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Kitchen appliance difficulty
Old 02-05-2016, 09:43 AM   #1
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Kitchen appliance difficulty

We need new wall ovens. The current double electric oven is over 20 years old and disintegrating. I looked up the model, got the specs and went searching for a replacement. I also paid Lowes $35 to have someone come out and look at the installation.

It turns out there are no 30" double wall ovens that fit the built-in opening. So much for standards. The cut-out is 47 1/2" high, new ovens start at 48 5/8". The Lowes installer also pointed out that the 220 electrical feed is at the bottom, while most current models are at the top.

We're not sure what to do next. It seems we have options:

- Buy a single wall oven or oven / microwave combination.

- Take out the oven, re-cut the opening, then choose from among a decent set of double oven options.

- Sell the house and move

Smaller ovens aren't a viable option, as the 24" and 27" models all appear to require the same height. Even so, DW does not want a smaller oven.

Re-cutting the opening is an inviting option, but I'm not sure how messy it can get or how expensive it might be. Above the oven is a cabinet, below is a drawer. The drawer has plenty of height to "give away". Between the drawer and the oven above is a shelf of some sort, thickness unknown. That shelf would need to be cut out or removed, and a new one put in about 3 to 4 inches lower. The drawer itself would need a smaller front, the challenge would be to match the formica.

Are there any other options? Is there a complication or risk to lowering the bottom of the cutout, or is it not a big deal?
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:48 AM   #2
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I'd re-cut the opening. Perhaps if you posted a photo of the top and bottom we could determine which might be the easiest.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:53 AM   #3
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I'd re-cut the opening. Perhaps if you posted a photo of the top and bottom we could determine which might be the easiest.
yep - definitely go with a 30". I had a smaller wall oven once and it was no bueno. Get a convection model while you're at it.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:58 AM   #4
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I feel your pain. Recently had to use my router to enlarge opening to accommodate hinges on new fridge. Install of third microwave in this home went well but each install had a different method rather than "switch out."

I've built additions, a home, and a lot of furniture. It's difficult to assess the feasibility of enlarging the enclosure without examining it first hand. I'd look for someone who's more than your typical handyman to assess the situation. I'm sure the Lowe's contractor is limited to standard installs (by policy if not capability), surprised he didn't offer some guidance other than "this won't work." Someone with some ingenuity and woodworking experience may well be able to open it up enough for the new units.

All that said, it may be difficult to find such a person. There are a number of times I've decided to hire stuff out because I'm just not interested in tackling something, but it's hard to find people who a) are capable and b) show up like they're actually interested in making a buck. So I end up doing it myself... Good luck!
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:00 AM   #5
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I'd re-cut the opening. Perhaps if you posted a photo of the top and bottom we could determine which might be the easiest.
Top cabinet doors and bottom drawer
.
.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Top cabinet.jpg (49.0 KB, 265 views)
File Type: jpg Bottom drawer.jpg (46.2 KB, 265 views)
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:01 AM   #6
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Also, need to get the specs of the units you have in mind to be sure you have required clearance for heat dissipation.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:03 AM   #7
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If it was me, I'd call my handyman and have him re-cut the opening and change the positioning for the electrical feed. He would need to know what oven I intended to install, to get it right. Or, maybe he would want to have the oven there already so he could install it for me which would be even better. I would ask him what he wanted me to do, first, so that he could check it out in advance. All in all he would probably charge me a few hundred dollars but it would be cheaper than buying another house.

My half century old garage has an unusually large, heavy garage door, a very high ceiling (20 feet maybe?), and had never had a garage door opener installed before. My handyman ordered a very heavy duty one, built a framework to mount it from, and installed it for me, and it works just fine. Not that this is the same problem, but like your situation it involved some ingenuity and experience that the average homeowner might not have, but that a good handyman can provide.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:15 AM   #8
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We planned for this issue in our kitchen remodel. The wall oven we had (which we still have) is hard to find a replacement for because it's very narrow. When DH rebuilt the cabinet that the oven was in he made the cabinet wider than the original. Ours is a single oven - but we replaced the countertop-cooktop with a full oven/range - so we have 2 ovens now - one gas, one electric. We lowered the wall oven in the new cabinet - and built a shelf for our micro/convection oven.

I'm with W2R - hire someone to expand the opening and deal with the 220 wiring issue.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:16 AM   #9
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All that said, it may be difficult to find such a person. There are a number of times I've decided to hire stuff out because I'm just not interested in tackling something, but it's hard to find people who a) are capable and b) show up like they're actually interested in making a buck. So I end up doing it myself... Good luck!
A good handyman is worth his weight in gold. It took me several years to find one. Knowing a good handyman is one of many reasons why I love developing roots in the community. For me, doing it myself is not an option since I am unusually "un-handy" and despise this sort of work. What can I say; I'm a retired academic. So, I really need my handyman. He knows his limits and will call a licensed electrician, plumber, or whatever, that he works with when something is over his head.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:23 AM   #10
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I would get a good finish carpenter or cabinet maker and ask them which is easiest/best. It sounds like you need 1 1/8" or perhaps a bit more depending on required clearances. I assume that width is no problem.

