How to Build Cabinets for Over-the-Range Microwaves


Building a cabinet for an over-the-range microwave presents very specific challenges, due to the necessity of leaving the front of the cabinet open for microwave access, as well as the bottom of the cabinet for the venting of air. The workaround for this situation is to create a wooden frame around the edge of the bottom side which keeps the microwave within the cabinet but still allows air to be sucked into the microwave and vented. This hole's position can be adjusted based on the location of the vent underneath the microwave.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 plywood boards, 1/2-by-16-by-24-inch
  • 2 plywood boards, 1/2-by-24-by-24-inch
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Wood screws, 2-inch
  • 2 Plywood boards, 1/2-by-17-by-24-inch
  • 2 side-mount cabinet hinges
  • Wood screws, 1/2-inch
  • Knob
  • 2-part magnetic latch
  • Hand saw, reciprocating saw or jigsaw
  • Washer
  • Wood screws, 3-inch
  • Put two 1/2-by-16-by-24-inch boards on the ground. Make them stand up on their long, thin sides with the help of an assistant. Arrange them parallel to each other, resting about 2 feet apart. Consider these boards the side boards. Set a 1/2-by-24-by-24-inch board on top and perpendicular to the two side boards so that it rests on both of them.

  • Drill four holes through this horizontal board, which is the top board, and into each side board for a total of eight holes. Drill 2-inch wood screws through each hole to fasten the boards together. Repeat to add another 1/2-by-24-by-24-inch board to the other side of the side boards, to be the bottom board.

  • Rotate the box so that one of the open sides is facing upward. Place a 1/2-by-17-by-24-inch plywood board on top of the frame and line it up along the edges. Drill holes every 8 inches through this board, which is the rear board, and into the frame boards. Screw 2-inch wood screws through the holes to attach the boards together.

  • Flip the box over and set another 1/2-by-17-by-24-inch plywood board on top of the frame. Position two side-mount cabinet hinges between this board, which is the door, and one of the side boards. Mark the locations of the screw holes. Drill out each hole and attach the hinges to the door and side board with 1/2-inch wood screws.

  • Position a knob on the door and mark the location of the knob. Drill out a hole through the marking. Pass the knob bolt through the hole and tighten the knob nut on the other side.

  • Arrange a latch against the side board and mark its screw holes. Drill out the holes and attach it with a 1/2-inch wood screw. Nearly close the door, mark the location where the other half of the magnetic latch should be, and install it in the same manner.

  • Put the microwave inside the cabinet and mark the area of the bottom board which corresponds to the air intake on the bottom of the microwave. Remove the microwave from the cabinet and cut out that section of the bottom board using a saw. Drill a hole first if necessary and then use a small saw blade to begin the cut if the section is directly in the middle of the board.

Tips & Warnings

  • Attach the cabinet to the wall studs using 3-inch wood screws that have been passed through washers prior to installation directly through the rear board of the cabinet.
  • Paint or stain the cabinet to match the surrounding cabinetry.
  • Drill holes in the cabinet for the electrical cord to exit if necessary.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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