Hanging a Microwave Over the Stove With No Studs
The typical "over-the-range" microwave requires a space 30 inches wide to fit precisely over the stove and below the wall cabinetry above the stove. Manufacturers recommend that you hang the unit on a wall with at least one wall stud that will bear the weight of the microwave. Wall construction typically has studs 16 to 24 inches apart, although these studs may not be placed perfectly at each end of the 30-inch space where your microwave will hang. In such a case, you can drill one or two extra holes through the metal microwave mounting bracket to attach to the stud beneath. Heavy-duty anchor toggle bolts will securely hold the bracket to the drywall.
Read the installation instructions for the microwave unit. Manufacturers often include a microwave metal mounting bracket, required hardware and templates for installing the unit. The mounting bracket may be loosely secured to the base of the microwave unit to save packaging space. Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the bracket from the unit or pull off the bracket from the unit according to manufacturer instructions.
Install the duct work and electric wiring according to manufacturer instructions. Manufacturer instructions vary greatly depending on the model, so follow the instructions carefully. Obtain assistance from an electrician if you are unfamiliar with electric wiring.
Find the wall stud in the wall with a stud finder or by tapping with a hammer. In some cases, the stud may be in the center of the wall area where the microwave will mount. Tap the finishing nail into the wall to probe for the exact location of the stud. Mark the center location of the stud with a pencil in two places -- the top and the bottom of the area where the microwave will mount. Connect the two center marks by drawing a line vertically. This line will be your guideline for drilling and screwing the mounting bracket to the studs when you secure the bracket to the wall.
Draw another vertical line on the wall at the center of the 30-inch area where the microwave will mount. To differentiate this line from the stud line, draw this line bolder or in a different color.
Place the mounting bracket template on the wall. Line up the template with the center 30-inch line you made according to manufacturer instructions. Ensure that the template is level on the wall by placing a small level at the bottom of the paper. Adjust the paper and realign the center 30-inch line you made on the wall according to manufacturer instructions. When the paper is level, have a helper tape the template to the wall.
Check the template for the bracket installation holes and mark the location of the holes onto the wall with the pencil. Typically, brackets have four holes for installation on a wall. In your case, you will use anchor toggle bolts for these four holes to secure the bracket to the drywall, with one or two additional holes that you will drill to attach the bracket directly to the stud.
Remove the template from the wall. Drill holes into the drywall with a 5/8-inch drill bit. Place the mounting bracket on the wall, lining up the center 30-inch pencil line with the directional notch on the bracket.
Remove the toggle wings from the toggle bolts. Insert the toggle bolts through the holes in the front of the mounting bracket. On the back of the mounting bracket, reattach the toggle wings to the toggle bolts.
Insert the anchor toggle wings into the pre-drilled holes in the drywall. Have a helper steady the bracket while you work to insert the wings into the holes. Screw the bolts securely until you feel tight resistance.
Drill through the metal bracket where the stud sits behind the wall, using a steel drill bit. Use the pencil guideline that you drew on the wall to drill into the exact center of the stud. If the bracket already has pre-drilled holes in the area of your stud, use these holes instead.
Screw wood screws through the metal bracket into the wall stud. Screw securely until you feel tight resistance.
Continue installing the microwave unit according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Some mounting brackets are full metal plates that cover the entire area installation above the stove while other brackets are narrow strips of metal that you install around the perimeter of the installation area above the stove. If you are using a full plate, drill an additional two holes through the plate to attach the plate to to the stud. If you are using the strips, you will be able to drill only one hole to attach the bracket to the stud.
- If your wall has no wall studs anywhere within the area of installation, do not hang the microwave unit. The unit must be suspended by at least one stud. Housing construction for the past 150 years places wall studs 16 to 24 inches apart, so it is likely that a wall stud exists somewhere in the area of installation.
- Insert the anchor toggle bolts correctly into the drywall holes according to manufacturer instructions as they cannot be removed if installed incorrectly.
- Use gloves when handling the mounting bracket, as the edges of the steel bracket are sharp and may cause injury.
Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.
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