webuser_955329762

Refrigerator to close to wall

S. Crawford
2 months ago

Hi All! Hoping to get some advice. We recently renovated our kitchen and when we installed the refrigerator- it’s now too close to the wall. The contractor is coming back to see what we can do. I would love any suggestions because I’m not sure what else could be done.

Comments (45)

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I see your point. A smaller refrigerator is not an option at this time.

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  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Beth - thank you. We were considering cutting back the wall. That seems like the most reasonable way to go. I love the pics you sent. You’ve given me hope. Thank you so much!

  • JuneKnow
    2 months ago

    Cutting back the wall is not minor. It’s major surgery. Buying a different fridge is the cheaper solution. Expect major pushback.


    Who designed this?

  • M Miller
    2 months ago

    I feel like this question/situation comes up every week on this forum. You mentioned your contractor. He should have known better, and as soon as he saw your plan for the fridge against the wall, should have said something. I am not sure if I can blame him though, because perhaps this was your plan and he didn't want to disagree with you.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    JuneKnow... it's not major surgery! It's 6-8 inches.

    Buying a new fridge after already paying for it, having it delivered and set up (and getting rid of the old one) is way more difficult. They won't come back for free and pick up the fridge because "homeowner didn't measure correctly". it's going to cost big bucks. not to mention, trying to find another fridge that meets their expectations, and has the door that will open, is not easy. Most of the newer fridges have doors just like the one she has. Availability at this time is sketchy.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    2 months ago

    That wall has electric. It could be load bearing. It will require a tile floor patch and wood floor patch. All doable but a new fridge could be easier depending on who is eating the expense here.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    hallett, yes to those. I don't know how much work they can do themselves.


    as for load bearing, we don't know if it is, or how long the wall is. It doesn't appear to be load bearing. But cutting it back 6-8" isn't going to affect that if it's long enough.

    That wall switch is already in a weird spot. it can be moved or disconnected and a new one put in elsewhere.

    Going through the hassle of returning that fridge (especially now) would be a nightmare, especially if they don't have another one to use in the meantime.

    I looked at over 50 fridges while trying to pick mine. I knew I didn't want LG or Samsung because of all of the problems and bad reviews. and I wanted counter depth. When you start narrowing the choices, she may not find one w/the doors that open inward, more than swing outward.

    just a thought.

    l

  • JuneKnow
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    In addition to creating a bigger header to carry the load, and installing it, and the new king studs/posts, potential new offset foundation piers, and rerouting the electrical—and hoping that you won’t need a junction box somewhere because the wires are too short to move—that wall also has a forgotten HVAC duct, sitting there forlornly without a grate, in the wrong spot, no matter what. Plus now the floors will need redoing in addition to the HVAC needing redoing.

    Who designed this multi thousand dollar mistake? Which is best case. Worst case is that there are other design errors that are safety based issues that risk life. Like clearances to combustibles that create fire hazards.

  • athomeeileen
    2 months ago

    I’m not sure if a new fridge is the solution, but I exchanged a fridge after delivery, it wasn’t a big deal. The delivery guys brought in the new fridge and took out the return. That was all I had to do.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    let me also add, that if this was solely designed by the GC or a company, the homeowners shouldn't have to pay for the remedy to the design flaw. Whomever measured this kitchen should have known about the fridge doors. The onus is on them to fix it and on their dime. So cost shouldn't be factor here. (unless the homeowners are at fault)

    June mentioned that hvac 'hole'. what's up w/that? seems to me that wall should have been taken care of long before the fridge even went in. having a switch right next to where the fridge door opens is bad placement. and of course that vent shouldn't be there. Why wasn't it already patched and painted before the appliance moved in?

    as for the flooring, hopefully you have one tile left over. it can easily be cut and patched in after the wall is moved back.

    returning the fridge per se, isn't the issue. it's trying to find one she likes, one that is available, and that has diff doors.


  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @Beth - you are correct. It’s a few inches that will need to come back. It’s not load bearing and the electrical was only added during this Reno. So it won’t be an issue with moving it. Definitely not major surgery.
    @juneknow - no designer to blame but us. We measured and went to the store to get the cabinets we wanted.
    @M Miller - you’re correct. I think he may not have wanted to disagree. Additionally, this fridge’s water dispenser protrudes a bit (1/2 inch) and our old one didn’t. So that is again, our bad. I wouldn’t blame my contractor.

