Microwave clearance from stovetop

What’s the minimum distance? Would this be a concern? Seems to be too close, in my opinion, however, I have nothing to back it up. Any help is much appreciated.

What ever the manufacturer says it is.

Majority of manufacturers state that the top of the microwave/bottom of the cabinet is to be 30 inches off the stove top. Typical microwave is between 15-17 inches in height.


I recommend a minimum 18" clearance.

That’s a good “rule of thumb” but it’s really up to the manufacturer to specify the mounting dimensions.

Of course these are not usually available on site and it would be reasonable for the inspector to recommend that the documentation be consulted if there is any concern.

As head Installer for 3 Sears I would use the 18 inch rule also known as can my grandma get her big a-s spaghetti pot under it rule.:slight_smile:

Some are specified and low as 13-1/2" clearance between stove top and bottom of the microwave.

Not really a defect and not required by any SOP I’m aware of.

If you call it out it is only as a courtesy that you offer your opinion and that’s fine.

I point out some things like that because people are hiring me to be another set of eyes that may see things they didn’t.

The problem in this situation is that the stove controls are behind the cooking area. In order to adjust the stove controls you must reach over boiling food and it is a potential burn issue.

Those appear to be oven/broiler controls. I believe the stove top controls are out in front.

So with no Micro you can bend your arm into the shape of an inverted U and make it go more than 18 inches above the burners at the same time.
Way to go rubber man!:slight_smile:
(what about from the side)

I’m 6’4" tall, so if I can’t see the controls on the back of the stove from a full standing position because of the microwave, I’ll point it out to my Clients. I did find one manufacturer that allowed a 12" clearance – the installation manual was in the brand new construction – but as I told my Clients, just try reaching back there on Thanksgiving day when you’re using all these burners, and let me know when the bottom of the microwave melts into the food. I’ve never eaten melted plastic before.

Have to agree with Russel…Gotta have a feel for the client as well as the requirements for anything…A requirement by the manufacturer or builder doesnt make it right for the client…Think about this…I have a son that is 6’5" and if he were to by a home that has the typical shower head, I would explain that he would have to bend a lil to get his hair wet…Does this make sense to anyone when it comes to educating your client? I would think so.

Well this is refreshing!

Recommending something to the client that doesn’t have to be associated with building code (which we do not have any authority to enforce)!

I advise my clients that I report everything (such as this) that has a potential to adversely affect their family and visitors to the property. I do not know the family dynamics of my client and it’s up to the client to determine what may or may not affect their lives.

Some inspectors spent so much time trying to find a building code requirement to justify what they report. It’s just not worth it. If it “appears to you” that there is a potential issue with the condition of the house, then simply note it. It doesn’t require “further investigation by some alleged professional” or repair. It’s simply a notation that may or may not affect the client.

I received a call this morning from a large HVAC contracting company because I noted in my report that the HVAC system that was located in the garage did not have 26gauge metal ducts which passed through the firewall between the attached garage and the house. The contractor was trying to determine what building code requirement I was enforcing, because the majority of the houses in the area had the same installation. I told him that first of all I was not enforcing a code. I did not recommend a repair. I simply stated that IRC 309.1.1 does not allow flex duct passing through a firewall.

Currently the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating several hundred houses that had been found not to have 5/8 inch sheet rock in the garage fire wall , rather half-inch. I don’t want to be around when somebody figures out that flexible HVAC duct on the return will melt within seconds and suck smoke and toxic fumes into the house and distribute it throughout, which will probably kill somebody much faster than the fire!

I told the HVAC contractor to not worry about whether it should be repaired or not, rather give an estimate to the parties concerned and a sell the job". It’s all about a real estate negotiation, not the law.

He was quite receptive with that response.

If you call it out it is only as a courtesy that you offer your opinion and that’s fine.

I point out some things like that because people are hiring me to be another set of eyes that may see things they didn’t.

I am considering this type of microwave and the two fellows whom you quoted and proceeded to pretty much try to make them look bad, make a lot of sense, it might be recommended by the manufacturer, yet that doesn’t mean it will pass an inspection if this is something that would concern a home inspector, or even a fire inspector.

Many complained how steam and heat were creating issues with their microwaves, most in the touch buttons that run across the bottoms.

Frankly you do come in here and quote and pretty much berate the others whom are giving thoughtful and reasonable answers, yet what you say is basically “well read the instructions, see what manufacturer says. And you sound pretty ignorant of your inspection duties” I believe these posts of yours serve one purpose, you are trying to get someone to hire you, posting your info at bottom, but when you do this try to make sense, or give good advice, and if you cannot then do not correct others good advice.

I see the 18" rule as a safe clearance for both room to work, safety, and should make your microwave last longer. It seems to allow more room than all the manufacturers suggest, and this is an “at least” not rule for it to work. Everyone’s cabinets are not the same.

Frankly I think “manufacturers” give advise that will ensure their product NEEDS maintenance and will break down in time, so you will buy another, I don’t trust things anymore, nothing lasts anymore it seems.

Thanks to you guys recommending a safe 18" clearance, as a former wife to a firefighter, and then Chief, safety is a priority in the home, better safe then sorry right?