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How to Change Cabinets For Microwave to Fit

January 15th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Many of the older style kitchens were not built to accommodate a microwave over the range. It’s possible to shorten a hood cabinet so an over the stove microwave will fit. The standard clearance is about 69” off of the floor to the bottom of the upper cabinet that is over the stove top. We will explore a few ideas that have worked many times for me when I was hired to cut down cabinets in this area.

Usually the void area where the new appliance is going will be in the neighborhood of about fifteen inches clearance. Generally the over the stove oven extends down past the wall cabinetry about two inches. This is to allow for the installation of light valance molding which would then make the appearance of the design to be flush with the appliance bottom.

How To Cut Down a Wall Cabinet So A Microwave Will Fit

There are several different methods of how to alter an installed upper cabinet to make an appliance fit. In order to cut one down, so a microwave will work, you may be able to remove just the hood wall cabinet, make the change and reinstall it. You can refer to this video page for tips on how to remove cabinets.

  • Tip: If you’re able to un install the box successfully take it to a local cabinet company and pay to have the alteration made.

Every situation will present a different approach depending upon how the cabinets were originally fabricated.

European style alteration For instance a European style wall hood cabinet should be removable as an individual box. There make be a few moldings that have to be removed or perhaps a strip of mica in order to get it out.

Face Frame Hood cabinet alterations

Many of the face frame style designs are assembled in large sections and then hung in place. Oftentimes the center style can be cut off in place and the bottom knocked out with a hammer. The back can be cut off with a salsaw. Some rail supports may need to be installed behind the back, if there is a void. If this method is used plan on fabricating a new bottom to be installed at the new height.


It will be necessary to have an electrical plug installed inside the new upper. By using the existing hood cabinet wire an external box can be installed inside the new cabinetry.

If you have a vented hood

The new cabinet bottom will have to be cut out to allow for the hood connection and you are going to have to make an adjustment to the vet work as well.

Finishing the sides of the cabinets to the left and right

You should not have to do anything to them because the new microwave will cover the sides so they are not visible.

Ordering new doors or altering the existing ones

Obviously you will have to shorten the doors or order different ones. This may be where you will have to hire a professional cabinetry person to assist you. If your cutting the door down then, make sure you take the excess off of the top of the doors.

Making the hinges work

There are going to be several different styles of hinges to deal with. If it’s a European concealed design, you will have to go to a cabinet manufacturing place and have them drill the new hole so the hinge will fit. If your dealing with a Y-5 hinge, which fits into a groove that is cut out of the door, make your cuts with a table saw. The size is usually just over 3/16 of an inch. It is usually just a trial and error process to get things set correctly when you adjust cabinet doors. By making a complete assessment of how your upper cabinet is designed, you will then get a good idea of the necessary things that will have to be done. As I mentioned every situation is going to require a different approach.

No matter what, all of the points that I have made,about how to cut a wall cabinet down for a new over the stove microwave, should cover just about everything you need to get you started moving on the project. Being a professional cabinet maker I really would suggest that you hire someone, who knows what they are doing, to shorten the hood area so the new appliance will fit.

Categories: Upper Wall Cabinetry
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