    I don’t think my contractor messed up. I honestly think it was our fault. I’m looking for solutions and truly grateful for all the suggestions. I’m provide an update when it’s done.

    For reference Here are the before and after of my kitchen. I think he did a tremendous job with what he had to work with.

  • dan1888
    2 months ago

    The upper doors are the problem. Swap it for a single upper door hinged on the right.

    AJ Madison has 41. All at the expensive end of the spectrum. But cheaper than a wall replacement.

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @dan1888 - good point. I’ll look into that.

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @Beth - we are buying a new vent cover that’s why it’s not there. We are prepared to move the vent if we cut the wall. I do have tile leftover.
    @athomeeileen - getting this fridge alone took two months. You are correct getting a new fridge is not an option.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    crawford,,wow, what a diff! that old kitchen was a relic! can't imagine how relieved you must be.

    Is that Shadow Storm on the counter?

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @Beth - yes ma’am! You sure do know your counters- those indeed are shadow storm and we love them! 🥰 I am truly relieved and very happy with the outcome. This mishap is not that big a deal considering all the work he did for us.

  • MizLizzie
    2 months ago

    Nice kitchen, gorgeous counters. Cutting back the wall is simple, and will actually improve the space. Can’t wait to see the fix. Enjoy your lovely kitchen.

  • acm
    2 months ago

    Kitchen is gorgeous! I've never seen a microwave cabinet over a stove, but maybe that's ok with induction? You don't see those wall fans much these days, but it gives it all a cute vintage feel. Beautiful counters!

  • JuneKnow
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    You don’t see it because it’s a big old fire hazard and has to be redone. The contractor should at least have understood that 30” clearance to combustibles is needed, and refused to touch that. Is there a filler and panel between the DW and wall so it can open and not hit the window stool?

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @acm - thank you. It’s not a microwave cabinet it’s actually a regular over the range set up. We had extra wood from the cabinet panels so my guy added the bottom piece to make it look built in.

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @Juneknow - yes, we added a filler between the wall and replaced the window frame to ensure the dishwasher could open without any issues. So far it’s working great! We’ve already used it to run quite a few loads.

  • M Miller
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    As mentioned in previous posts, that "bottom filler piece" under the OTR MW is a fire hazard. It is against every Building Code there is. It must be removed. You cannot have a combustible material directly over a heat source like that, regardless if it's an induction range. As to trying to "make it look built in", that is ludicrous because it is an OTR MW. An "over-the-range" microwave is not EVER supposed to "look built in". Did you know that an OTR MW is meant to act also as an exhaust for the range? Your contractor should know that, in addition to knowing that what he did is a fire hazard.

    Now that you've said he wanted to make the OTR MW look built-in, I take back what I said earlier that your contractor may have realized the fridge placement is a problem from the get-go but didn't want to disagree with you. Between the MW "bottom filler piece" and the fridge issue, he doesn't know anything. Sorry, calling it like I see it.

  • JuneKnow
    2 months ago

    I’m scared of what is behind the walls and plumbing/electrical now! That is such a very BASIC mistake to make that it screams”not a contractor but hung my shingle out anyway because it’s easy money right now”.


    Did you check your online state database for his contractor’s license? Did you get a copy of his general liability insurance? We’re permits pulled and inspections done? Did he use a licensed electrician for the electrical and plumbing portions of the job? A GC is still required to use licensed subcontractors.


    How did you find this guy?



  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Welp. Clearly we’ve made a whole lot more mistakes than we thought. You’ve all give me great things to go back and consider. We will go back to revise with our contractor. Thanks again! Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    S. Is that microwave an OTR model or a Countertop/Built in model? The Over-The-Range Microwaves are meant to vent the stove top. It should have a vent/fan button to do so. There should also be ducting that takes what it's venting up and out. (outside, not into the attic space)

    If you open those doors above it, do you see anything like this?


    If it IS an OTR micro, and it doesn't have any venting, it's wrong. You must have ducting to vent the grease and vapors while cooking. If he built you a wood trim to make it look nice, it's wrong. One, it blocks the venting capability, and Two, it's a fire hazard.


