How to Install an Over the Range Microwave Without Cabinets on the Side
Install an over-the-range microwave by attaching a mounted wall plate over the range and under the upper cabinet. No side cabinets are needed to attach the microwave. The upper cabinet and wall hold the microwave with bracket and bolts.
An over-the-range microwave is the ultimate in convenience cooking. With easy access to both the range and the stove, all dishes can be monitored at once. It also clears up valuable counter space. Even in small kitchens or kitchens with open shelving for storage, an over-the-range microwave is still possible. Fortunately, over-the-range microwaves aren't attached to side cabinets. They're set on a mounted wall plate and can be bolted to the wall cabinet above the microwave. As long as your brackets are secure and your microwave is vented, side cabinets aren't necessary for installing your new microwave.
There are three types of venting systems. If your microwave is set for recirculation installation, you won't need to do anything but install your microwave. For wall and roof venting systems, the blower motor will have to be rotated. Wall venting systems will require the blower motor to be rotated 180 degrees so exhaust ports face the back of the microwave oven. Roof venting systems will require the blower motor to be rotated so the exhaust ports face the top of the microwave oven and the flat sides of the blower motor face the back of the microwave oven.
The wall above your range needs at least one stud to hang a microwave hood. Locate the stud using your stud finder. A central stud will allow your microwave hood to hang evenly over the range. There needs to be a center stud or two side studs on both ends to hold the microwave. Mark the location of the studs so they can be seen.
Remove the mounting plate from the microwave. Center your mounting plate over the range and find the stud markings. The top of the plate should be flush with the upper cabinet. Mark at least two mounting holes on each stud.
Set the mounting plate aside and drill holes where you've marked. (If there's no stud, drill a larger hole for toggle nuts.) Drill to match the holes for the mounting plate.
Set the drill aside and align the mounting plate over the holes. Insert toggles and screws where needed. If your instructions include a paper template, tape it to the upper cabinet as indicated.
Following the template, drill into the underside of the cabinet. If you don't have a template, figures may be available at the manufacturer’s website for reference. Drill a hole for the microwave electrical cord to be plugged into the wall inside the cabinet. It has to be large enough for the power supply cord to easily fit through.
Place a washer inside the cabinet over each drilled hole. Bolts that go through the cabinet to the top of the microwave will fit into the washers. Once the microwave is in place, the bolts will be inserted and tightened.
You'll be lifting the microwave over the range while installing. Tape the door shut so it doesn't accidentally open and cause injury.
This step will take two people. There are two tabs at the base of the mounting plate. Align your microwave with the tabs. Have a friend or helper thread the power supply cord through the appropriate hole in the cabinet. Push the microwave into place and align it with the upper cabinet.
Insert the bolts through the washers and holes in the upper cabinet. Tighten the bolts so there's no gap or space between the upper cabinet and microwave. Combined with the mounting plate, they'll support the weight of the microwave. Make sure the bolts are evenly tightened and in place before releasing your grip on the microwave.
- Stud Finder
- Measuring Tape
- Masking Tape
- Power Screwdriver
- Power Drill
- Grounded 3-plug Outlet Pre-wired
Arrange Venting System
Find and Mark Wall Studs
Align Mounting Plate
Drill Mounting Plate Holes
Attach Mounting Plate
Drill Underside Cabinet Holes
Add Washers to Underside Cabinet Holes
Tape the Microwave Door Shut
Hang the Microwave
Attach to Upper Cabinet
Things You Will Need
It is recommended that two people are present to install the microwave. Do not attempt to lift and hang the microwave alone.
These tips are based on the existence of a grounded 3-plug outlet that is pre-wired and ready for microwave installation. Do not attempt installation without approved, pre-wired grounded 3-plug outlet.
- Be sure that an outlet is available near the microwave installation location. Ideally, it would be in the cabinet above.
Nat Howard is a writer, editor, journalist and jack-of-all-trades, covering topics from home improvement and design. Her background includes web content and editorial roles with a Fortune 500 home improvement chain. She holds an MA in Professional Writing from the University of Roehampton.