I could see raising the top of the opening and trimming the top of the doors to fit or alternatively taking out the part between the bottom of the oven and the drawer below so the top part of the drawer front would butt up against the new "bottom" of the oven opening when the drawer is closed.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:01 AM   #11
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I would consider cutting the top of the upper cabinet doors and moving the shelf up. You would have to decide if you could trim the doors on top and possibly paint the edging to match close enough to not be noticeable. Raising the shelf should be doable. Possibly replace the power cord with a longer one if needed.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:42 AM   #12
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We faced a similar choice a year or two ago, except with a 42 year old 27" oven needing replacement. We went with a new 27" oven. The old oven was ridiculously small, barely fitting a 25 pound birth at thanksgiving! Bigger would be better of course, since we cook all the time.

The main deciding factor to go with a 27" replacement was that no work was required to modify electrical or the cabinet cut out. The cut out dimensions weren't exact, and it required a little wiggling to get the new oven to fit in the old opening (I think I might have actually trimmed 1/16" or so off with a sawzall), and there's a little gap at the bottom that you can see if you're crawling on the floor (most guests over age 3 don't do that).

DW wanted a double oven but it was going to be way more work including upgrading the circuit and losing the lower cabinets. Upgrading the circuit might have meant a new circuit breaker box too (it's old and not sure if it can handle more load or if an electrician would work on something that old). We figured $1000-2000 plus the higher cost of a double oven vs single oven to make a double oven happen.

In hindsight, we do just fine with a single oven other than "it would be nice" once per year when we host 30 for Thanksgiving. The new 27" oven is MUCH larger than the old 27" oven (better design I guess). 25 pound birds fit no problem.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:46 AM   #13
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This is why I like to keep things simple with a standalone stove.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:47 AM   #14
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Do you really use two ovens? We've had a double oven for almost 30 years now, and I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over) the number of times that we have needed the lower oven.

The double oven in my house is around 39 years old, was very high quality in it's day, and other than looking somewhat dated works just fine.

Were this me doing it, I would vote for the single oven with combo microwave or warming box etc.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:02 PM   #15
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Do you really use two ovens?
Yes. We've used ours twice this week and a half dozen times so far this year. DW is an excellent cook and doesn't ask for much in the way of kitchen gadgets. The things we do have are well used (and used well).

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I would consider cutting the top of the upper cabinet doors and moving the shelf up.
There is more space above. I have two concerns about that, however. First, the cost of new doors will be more than the cost a new drawer front. Second, not really visible from the photo, is the doors above can be seen from everywhere while the drawer is only easily seen nearby, and it's in a bit of a shadow. If the color of the replacement door or drawer cover were a bit off it would be much more evident up than down.

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A good handyman is worth his weight in gold.
I couldn't agree more, even though we haven't found ours yet.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:04 PM   #16
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Depending on how much you use the second oven an oven/convection microwave might do the trick. I have a convection micro instead of a second oven which I can use as a second oven on the rare occasion that I need it. In use, it does sound like a jet engine sitting in my kitchen, though, while the convection on the regular oven is barely audible.

You have nice looking European style frameless cabinetry and will probably need to get a cabinetmaker involved. Formica colors don't seem to change from year to year, so you should be able to patch any cuts as needed.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:05 PM   #17
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This is why I like to keep things simple with a standalone stove.
I wanted to convert to a standalone oven instead of separate in wall oven and cook top. Much cheaper to get a standalone oven with integrated cooktop and replace it as necessary (and DIY repair it, for that matter). But we would have had to rewire the cooktop location for higher amperage and tear out some drawers and countertop to fit it in, then modify the current wall oven opening to have shelves and/or doors on the space.

So we're "stuck" with the current set up unless we want to spend big bucks to make what would be a mostly cosmetic change now (but long term money saver assuming periodic replacement of the cooktop/in wall oven). Maybe the 44 year old cooktop will veer away from it's current near-mint condition and fail in the next several decades.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:17 PM   #18
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It looks to me like you have your 1.25" in the space above the bottom drawer. Depending on what the internal frame looks like, I'd see if you could trim out that slot. An oscillating tool can make some amazing plunge cuts.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:25 PM   #19
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If this is for your Florida home I would look for places that sell items removed from remodels or tear downs .They sometimes have some very nice items since tear downs are so common around here and since a lot of the items are from vacation homes they have very little wear.In Florida they tear down newer homes near the water to build even newer homes . No LBYM 's here !
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:47 PM   #20
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OK, it's the height, not the width that is giving you issues.

Make the top cabinet shorter. Either modify it, have one custom built. No problems. That is an easy fix. With painted cabinets, it's even easier to match.
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