    In any case, your stove top needs venting and ducting. (either a regular vent hood, or the OTR micro) otherwise grease will just float around and coat your new kitchen. I see you have an old style vent/fan in the wall. won't do any good since your stove is on the other side of the room!

    a vent needs to vent(while over the stove top) , via a duct, to outside. Not in an attic, in a wall, in a crawl space, whatever. outside. mkay?

  • Shannon_WI
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Beth H - OTR MWs all can be set to be a recirculating fan. The installation instructions say how - it’s usually just a sliding piece over the small square opening at the top that converts it to a recirculating MW. So a duct in the kitchen is not necessary. Of course it would be helpful.

    Also, looking at the pic the OP posted before the bottom filler piece was installed shows what appears to be the underside of an OTR MW. It’s hard to see, but that does not appear to be the underside of a countertop model, since it does not have the feet that would be on a countertop model. Furthermore, hanging the MW from the cabinets above it the way this one is would indicate it is configured as an OTR MW.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    shannon, I always ask just to be sure. I don't want to assume, so I cover my bases when I'm commenting. (I went back and reread her comment. there was a typo but I figured it out that she meant OTR micro. So, just disregard the built in portion)

    yes, I'm quite aware that installing it the way it was done is for a OTR. but if the GC is so informed about this micro, then why put a piece of wood directly over the stove?

    I'm sure he can remove it and bring it back to this look


    As for the recirculating option, OTR micros venting are sub-par, at best. recirculating the sub-par venting is the last thing I'd want in a new kitchen. Doesn't hurt to ask about the venting, no?

    In any case, would you just assume it's recirculating? It was my understanding there were convertible models that could do either. I know I had one and it was external vent only, but it was rather old.

    Anyhoo, I explain things to people that don't know so they can understand when they speak to the GC. You know what it is and how it works. She might not. That's why I go into detail and inform people in my comments.


    So S Crawford. What about this OTR? Is it a convertible model w/the recirculating venting? Is that what it's set at currently? Are you aware of the other venting capability? Does it matter to you one way or the other?

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    We did install an OTR MW. We did not hang a counter top microwave LOL. Clearly with all the other mistakes we’ve made, I could see why that would be a question. The venting is not outside like the example picture posted. I can definitely have him remove the piece of wood in front to return it back to the other way. As for the fan on the wall, that is going to be used for the venting. Understanding it’s not ideal, please remember that prior to this we had nothing so, the fan on the wall wasn’t even working and he fixed it for us. So at this point, I’m grateful for what I have and don’t want to play the blame the contractor game. Totally understand it’s not perfect, nor up to code but it’s the best we could do at this point.

    Needless to say after all the commentary- we’ve decided to just leave the wall, cover the vent and be very careful opening the fridge door.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    curious as to why you decided not to remove the wall based on the commentary? did something sway you or...?

    how far can you open the door? On mine, I couldn't even get it half open.

    if you need to access the ice maker on the inside, can you open the door wide enough to get to it?

    what if someone forgets and swings open that door and dents the front?

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @beth - the commentary pretty much scared me into not making any additional changes. Clearly I’m way over my head and would rather just stop before making things worse. The fridge opens all the way and I can get all of the inner drawers open with no issue. It was just too close to the wall when it’s open. I liked your suggestion about cutting the walls back but like I said all of the comments were a bit scary and not at all what I expected. It went from major surgery to the issue with the microwave (which we will fix) to insulting the contractor (who in my opinion is a very nice man) who did the best he could. I’ve read quite a few threads on Houzz but never seen it go this bad. So, I’m taking it as a sign that we should quit while we are ahead. Maybe in a few years, we’ll invest in a single door, right hinge fridge. But for now - no one’s coming to the house (COVID) and the kiddos already know to be gentle with the left side. I do appreciate your commentary the most as you were very solution driven which is what I was seeking. Again, grateful for all the areas of concern that were pointed out - it was just not what I expected. 😔

  • Shannon_WI
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    S. Crawford - I think people got stern/aggressive on this thread mostly when the MW with the built-in shelf was pictured. A fire hazard is very serious business. Kitchen fires are the leading type of fires in homes. According to the NFPA, ranges or cooktops fires are almost two-thirds (63%) of reported kitchen fires, 86% of the deaths, and 79% of the injuries. No one wants to tiptoe around that when warning you. And as mentioned, it is such a serious matter that if your contractor did that, people here were alarmed at what else he might have done. Being a nice man does not take away that he risked you and your family’s lives. So I think the tone on this thread became aggressive because of that.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    S. If you can open your door all the way, then I wouldn't bother w/the wall either! Like I said, with mine, due to the wall, I couldn't even get in to pull out the crisper drawer. I just assumed you had the same issue. But since you don't, you're good!

