (optional - not included)
Preparing Your Site
Site preparation is key to properly building your walk-in cooler. Make sure the floor space allotted for your cooler is level and swept clean of dirt and debris.
An uneven floor could result in a faulty assembly with doors and panels not sealing properly. If your floor is not level, you will need to use shims to make it level.
If you are building your cooler inside, adjacent to a wall, leave three to five inches of space in every direction around your box to allow for proper ventilation.
Optional Pro Tips:
💡 Using the assembly drawing as a reference, measure and mark where the panels will go by outlining the perimeter of your walk-in cooler with a chalk line. Measure diagonally in both directions to ensure the measurements match and all corners are at a 90° angle.
💡 We recommend placing polyethylene sheeting on your existing floor underneath your cooler's floor panels to serve as a vapor barrier and keep ground moisture at bay.
Assembling Your Floor Panels
Step 1: Lay the floor end section down in the rear of your box as per your assembly drawing. Make sure the panel is level throughout.
Step 2: Place the next floor panel section into position as per your assembly drawing. Make sure the edges are flush and the floor panels remains level before fastening the floor panels together using the hex wrench provided or your drill.
Step 3: Continue assembling floor panels as per your assembly drawing until the last floor panel is in place. The last floor panel must be an end section.
Assembling Your Wall, Door & Ceiling Panels
Save valuable time by reviewing the following "pro tips" before assembling your walk-in cooler wall, ceiling, and door panels:
💡 A suspended support system is necessary for ceiling panels longer than 14 feet. Supports should be installed as per the assembly drawing provided by the manufacturer.
💡 Use at least two persons when handling and assembling the door panel to avoid mishandling it. Do not remove the door from the door jamb. Doing so will cause the spring-assisted cam-lift hinge to lose the manufacturer's set tension. Keep the door closed and locked until full assembly is complete.
Step 1: Start panel assembly with a corner wall panel in the rear of your box. Place the corner panel evenly with the perimeter of your floor base. Partially fasten the cam lock to the floor panel. Do not fasten the cam lock completely.
Step 2: Place a wall panel on each side of the corner panel and firmly fasten the wall panels to the corner panel using a hex wrench or drill. Make sure the top of the panels are flush and level before firmly fastening the cam locks.
Partially fasten the bottom of the wall panel to the floor panel. Do not fasten the cam lock completely. This allows flexibility to level the top of the wall panels before firmly fastening all cam locks when all panels are in place.
Step 3: Continue assembling wall panels in the direction of the other rear corner as per your assembly drawing. Work your way around the box as per the 3D rendering below. This provides stability as you build your box.
Firmly fasten each wall panel to its neighboring wall panel using a hex wrench or drill. Make sure the top of the panels are flush and level before firmly fastening the cam locks.
Your box should look similar to this:
Step 4: Assemble your first ceiling panel. Start by aligning the end ceiling panel with the corners of the wall panels. The tongue and groove method will hold the ceiling panel in place.
Step 5: Once the first ceiling panel is in place, continue assembling wall panels on each side of the box as per your assembly drawing.
Firmly fasten the top of the wall panels to their neighboring wall panels using a hex wrench or drill. Make sure the top of the panels are flush and level before firmly fastening the cam locks.
Partially fasten the bottom of the wall panel to the floor panel. Do not fasten the cam lock completely.
Step 6: Assemble the next ceiling panel once your next set of wall panels is in place, aligning the ceiling panel with the neighboring end ceiling panel you assembled in step 4 and the wall panels you assembled in step 5.
Secure the ceiling panels together by firmly fastening the ceiling panel cam locks along the center seam.
Step 7: Continue assembling wall panels and ceiling panels as per your assembly drawing. The last wall panel assembled should be a front corner panel.
Step 8: Firmly fasten the top of the wall panels to the ceiling panels and the bottom of the wall panels to the floor panels once all your panels are assembled, level, and flush at the top.
Congratulations! Your assembled walk-in cooler should look similar to the rendering below.