How to Install an Over-The-Range Microwave

Kitchen microwave
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  • 01 of 09

    Step-By-Step Guide to Install Over the Range Microwave

    Microwave and stove in contemporary kitchen
    Fotosearch / Getty Images

    Don't call a handyman or appliance technician to install your over-the-range microwave. Unless installation is part of the purchase price of your microwave, you can install it easily enough with common tools and an extra set of hands.

    Installation: Difficult or Not?

    Because the job looks deceptively ugly, let me tell you the only three aspects of this project that are even remotely scary—and why they are not.

    Securing Microwave to Wall

    Surprisingly, the microwave will not fall off the wall. Once you find the studs in the wall, you're 75 percent done. A special metal mounting plate attaches to the stud, and the microwave attaches to the plate. It is virtually impossible for the microwave to fall.

    Wiring the Microwave

    This is difficult only if you make it so. True, if you buy a hard-wired microwave, you will need intermediate electrical skills to wire it; it's best to buy a plug-in microwave so you don't have to deal with that.

    Deciding Where to Drill Holes for Power and Exhaust

    Paper templates temporarily applied to the wall will show you exactly where to drill. You can even drill right through the paper.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Tools You Need

    Install Over the Range Microwave Tools
    Lee Wallender

    Mostly likely, you will only need to go out and buy a few tools for installing your over-the-range microwave. None of these tools are very expensive.

    Tools Needed

    • Phillips screwdriver
    • Carpenter's pencil
    • Tape measure
    • Carpenter's square
    • Tin Snips (optional if installing a vent)
    • Household scissors
    • Electric drill
    • Saw
    • Stud finder
    • Level
    • Duct tape
    • Safety goggles
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  • 03 of 09

    Find the Studs

    Find the Studs
    Lee Wallender

    You'll need to install the over-the-range microwave to studs, not wallboard. Studs are secure; wallboard, while fine for hanging pictures or towel bars, is not. With an electronic stud finder, you can locate the studs with ease.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Apply Paper Template on Wall

    Apply Paper Template
    Lee Wallender

    Your microwave should have two paper templates: one for the wall, one for the upper cabinet. Apply the wall template to the wall with masking tape.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Apply the Paper Template on Cabinets and Drill Holes

    Microwave Template on Upper Cabinets
    Lee Wallender

    After applying the template to the wall, you're still not done. There should be a second template that applies to the bottom of the upper cabinet. This template will show you where to drill holes for power cords and venting.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Mounting Plate Installation

    Install Microwave Mounting Plate
    Lee Wallender

    The metal mounting plate is the real magic in over-range microwave installation. It's the one piece that carries all the weight. Screw in the mounting plate at the studs.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Move Microwave Into Place (Use Two People)

    Lift Microwave into Place
    Lee Wallender

    Now it's time for your helper to join you. Place the cord on top of the microwave. Have your helper hold the bulk of the weight while you reach around back and hook the slots to the tabs on the metal mounting plate. Push the power cord up through the hole that you drilled in your upper cabinets.

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Tighten the Upper Screws

    Tighten Microwave Upper Screws
    Lee Wallender

    Your microwave's installation kit should come with self-aligning screws. With your partner still steadying the microwave, go above into the upper cabinet and tighten the self-aligning screws with your fingers first. This will allow your partner to let go. Tighten screws the rest of the way with a wrench.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Connect the Duct

    Over the Range Microwave Connect Duct
    Lee Wallender

    If your microwave has a duct, connect it to the duct with duct tape.