Wall Microwave - Built in or Shelf Cabinet ?
aries61
April 21, 2014 in Design Dilemma
I was originally going to do an OTR Microwave, but have decided not to. Should I do a wall microwave - built in or shelf cabinet ? Posted is the wall that it will be going onto. I'll be replacing the cabinet on the far left with one of them. Is one better then the other?
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jbaveker
My microwave is nowhere near the range - and built in below a cabinet. Close to the toaster oven, sink and fridge.... I find this a lot more convenient than my former OTR situation. No competition for access with oven.
April 21, 2014 at 6:14AM     
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Denita
Having a microwave location separate from the range is excellent. Have you purchased the microwave yet? Do you have the dimensions of the microwave? The shelf idea in photo #3 is a little less restrictive from a size and placement POV. Some people prefer the 'built in look' from photo #2. It is personal to you and your style.

Here are two photos illustrating your photo #2 and #3. Which one do you prefer?
Cooking Center
Kitchen Remodeling in Carmel

From strictly a size POV and your selected placement of your cabinet, I would lean toward your photo #2. But if your cabinet in photo #3 were the same depth as #2, then I would go with the shelf idea. Confused yet? :)
April 21, 2014 at 7:04AM     
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Carol
Can you get cabinets without the center style? You'll like them a ton more!
April 21, 2014 at 7:08AM   
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Angel18432
Might be a good idea to buy the micro first and build around it, as opposed to trying to find one that fits the hole. I feel my micro is too big for the amount of times I use and would prefer a smaller one that takes up less space.
April 21, 2014 at 7:10AM     
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Kevin Strader
First I think it is a great idea to NOT put it above the range. It ends up being a grease magnet there. Secondly, you need to think about how much you use a microwave and for what. We use ours basically to reheat and pop corn. Based on that we decided to put ours in the island inside a cabinet. When the doors are closed you don't see it and for use it's not a big deal to open the doors to get to it.

Another option would be to place it in a pantry cabinet, which is what my dad did. Next option for me would be like the Carmel kitchen, and lastly just sitting on the counter top.
April 21, 2014 at 10:34AM     
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aries61
First of all I should have mentioned that I'm doing painted inset.

Denita, No I have not purchased the microwave yet. I can go either way. The only thing if you do the built in look(pick #2), some of the trims can be expensive.

Carol, actually the cabinets will be without the center style. The software that I used to create the cabinet layout is somewhat limited so the cabinets show with the center style.

Angel18432, thanks for the advice.

Kevin, I use my microwave quite a bit. I personally don't a microwave in base cabinet. The problem with that it's hard to see what cooking unless you bend down and I'm 6'1" and getting older so that's not convenient. Unfortunately I don't have a pantry cabinets, good idea if I had one.

Making one change has a domino effect. I'll be posting another discussion probably tomorrow regarding the wood hood that is replacing the micro hood.
April 21, 2014 at 11:08AM   
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Designer's Edge Kitchen & Bath
The cabinet you are considering is 21" deep to hold the depth of a larger microwave, and your standard wall cabinet is 12" deep. That will give you a 9" difference in the face of your wall cabinets and that is OK, but want to make sure you are aware of that if you need the counter space directly below--same with a shelf - they protrude forward. There are microwaves that are shallower--GE's Spacemaker and Sharp also makes a few which can go into a 15" deep cabinet. You look at the interior volume in the specifications to find one that is large enough for your needs as you determine the width and the depth.

The good news is that you are placing it to the left as the doors on microwaves are hinged on the left and they open from the right. This will give you easy access to the interior. I have installed Sharp's microwave drawer and clients have loved it because it overcomes the control panel problems. Just remember to include the wiring at the correct height for your microwave installation. Remember to always read both the appliance specifications and the appliance installation instructions!
April 21, 2014 at 11:58AM     
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aries61
Designer's Edge, thanks for the advice on the wiring at the correct height. I'm probably going to do either 13" or 14" deep uppers so that will help a little with the depth of either microwave cabinet. I'm aware of the counter below space below with the cabinet being deeper which is ok since I'm gaining counter space elsewhere in the kitchen. I'm attaching a picture of the current kitchen with the same wall elevation so you can see what I have currently.

I've looked at the specs on the GE Spacemaker unfortunately it's only 800 watts which is a much lower wattage them I'm currently using.
April 21, 2014 at 1:15PM   
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Caroline Trinidad Architectural Alchemist, NKBA
I like the built-in depth for the entire cabinet. 21". You don't have to put a trim kit on the face of the cabinet. It gives the kitchen a custom look which can add value when it comes down to its appeal. The shelf is ok but you would be limiting yourself in the future if you ever thought of getting the trim kit. You can't add that to a shelf with a 12.5 inch depth to it..
April 22, 2014 at 10:20PM     
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aries61
Architectural Alchemist, Thanks for your comments. I've thought the same way you did regarding the two options. Someone on another site suggested an OTR microwave, but not hanging it over the range.
April 23, 2014 at 4:53AM     
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Caroline Trinidad Architectural Alchemist, NKBA
The person whom instructed you not to place it over the range is correct. Installing it over the range will limit your cooking and ventilation abilities. It is also opening the door for possible injury, especially to children. We have seen this often: children pull up a chair, climb onto the range to make popcorn and accidentally turn on a burner. Ventilation is an issue because you should have a vent system (if possible) over the range to pull moisture and grease up and out of the kitchen and not redistribute it back into the area. This ruins cabinetry and floors as well as countertops. As for cooking, a microwave over the range will limit your ability to use and stir tall pots.

Good luck with the kitchen!
April 23, 2014 at 5:24AM     
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Designer's Edge Kitchen & Bath
NKBA guidelines say that the ideal location considers the user's height and that the bottom of the microwave is 3" below the principle user's shoulder but NO more than 54" above the floor. NKBA does not recommend placement over a cooktop for all the reasons mentioned above. Also, you need to double check your electrical panel as code requirements might stipulate that the microwave have it's own circuit. It draws a lot of power if you get a large one. Most states have adopted the IRC -International Residential Code and the majority of microwaves in a remodel require a separate circuit. That's because appliances now draw a lot more electricity and with many remodels you are dealing with homes built in the 70's and 80's if not older and they are not up to par with the loads required now. Most people add under counter lighting, more lights in the ceiling, bigger appliances or MORE appliances. If you are doing all of this yourself, please make a call to your local county or city. Codes are not there to be an annoyance but to help keep you safe and remember that all building codes are the MINIMUM requirement.
April 23, 2014 at 11:14AM     
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Caroline Trinidad Architectural Alchemist, NKBA
I agree with Designer's Edge Kitchen and Bath. There are many things to consider while redesigning a kitchen or bathroom. The NKBA has many guidelines to assist you in the plan as do the International Residential Building Codes. Please do not overlook any of these. They are indeed there for a reason.
April 23, 2014 at 11:59AM     
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aries61
Designer's Edge, The house originally was built in the 50's and after my parents passed, I gutted the original house down to the studs and added on, redid the electrical, plumbing, etc . Currently I have 200 amp service with a separate circuit for the microwave.

Where I'm at we have electrical in conduit and had to use copper and cast iron for plumbing.
April 23, 2014 at 12:14PM     
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Designer's Edge Kitchen & Bath
Professional kitchen and bath designers have the training and experience to understand the technical and code requirements of remodeling. As Red Adair said, "If you think it is expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." Often Kitchen & Bath designers are willing to do a 1 time consultation for review of architectural/design plans and to give input to help avoid potential problems down the road. All of these issues impact resale value if done incorrectly. It sounds like you are following through on careful updates.
April 23, 2014 at 12:22PM   
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