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Changing cooktop cutout size?
Old 08-05-2007, 11:32 AM   #1
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Changing cooktop cutout size?

Anyone out there ever install a new kitchen cooktop with a smaller cutout size than the existing one?

I have a rather old model that uses a fairly large cutout, and nothing currently available matches the cutout size. I originally thought that the cooktops would have a fair bit of support that extends beyond the main 'box' that occupies the cutout, but upon inspection it looks like it actually needs to be pretty tight (within 1/4" or so). I can find some new cooktops that are smaller by half an inch to an inch in either dimension, but not sure if it's safe to reduce my cutout width by putting in some extra wood or something to that effect.

Anyone know anything about this or try this before (w/ success)?

Cheers,
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:45 AM   #2
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Anyone out there ever install a new kitchen cooktop with a smaller cutout size than the existing one?
Anyone know anything about this or try this before (w/ success)?
I'm shocked that your spouse hasn't used this opportunity to upgrade to a new counter.

It might actually be cheaper to start over with a new counter than it would be to pay a metal shop to make a matching insert.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:13 PM   #3
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New counter! (I can just see some guy suggesting some highly unattractive solution)
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:59 PM   #4
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I'm shocked that your spouse hasn't used this opportunity to upgrade to a new counter.

It might actually be cheaper to start over with a new counter than it would be to pay a metal shop to make a matching insert.
Ah yes, bless my beautiful, cheaper-than-even-me, L-way-BYM wife...she's actually the one that wants to figure out how to jury-rig a replacement cooktop w/o having to change anything else...

Some more observations after poking around some more:

* it looks like the actual weight of the pots/pans/grates is supported by the exterior frame of the cooktop, which is definitely bigger than the cutout, so no worries there on the weight/support since the exterior frame of the new cooktop will completely cover the current cutout and be supported by the current countertop.

* the interior frame around the cooktop 'box' appears to only support the weight of the box itself (not the grates or pots/pans), and also appears to not get as hot as the exterior frame since it's only attached at the very back to the exterior frame

It seems based on what I'm seeing that it should be safe to add some additional wood supports to reduce the size of the cutout to adequately support the interior frame.

Is this crazy? I'm guessing someone out there has actually tried this - I'd love to hear if anyone was successful or learned why it's a bad idea...

Cheers,
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:38 PM   #5
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Some manufacturers make a filler trim kit to reduce existing box sizes.

A proper but labor intensive alternative is to screw a piece of plywood to the underside of the existing counters plywood base, then from the top fill the existing hole with a piece of plywood trimmed to fit the existing hole, screwed down to the underlayment you just put in, then use a router to cut a fresh hole through both using the template provided with the appliance.

Might be a swell time to get a slab of stone instead.

But whatever you choose, be happy. I have a 250lb wall oven/microwave combination thats older than most people to replace, and there isnt a single replacement thats within 2 inches of the same size, horizontally or vertically. So I have to yank it out, rebox the opening and somehow match the existing cabinetry, then lift a new one in place. And I thought a water heater half full of sludge and mineral deposits was heavy

My sincere hope is that it blows up under the home warranty period...
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:21 PM   #6
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[quote=cute fuzzy bunny;543680]Might be a swell time to get a slab of stone instead.
quote]

That gets my vote!

As for CFB's 250 lb oven, I had the exact same problem. After months of searching, I finally found a replacement KitchenAid dual oven/microwave that fit the existing space with very little modifications. Like the original one, the replacement also weighed nearly 250 lbs and took three workers to get it into the cabinet. Three days later I got a letter from KitchenAid advising that my brand new oven/microwave was being recalled due to a potential fire danger. Boy, were the installers cheezed off having to come back to remove/replace it yet again...and I was so glad that it was under warranty!
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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But whatever you choose, be happy. I have a 250lb wall oven/microwave combination thats older than most people to replace, and there isnt a single replacement thats within 2 inches of the same size, horizontally or vertically.

Ouch...actually, that's probably next on my list (or rather, was on my list - I had no idea those things were that heavy!) I have the same type of combo oven/microwave in-wall appliance, and it's on it's last legs...if it broke at the same time as my cooktop, I'd probably seriously consider a remodel and replace the built-ins with free-standing units. But for now, the cooktop calls...
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:12 PM   #8
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Theres your other option and I did that once about 14 years ago. Cut out the cabinets where the cooktop was and dropped a freestanding range in there, then pulled the wall oven and put in shelves. Worked out pretty well and was a heck of a lot cheaper. You might also have to do some flooring, since the regular range might be an inch or two short of where the old cabinets were. I tiled the kitchen floor at the same time.

Not only are they heavy, wall oven/microwave combos are expensive. A decent basic model starts around a grand and they run into 2500-3000 pretty dang fast. You can get a pretty decent freestanding range with self cleaning convection oven for under $600.