    As for the microwave, to be honest, I'm sure the wood trim won't suddenly combust and catch fire. But could it? yes. It's not a big deal to have it removed. kitchen fires do happen quite frequently.

    as for the venting, just didn't want you getting grease all over everything. but if you say the other fan works and you're happy, that's all that matters. Sorry if it seemed like you were being attacked. sometimes we all get a little involved and just want things done in a certain way. doesn't mean they won't work your way! Your contractor did a nice job on the kitchen from everything I can see. The trim piece was prob just an oversight. hopefully.

  • suedonim75
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I have a recirculating OTR microwave. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. We don’t deep fry on our stove top, so grease isn’t all that much of an issue. I clean off the counters daily and give the cupboards a quick swipe every other day or so.

    I feel for the OP’s who post and get Juneknows/Livewireoaks/greendesigns immediate nasty and usually blown out of proportion comments. And that’s if he even read all of the OP. Usually he just reads the first sentence and starts his rant and then adds in info that doesn’t exist.

    Ok, yes the trim piece was a mistake, but that doesn’t mean the entire kitchen is in danger. This forum used to be helpful, now it’s just so negative and nasty.

    You’ve got 2 or 3 who never, and I mean never give a helpful comment. It’s always a very nasty criticism of their budget or their choices. Or, makes sure to tell you that she personally dislikes whatever you’ve chosen especially sectionals and tile floors.

    But then there are the ones like Beth, who will actually give you advice on the question you asked, and will even give you examples of how it will work.

    Please don’t let the unhelpful comments in this thread discourage you.

    S Crawford, what is the actual measurement between the stove and the trim piece? Looking at your pictures, it sure looks like there is 30” of clearance. And if so, that trim piece isn’t the abomination that you’ve been led to believe.

  • Shannon_WI
    2 months ago

    “there is 30” of clearance. And if so, that trim piece isn’t the abomination that you’ve been led to believe.”

    That is irresponsible advice, and frightening. Cooktop flames can shoot up much higher than 30”. A combustible material directly over it would catch fire. And if the homeowner had been cooking recently so that there were grease splatters on that cabinet insert—since the OTR MW above is blocked by the insert—it would light on fire in a split second. A fire in a pan might be able to be contained, but once the flames catch onto the cabinet directly above it, all the cabinets would be engulfed. I wasn’t quoting those NFPA statistics for nothing. Suedonim75, your comment is irresponsible.


  • suedonim75
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    That is the code height for combustible materials above a stove. If you have flames shooting that high, one little piece of trim is the least of your worries.

    And again you have failed to read what the OP said. It is 1 piece of trim attached across the bottom of the microwave. It is not blocking anything. It is not an insert, it is a piece of trim. How is it different than all of the wood covered hood vents that are installed everyday. Do you scream at all of them that they are going to burn their houses down?

    Everyone keeps saying the GC was an idiot for installing this piece of TRIM. If it is within the required clearance, then he did nothing wrong.

  • PRO
    ProSource Memphis
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    It is not within the required clearance for combustibles IS the issue. That piece of wood is obviously about 20” off the counters, not anywhere close to the required 30”. Compliant wood hoods start at 66” above the finished floor, not 56”.

    Please do not give inaccurate and truly dangerous advice.

    It seems that numerous people can use a refresher on the Code of Conduct. https://help.houzz.com/s/article/Houzz-Discussions-Code-of-Conduct?language=en_US&parent=0TO0y000000kD9mGAE

  • suedonim75
    2 months ago

    If you read what I wrote, I asked the OP what the measured distance was. And I said, “if it is within”. I never said it was ok, I never said to leave it. And I never gave inaccurate or dangerous advice. I stated what the minimum clearance was.

    And I’m sorry, but there are many threads on here about wood hoods and the advice given was 30-36” above the stove. I did a search before I mentioned them.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Pro Source: Microwaves are horrible at venting. if they were higher than the 54" that you say, they wouldn't work properly.

