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Over The Range Microwave

I purchased an over the range micro wave, but my range does not back up to a fixed wall. All the instructions talk about fastening to a wall stud. Any ideas or should i forget this approach? We currently have a vent attached to a small cabinet above the range.

Re: Over The Range Microwave

No I don't think you need to worry about attaching to a stud although it is a better job and holds better against the wall but is not always necessary.
The important thing though is is your upper cabinet attached to studs? Most of the time the answer will be yes but if not then you need to put blocking in against the stud and nail the blocking into a stud under the cabinet and attach the upper cabinet to that. If you don't the microwave might stay in place for a while but will probably begin to sag and then break free from the wall causing injury or death. I know Tom Silva beefed up studs by putting blocking in on Ask This Old House for a microwave job and you might even be able to find the video on the website as some but certainly not all of the projects can be found on the website in video. If you have high speed internet find the video if it is here and take notes as to how he istalled the microwave. It isn't hard to find the studs but he did use some saws and he gives tips on how to safely cut where wires are to avoid cutting them. Of course the number one tip turn the electricity off to the kitchen receptacles first.
If your cabinet is safely anchored to studs you can safely skip attaching the back plate to studs and instead use heavy duty wall anchors like butterfly clip style anchors that grab onto your drywall. Once you have the back plate on make sure it aligns with the outside vent or it will have to be moved and placed in another area. If you decide you don't want to vent outside then block in the area with wood and then put new siding on the outside. If you go ventless most microwave fans need to be turned around, your instructions will tell you how to do that. Whatever you do though don't try to put the microwave up yourself this is a two person job as it is very heavy as you know. Then make sure that the microwave is attached to your upper cabinets and that the upper cabinet is firmly attached to studs and then you are done if you have an electrical socket in your upper cabinet already with a cover and electrical box.
All of the above instructions are a bit hard but can be done by the homeowner if you take your time and use care and are cautious in how you install the microwave. However I do caution you not to take on the project yourself unless you feel completely safe in doing so. I did some of the steps on my own but also had some help along the way in getting the microwave up namely electricians to wire the plug into the cabinet and for the outside someone to take care of the venting situation as my vent was in a different place and I wasn't sure about some of the proper steps where a more experienced person was. So please ask for help if you are stuck. Good luck to you and Merry Christmas!

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