How to Replace a Built-In Microwave | A Detailed Guide Noone Tell You


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Built-in appliances are products to save space in our kitchen and gain space where it is scarce. Built-in microwaves are prominent protagonists that work significantly in helping us free up counter space. Thus, an approach towards this path is in learning how to replace a built-in microwave.

If you look into your kitchen and can’t find space to put a simple cutting board, you have a problem. The kitchen is one of the rooms that require the freest space since it is key to preparing the different meals you make in your home. If you don’t have enough space, you will be inconvenienced when cooking, moving things around, and ending with considerable anger.

One of the main hoarders of space is the microwave. This product is beneficial when preparing different dishes in the kitchen, but the truth is that it is also junk that takes up a large part of the countertop. This is a problem that we can solve with a built-in microwave, as it is usually designed to save much space in your home. 

What is a Built-in Microwave?

A built-in microwave is a product that is built and designed to be installed inside a piece of furniture, generally a kitchen column, unlike tabletop microwaves. This assembly is carried out using rails or screws, in an approach similar to that of built-in ovens.

For the rest, there are usually not too many differences concerning conventional microwave, since according to the existing models on the market, we will have almost the same options for cooking. 

What is a Built-in Microwave

Advantages of Built-in Microwaves

The main advantage of the built-in microwave is the space-saving that the product offers to our kitchen. We are talking about the equivalent of freeing around half a square meter of the countertop, so it is not a space that we should disdain. The integrated microwave has the additional advantage of solving the problems of accessibility to the product. Now we can place it as high or as low as we want, as long as the furniture offers enough space, of course. 

As if that were not enough, we also avoid problems with the opening of the door. When we have the microwave in tabletop format, we have to leave the front area free so that we lose the section of the countertop where the product is placed, and that meant for the advancement of the door. In having the built-in microwave, that space is already free, so nothing is lost.

Finally, let’s look at the photos of an integrated microwave and one in a tabletop format. We will see how the integrated design is usually more elegant and offers a better finish in the kitchen.

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How to Replace a Built-in Microwave

Over time, it may be paramount to replace the built-in microwave because it is damaged or you desire to upgrade your kitchen. Whatever your reasons, the steps on how to replace a built-in microwave have been highlighted below:

Preparation for Installation

Step 1

The first step is to take the measurement. Make sure to take the measurement carefully to avoid ending up with an inappropriately placed microwave. Measure the existing microwave and the space in which it is situated. Do also pay attention to how far the microwave extends from the cabinet. Microwaves are usually 30 inches wide, but the height and depth will vary.

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Step 2

The width between the top of the range and the upper portion of the cabinet should be measured. The necessary elevation of the next microwave within this limit will be indicated by local rules and company’s instructions. The standard suggestion is for the distance between the top range and the bottom of the cupboard to be at minimum 30 inches.

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Take out the old microwave.

Next, it’s time to remove the old microwave. Do get someone to help you remove the old microwave and install a new one.

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Step 1

Unplug the microwave from the socket 

Step 2

Remove the screws from the inside of the microwave in the cabinet. Have someone support the microwave to prevent it from falling. 

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Step 3 

Tilt the device down, and then lift the back cover to release the microwave from the mounting bracket. Pass the wires through the bottom of the cabinet and put the old microwave aside.

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Step 4 

Old mounting bracket should be removed. Toggle bolts are most likely present if the bolts spin back into position when you attempt to remove them. When extracting the bolt, position a 5-in-1 tool or putty knife underneath the bolt arm and pulled the head back. The lever will then drop into the inner chamber as a result. You may make use of the old mounting kit if your new convection microwave is made by the same company.

built-in microwave with trim kit

Install the new mounting bracket

The general steps for installing a new mounting bracket for the built-in microwave include:

Step 1 

Take out the microwave from the box. The manufacturer usually prints instructions on the box. Next, open the lid and remove the accessories, leaving the packaging in place. Then turn the packing box upside down and gently rotate it so that the packing box can be pulled up and out of the device. 

Step 2

Remove the mounting bracket from the back of the microwave.

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Step 3 

In the cabinet opening, mark the studs. The center of the opening at the top and bottom should be marked. Use a level to extend the stud mark and bottom center markdown below the opening. These lines will help you align the wall template in the next step and help you find the studs after placing the template. 

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Step 4 

The built-in microwave includes a template for positioning the mounting bracket. Start with the wall template. Align it on the centerline of the wall, and then fix it in place with tape. Next, check whether the template is level. You can also use your stud position marker to mark a screw hole on the stud. Placing rolls of painter’s tape on the back of the template also makes them easy to fix and adjust. 

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Step 5

Remove the template and drill the needed holes. At least one screw needs to be fixed to the stud. It would help if you also used it to switch bolts for studs without holes. 

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Step 6

Stick the top template on the bottom of the cabinet with tape. Mark the location of the screw hole. You can also mark holes for the power cord as needed, but the easiest way is to reuse existing holes in the cabinet.

cabinet microwave
Step 7

Take off the template, and drill a pilot hole from the bottom of the cabinet. 

Step 8

Use the horizontal lines drawn on the wall and the marks made on the hole locations to install the mounting bracket on the wall to align correctly. Use toggle bolts in holes that are not aligned with stud bolts. To complete the installation, pass the bolt through the bracket and tighten it on the toggle. Push the toggle through the hole in the wall. Once in the wall cavity, they will open. Pull the bracket back and tighten the toggle bolts so that the toggle can grasp the back of the plasterboard. 

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Install the new Built-in Microwave

Before proceeding, you need to set the microwave to match the exhaust, which will be on the wall or through the upper cabinet. If there is no exhaust duct, the fan can be rotated to exhaust the air at the microwave’s front end through the charcoal filter.

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Step 1

To align the fan, remove the screw from the fan board and rotate the fan. Reinstall the board.

Step 2

If necessary, fix the adapter plate. The adapter plate can be opened to allow the fan to expel air, as it automatically closes when not in use to prevent air from entering the house from outside.

Step 3 

If the bottom of the cabinet is recessed, some manufacturers recommend installing wooden filler blocks. This prevents damage to the cabinet when tightening the mounting screws. Cut the woodblock to the recessed area’s height, punch a hole, and fix it to the mounting hole on the cabinet or microwave with tape.

Step 4

Pass the power cord through the cabinet’s hole. 

Step 5

Lock the device’s back to the mounting bracket, and then tilt the microwave into space.

Step 6

Secure the microwave on the upper cabinet with mounting screws. 

Step 7

Connect the microwave to the power socket and test the device.

How to Replace a Built-In Microwave: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to install a built-in microwave?

Yes. Installing a built-in microwave is relatively easy, as can be seen in the steps highlighted above.

Are built-in microwaves a standard size?

Yes. Most built-in microwaves are designed to fit standard size cabinets.

How long should a built-in microwave last?

Most built-in microwaves are usually made to last up to 10 years.

When should a microwave be replaced?

A microwave should be replaced once you notice the following:

  • Smoke, sparks, and burning smells
  • Improper cooking of food
  • Makes odd sounds when cooking
  • The door doesn’t close properly

Is it worth getting a microwave repaired?

Depending on the price used for the purchase and the cost needed in repairing the microwave, it may be best to replace it.


In conclusion, the built-in microwave has taken its place in the modern kitchen, and no family can do without it today, whether it’s heating breakfast quickly, defrosting a bag out of the freezer, reheating, or even cooking or simmering most foods. Its essential presence is confirmed in kitchens’ layout, where it finds its place in a high position. And for those who desire to know how to replace a built-in microwave, this has been adequately highlighted above. 

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