    The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that the bottom of the microwave should be no higher than 54 inches above the floor, which would allow for 18 inches of clearance between the microwave and the typical cooktop height of 36 inches. Some manufacturers allow smaller clearances.

    Range manufacturers and the Microwave manufacturers both have requirements for their individual appliances and what they consider minimum distance.

    G2447.5 (623.7) Vertical clearance above cooking top. Household cooking appliances shall have a vertical clearance above the cooking top of not less than 30 inches (760 mm) to combustible material and metal cabinets. A minimum clearance of 24 inches (610 mm) is permitted where one of the following is installed:

    1. The underside of the combustible material or metal cabinet above the cooking top is protected with not less than 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick insulating millboard covered with sheet metal not less than 0.0122 inch (0.3 mm) thick.

    2. A metal ventilating hood constructed of sheet metal not less than 0.0122 inch (0.3 mm) thick is installed above the cooking top with a clearance of not less than 1/4 inch (6 mm) between the hood and the underside of the combustible material or metal cabinet. The hood shall have a width not less than the width of the appliance and shall be centered over the appliance.

    3. A listed cooking appliance or microwave oven is installed over a listed cooking appliance and in compliance with the terms of the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the upper appliance.

    Consult the manufacturer of your microwave and see what they recommend. Code is usually 24" unless the manufacturer says it can be lower.

    (of course the wood trim doesn't apply to these instructions)

    I have a solid wood vent hood cover with walnut trim. it's at 30" above the stovetop. From the floor it's almost 68" . It's perfectly fine.

    I don't know what brands OP has, or what their recommended clearance is. But if that wood trim is under 30", then it should be removed


  • Shannon_WI
    2 months ago

    It doesn’t matter that it’s just “trim”. It’s combustible. If it catches fire, all the cabinetry will be engulfed. Wood hood surrounds have metal liners. Wood hoods surrounds sit proud of the cooktop beneath them. Wood hoods are placed higher than that trim. And there have been plenty of wood hood surrounds that have been called out on this forum as unsafe and against Code.

    Suedonim75 - are you so intent on your scoffing above all else that you will advise for an unsafe flammable situation for someone’s family?

  • PRO
    ProSource Memphis
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    You can’t have it both ways. Any kitchen experienced person with eyes knows that an OTR is not placed at 30” above the counter. There’s standard bottom alignment height of uppers too, if you want to get into that industry standard. Neither standard fact which you appeared to know, or understand.

    Insisting that you qualified that with “if” it meets codes is trying to backpedal and have it both ways by giving dangerous advice, and then trying to say you didn’t. You did. And it was obvious to anyone. You also did so more as an attempt at a personal dig than attempting to help the OP, which makes it even worse.

  • suedonim75
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Sure, whatever you say. 🙄 I never backpeddled, but if you say it’s true, and repeat it over and over, then I guess it’s true.

    Best wishes to the OP.

  • S. Crawford
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @suedonim75 - I appreciate your support and intent. I measured from the bottom of the trim to the glass top of the stove and it is 20”. Without the trim the distance would be 23”. We will take down the trim. It won’t be hard to do, there’s nothing on the bottom of the microwave covering the fan or anything like that. It was only the trim in the front so it should be an easy fix.

    @Everyone - Again- thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, concerns and advice. Your efforts were not in vain. Y’all be easy and take care!

    Sincerely,
    S.

  • jennsbabysky
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Lovely kitchen. I'm glad your refrigerator opens all the way. Love the way the microwave looks with the trim, but agree that removing it would be a smart decision. Most of all, love your attitude, thanks for continuing to be kind and considerate in spite of the heated discussion.

    Enjoy your gorgeous kitchen!

  • dan1888
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Since you've been hit pretty hard already I might as well throw you another recommendation for your future remodel. . . .If your range is a radiant cooktop you'll be using the most difficult to clean, least responsive method for cooking. And that's because the glass has to heat up to 750* to heat your pan. Very slow heat and cool times. That high glass surface heat bakes anything on. You need single edged razor blades and BonAmi to clean the surface and the bottom of your pans. Induction, like a Frigidaire or Bosch range(slide-in preferred) heat the pan. The glass just gets warm. Cleans with Windex and paper towel. Response is near instant with more power than gas. Much safer for kids. . . . You can get a box of razor blades at Harbor Freight. . . .