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minimum distance between cooktop and cabinets

We built our home 30 years ago and thought we'd like to replace the countertops with granite or quartz as well as the cooktop. We found the specs on most propane gas and electric cooktops specify a minimum distance of 18" between the cooktop and adjacent upper cabinets. Ours measure at 17 1/4". Obviously things have changed in 30 years as we passed all inspections and received a certificate of occupancy.

Our cabinets are 30" and hang from a soffit which houses plumbing on one wall and accommodates the venting above the cooktop to the outside.

Any suggestions? do we take out the upper cabinets and gain the extra 3/4" by making the soffit shorter (if we can), take the cabinets off the wall that is behind the cooktop, or WHAT?

Checking with the building inspector was no help. I'm considering keeping the old cooktop and plopping it back in granite or quartz.

Re: minimum distance between cooktop and cabinets

most granite counter tops are 3cm so that comes out to an inch an a quarter. where as formica tops which is what I'm assuming you presently have are an inch and a half so the difference means you are looking at 17 1/2 instead of 18 really 1/2 isn't that darastic. when you have kitchen fires it is usually due to to grease and carelessness. 1/2 inch won't change that.

Re: minimum distance between cooktop and cabinets
jkirk wrote:

this can come back on you , how securely is the cabinet above the cook top fastened to the wall, can you take just it down and then have someone cut the cabinet down for you then do the same with the doors? ive done this for cabinets above fridges when someone gets a new fridge and it wont fit under the existing cabinet

We thought about this - only problem is the doors have recessed panels and finding a router bit to fit the profile is not successful at this point. I did find the original specs for the electric cooktop which is existing to the kitchen - there are no specs for a minimum distance, so I'm thinking if we put the old one back in, it wouldn't be a problem since we haven't changed anything in the structure?


Re: minimum distance between cooktop and cabinets

even in brand new houses they quite often don't end up with exactally 18 inches. there is always an allowance built into specs of that sort. for instance when testing bridge spans the weight load that is figured is actually only one third of what the bridge actually tests out at. they do this because of figuring the bridge will age and there will be other factors that will cause the bridge to weaken over time and so one third gives them a good load number that will carry for quite some time. now that isn't saying that your measurement could be cut to one third but what they are figuring is what the clearance needs to be when all burners are on and that the cabinets won't burst into flames because of the high heat. and you don't usually hear of that kind of kitchen fire, you usually hear of kitchen fires due to grease or due to carelessness. and the height of the upper cabinets at that time aren't going to make a lot of difference. so I would be willing to say that at one half inch difference you would be safe at either one. use the one that will make you most satisfied.

A. Spruce
Re: minimum distance between cooktop and cabinets

I have to agree with Havana, a 1/2" isn't going to make any difference in the performance or safety of the cooktop. You also likely aren't going to find any pots that come near that height either, unless you're using industrial pots and pans, then you'll also quickly find that your residential cooktop isn't going to cut the mustard in heating a pot of that size anyway.

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