An over the range microwave is a great way to conserve counter space, and since they come with a built-in exhaust fan, there’s no need for a separate range hood. When purchasing your over the range microwave, make sure there will be enough space from the top of the stove to the bottom of the microwave to meet your local code. Installation is pretty straightforward, but since different models can have slight variations, make sure to read the directions that come with your unit before beginning. Here’s what you’ll need to tackle this beginners level project.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Over the Range microwave oven
- Masking tape
- Electronic stud finder
- Tape measure
- Two-foot level
- Phillips screwdriver
- 3/16″ and 5/8″ diameter bits
- 1 1/2″ diameter spade bit
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
- Eye Protection
Set blower motor. Over the range microwaves can exhaust air above the unit, behind the unit, or back into the kitchen with a charcoal filter. For this installation, we will be recirculating air through the front of the microwave. Before beginning your installation, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see which option is right for you.
Find studs. Using a stud finder, locate the studs in the wall where you are installing your microwave. Most of the time you can find at least one or two studs in the 30-inch wide space.
Draw vertical lines. Use a two-foot level to draw plum lines at the center of each stud as well as the center of your space.
Position rear-wall template. Tape the template that came with your microwave to the wall so that it’s centered and bumps up to the bottom of the cabinet. If your cabinet’s front edge has a decorative overhang, measure its depth and draw a line below the cabinet at the same distance as the overhang depth. Making sure everything is level, tape the template in place. Next, draw a horizontal line just below the rear wall template.
Drill mounting holes. The template will tell you where you should drill the three necessary holes for the mounting plate, but remember, it must be attached to at least one stud. For holes that fall over a stud, pre-drill with a 3/16th-inch bit. For locations that require a toggle bolt, pre-drill with a half-inch bit. If your microwave comes with mounting plates that have vertical legs on each side, use the manufacturer’s instructions and template for screw locations.
Install mounting plate. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended anchors for installation. Secure the mounting plate and use toggle bolts or anchors for the remaining holes. Be sure your anchors are in place before tightening any screws and make sure the bottom of the plate is centered with your horizontal line.
Position cabinet template. After measuring the bottom of your cabinet, fold the sides of your template so it fits underneath your cabinet and tape it in place.
Drill cabinet bottom. Use your template to determine where to drill the three holes in the bottom of your cabinet. The first two holes are used for the mounting screws to drill using a 1/2 inch bit. For the last hole closest to the outlet, use a 1 1/2 inch paddle bit or hole saw to make room for your power cord.
Mount the microwave. This part requires a helper. Lift up your microwave and hook the back bottom edge onto the mounting plate, feed the power cord through the hole and pull it through as you place the unit against the wall. The two smaller screws that attach the front of the microwave to the cabinet may have extra-wide heads, or come with a washer. Insert these screws through the cabinet and into the microwave from above. Tighten until your unit no longer needs to be supported. Next, plug in your microwave. If your unit will recycle exhaust back into the room, install the charcoal filter as described in the manufacturer’s directions.
Your over the range microwave installation is now complete!