An oven is an important appliance in the kitchen. Being a source of heat presents special considerations. How far should you space the oven from the surrounding cabinets to protect them from the heat? How do you maximize space to meet function while maintaining safety? You may need some help in answering these questions. The good thing is that we have taken the time to do research to give you the answers!
For a stovetop oven, the cabinet clearance should be 30 inches from the stovetop to the cabinet bottom. If you have a vent, the distance may decrease to 24 inches. There is no code requirement for side clearances and will vary from professional, safety practitioners, and the manufacturer's recommendations.
Knowing the standard code and professional recommendations are just the initial steps in designing the layout of your oven to have a fully functional and safe kitchen. How about the other elements in relation to your oven, cabinet, and kitchen layout? We have examined the answers to these related questions. Keep reading as we give you the lowdown on what is the best placement for your oven!
Should You Follow the Code, Standard, Specification, or Regulations?
Upon planning to install your oven, you may find yourself confused in determining which codes, standards, specifications, and regulations to follow.
Codes are rules that are recommended per industry to follow for safety standards. They must be followed if it is in the building contract or adopted by the city. Standards are more detailed instructions on how to meet the code that considers the contractor, engineer, and user. Like codes, they may be voluntary or mandatory in cases included in a statute or regulation.
A specification is a specific requirement that comes from the product manufacturer. This is because manufacturers know the parameters of their products based on product testing and the materials they use.
Regulations may be based on codes and standards or may not contain any at all. They are passed by a government body and therefore need to be complied with by law.
It is important to read up on all the pertinent codes, standards, specifications, and regulations for your oven type and locality. Your contractor will know and guide you as they would be knowledgeable on these being part of their profession.
Should You Choose a Freestanding or a Wall Oven?
A freestanding or stand-alone oven is the traditional type. It is often surrounded by cabinets or may be placed alone, as the name implies.
The advantage is its multi-functionality, having a built-in stovetop with an oven underneath. The possible disadvantage is the size which may be an issue in small kitchen spaces. Another con will be the greater heat produced by the stove that will require higher clearance or adding a vent.
A wall oven is built in the cabinet. It is usually smaller than a stand-alone oven and therefore has the advantage of saving space and being customized to the preferred height of the user.
Wall ovens are also sleeker and give off a modern look to the kitchen. The disadvantage is that wall ovens do not have a stovetop, necessitating a separate stove or cooking appliance.
To decide which to get, you will have to consider the following factors:
Wall ovens are space savers which will give you additional cabinet space. Stand-alone ovens may require vents, and the required cabinet clearance will eat up space that could have been used for extra cabinets. You also have to consider the overall kitchen equipment requirements and the movable spaces, both affecting the look and aesthetics of your kitchen.
Freestanding ovens are relatively cheaper than wall ovens. Wall ovens may double appliance costs since they don't come with a stove. Wall ovens also require professional installers as there are electrical, venting, and construction requirements.
Doing it yourself may cut installation costs, but you will still need to buy the materials. This may require cutting into existing cabinetry and even the drywall and putting in an electrical outlet or gas line.
If you often cook or entertain guests and regularly have family gatherings, then going for a combination of a wall oven and separate stove may be better. This will allow two people to work on cooking and baking simultaneously without getting in each other's way.
Other lifestyle factors to consider are physical health and height. A wall oven is easier to use for baking if your knees are shot or if you are tall and need to transfer a heavy pan or pot from the oven to the countertop.
If, on the other hand, you rarely have family or social gatherings at home, and cook infrequently, then a freestanding range may be better for you. Both the stove for cooking and oven for baking are within reach of one person. You will also have easier access and more countertop space beside you with a freestanding oven.
How Far Should the Oven From the Wall?
According to builder Alexander Lee, you should place your oven 2 inches away from the kitchen wall for a drop-in or slide-in oven. This will allow space for the connection of the gas line and ventilation. The International Residential Code (IRC) may be slightly amended by your municipality, so it is best to check your manufacturer's installation instructions to be sure.
Do you Need a Backsplash Behind the Oven?
If you install an oven with a stovetop for cooking, you need a backsplash to protect the wall from grease. Hot grease can eventually damage your wall surface and create bubbles and peel the paint. Choose ceramic, porcelain, or any other type of material that is non-porous and can be cleaned easily.
How To Keep the Gap Between Oven and Cabinet Countertop Clean?
White vinegar is a common household item that can be used to remove grease. To use for cleaning the gap between the oven and cabinet, soak a rag in a vinegar and water solution and rinse out excess to wipe off the oven, cabinet, and countertop.
You can then wrap it around a butter knife to scrape off the gunk between the crack. Rinse the rag and repeat several times until clean.
Use Counter Gap Cover
A common problem is a gunk and dirt that accumulates between the oven and cabinet gap and on the floor. This is an inherent problem as grease and food bits fall during cooking and transfer. In this case, prevention is a better solution than constantly cleaning a tight spot.
Counter gap covers are a common solution to prevent crumbs and grease from falling into the gap between the oven and cabinet. These are usually food-grade, heat-resistant T-shaped silicone that fit into the gap with the top flat on both the stove and countertop. Gap covers also come in stainless steel to match metal stoves.
Use Clear PVC Plastic Tubing
An affordable and discreet solution is to use a 1/4 inch clear PVC plastic tubing by pushing it into the gap. Plastic tubing also comes in various colors, including clear transparency, allowing you to match your oven and countertop.
Just make sure that the diameter of the plastic tubing is slightly thicker than the gap to get a firm fit to keep it from falling. To clean, remove and wash with dish soap and water. Let it dry before reinstalling.
Use Wood Boards
You can use wood boards trimmed to cover a gap bigger than an inch or more. Always measure both sides and back gaps as the cabinet may not be perfectly square. Based on the measurements on each side and back, cut the wood boards and then screw them in place.
Make sure to pre-drill the holes before screwing the boards to get a good finish. You can also match the finish of the wood board and the countertop.
You can use different tapes to cover the oven and countertop gap. Tapes come in various colors that will enable you to match the countertop finish. Make sure to use heat-resistant and food-safe tapes such as silicone tape or those specifically designed for covering oven gaps.
Now that you know the basics, you can weigh the considerations to design your stove and cabinet layout by following these steps:
- Decide on what is the best type of oven for your lifestyle, budget, and kitchen space.
- Design your kitchen layout that best fits your preferred oven.
- Hire professionals to install wall ovens.
Now that you have a clear picture of how to proceed, you may want to check out these related articles.