Makes doing a little cabinetry a lot more appealing.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:08 AM   #9
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To the OP question, yes I have done both the countertop reduction and BONUS also the microwave replacement mentioned by CFB.
The countertop fortunately was done at the same time as I had the countertops tiled, so after doing the wood under the sides (I used 1x4s if I recall, and cut them to fit, glued and screwed in place, and also used some shims under them to make them solid under the countertop. Then did the counter tiling up to the edge, and dropped in the new counter top. 1 1/2 years so far, and no problems so far.
As to the microwave, I got some of the fancy baseboard with a lot of relief on them, and cut them to box around the microwave, and varnished to match the existing wall opening. I believe I used 5" baseboards (or 6" and I shaved them, can't remember anymore) as it has been 5 years now, it has worked out really well. Only problem was, being cheap, I reused a microwave that I already had, and I think it's starting to fail now, so I'll have to pull the boards to get the old one out, and replace with a newer microwave. Wife was happy with the looks, so I guess it came out all right as well.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:06 AM   #10
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My other thought on replacing the combo wall oven/microwave was to rebuild it for a regular wall oven and put in a shelf on top of that for a regular microwave. It'd be a lot cheaper, separate pieces are light enough for one person to handle. A lot more wood work though.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:07 PM   #11
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...Cut out the cabinets where the cooktop was and dropped a freestanding range in there, then pulled the wall oven and put in shelves. Worked out pretty well and was a heck of a lot cheaper...
That would be my first choice - except it would block a lot of the existing shelf space if we did that. Still might be worth it, as I hate this whole built-in crap. I suppose at some point those were all the rage, and that's why all the homes in my neighborhood have them, but what crap - more expensive, less compatible, AND job security for the countertop and appliance installation folks.

Looks like all the new homes are coming with free standing appliances now (except for the ones with the 'gourmet' kitchens, where built-ins still seem to be the standard).
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:13 PM   #12
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I just noticed there's at least one company that makes custom fillers for things like cooktops and wall built-ins to cover the gap.

Micro-Trim Inc.

Since there's no pricing info on the web site, it's probably more that I would pay...
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:47 AM   #13
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Compare Prices and Read Reviews on Micro-Trim Online Store at Epinions.com

Some favorable reviews. Trim is metal and comes in a small # of colors. If you want wood you're still rolling your own.

One reviewer said it was $95 plus shipping for a built in microwave trim kit.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:07 PM   #14
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From this woman's point of view:

1) buy a larger cooktop; OR

2) get a new countertop, for heaven's sake!

Get granite, for resale (plus, I love mine and you will love yours!). As long as you are getting a new countertop, get a new sink and backsplash. You might need new cabinets strong enough to support a granite countertop. And as long as you are getting new cabinets, countertop, sink, and cooktop, why not replace that ratty old floor?

Oops! guess I've been watching too much HGTV.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:26 PM   #15
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From this woman's point of view:
...
2) get a new countertop, for heaven's sake!

Get granite, for resale (plus, I love mine and you will love yours!).

Oops! guess I've been watching too much HGTV.
So BTW - been curious about granite - When we redid this place we went to a cast iron sink from our old stainless. Lar-de-da - so then I noticed that LOTS more glassware got broken and the white sink stains much more than the stainless one did. Not much "give" to cast iron and brushed metal doesn't show crud as quickly.

Other than looks and the ability to quickly suck the heat out of things, do you find that you break more stuff on granite vs formica?

What is the attraction of granite other than looks?
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:36 AM   #16
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So BTW - been curious about granite - When we redid this place we went to a cast iron sink from our old stainless. Lar-de-da - so then I noticed that LOTS more glassware got broken and the white sink stains much more than the stainless one did. Not much "give" to cast iron and brushed metal doesn't show crud as quickly.

Other than looks and the ability to quickly suck the heat out of things, do you find that you break more stuff on granite vs formica?

What is the attraction of granite other than looks?
I have had granite for the past five years, and I have never broken anything on it. Guess I am Little Miss Perfect. Or more likely, when I drop things they tend to fall on the floor, instead.

Granite looks great, it's true. Put one of those canned lights or spotlights over it, shining on it, and it looks spectacular.

Also, I like being able to put a hot pan down on it without worrying about a trivet. That may not be such a big deal but it simplifies life. I do use a cutting board just to be extra careful, but honestly I don't know if that is necessary or not.

It doesn't stain or get spots if you reseal it once every few years (that's really easy - buy the stuff at Home Depot for $8 and wipe it on, simple), and avoid leaving lemon juice on the surface for long periods (I never had any spots from lemon juice despite using lots of it in my cooking, but I read that online).

It's very, very easy and quick to clean and after you clean it, it looks spotless and shiny and gorgeous without any scrubbing or effort. Of course, if you don't care about appearance, then that may not make any difference to you.

It's also a great selling point if you ever decide to move.

And finally, the biggest advantage - - if you or your spouse likes granite, someone will be very happy!
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:51 PM   #17
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I finally got around to actually doing this so I thought I'd follow-up to my old post re: installing a new cooktop with a smaller cutout than the original in case anyone else ends up looking this up.

Good news is that it was easy as pie - I found a cooktop with a smaller cutout, but with overall dimensions larger than my old cutout (so it completely overlaps the old hole). I used some 3/4" plywood to "fill-in" the old hole, and it dropped in perfectly. You'd have no idea some DIY-hack replaced the cooktop.

Bad news is that I'm kicking myself for waiting so damn long to replace the old cooktop piece of ****. The replacement, although cheap, blows the old one away BTU-wise...
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