Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Installing new over the range microwave
QUESTION: Dear Jim,
My Kenmore over the range microwave passed away, so we purchased a GE one with the same characteristics and also the same width so it'd fit in the spot in between kitchen cabinets where the old one was.
I was wishing that the metal plate which held the old microw. to the wall would be standard and would fit the new GE m.w., so it wouldn't have to be removed. But no way, they're quite different...
I removed the old one, and now I have a wall full of holes, and there's no solid beam behind the drywall at the spot for the m.w. I'm planning to patch the holes made by the old screws, but I don't think that if one of the new screws coincides with one of the patched holes, that the patch would hold like the original drywall did. I'd like to have a firm, secure, long-lasting installation, but I'm out of ideas. Would you please suggest a better way to do this?
Thanks in advance,
I instinctively want to ask are you sure there is no stud there but I know you're no dummy and have checked hard. Still it's hard to believe there is no stud in a 30'span. Even 24OC would have one in a 30" span. Poke some holes, look at the cabinet above and see if there are any screws in the back to indicate a stud. Something is holding that cabinet up, not just screws going stile to stile. That new plate has many perforated holes behind it which is designed so that no matter where the stud or studs are, a hole will line up.
I would not recommend using those molly bolts behind that mounting plate. That micro is heavy. I keep writing things and erasing it. It's hard for me when I can't see it. Just for an idea you can work with, depending on what's in that wall, here is what we do when we mount a wall-mount TV with no studs.........
We cut a square out of the half inch sheet rock. But again, there is one or 2 studs within this cut out. And we use this half inch sheet rock cut out and trace it on half inch plywood and cut out the square of plywood. Now we screw this plywood into the studs the cutout. In other words we just removed half inch sheetrock and replaced it with half inch plywood. Now when we mount the TV mounting bracket...ANYWHERE we screw, is solid wood. But before this mounting bracket goes on, it is spackled over just as if it was drywall. Sanded and painted just like a drywall repair.
Have you poked holes? Have you looked inside the upper cabinet to see if there were screws in back? Use a tiny drill bit and just drill holes. If there is a stud you will find it without making a mess.
I'm going to make one suggestion based on the TV scenario I just gave, assuming there is no stud. Cut a square of sheetrock out in that micro space. Maybe leave a 4" perimeter of sheetrock left showing. Now use that half inch plywood but it shall be about 2" bigger than the hole you cut. Liquid nail it to the back side (inside the wall cavity) around this 2" overlap. Screw the plywood to the back of the sheetrock. Now screw/liquid nail the cut piece of drywall back in the hole you took it from but now the entire surface behind that cut is solid plywood.
You now have a very solid backing to screw that mounting bracket.
I hope all that made sense.
If you learn anything more, feel free to write back but I will not be able to reply till Wednesday as I'll be on the road. Maybe I can with my phone but I just can't write much.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Jim,
Thank you for the great ideas. After I rated your answer, when I got home, I looked inside the wall thru the venting holes at the top of the wall, and you're right, it has what I believe to be a stud in the center of the space where the kitchen range and the over-the-range microwave go. It's a galvanized or metalic stud, but it's hollow, not like the wood ones I'm familiar with. I wonder how would a screw hold to this...? Mabe I have to use a special kind of screw? According to your experience, which is the best way to proceed with this type of stud?
Thank you in advance,
Metal studs. Yes there are special screws for metal studs but you really don't need them. Use the standard 2.5" gold or black wood screws that we use to put cabinets to each other and to the wall. As I said earlier, only one screw is needed on the back wall and now we know we have that stud.
Just one little thing you have to do with metal studs. You will put pressure on that screw while holding the trigger. It takes maybe 10 seconds before it breaks through the metal. Oh yea.......USE COARSE THREAD SCREWS ONLY (not fine thread) in metal. Once the screw penetrates the metal, slow down. Just click that trigger. Click click click. If you crank it home like you were screwing into wood, you will strip the metal. Once that screw is snug then STOP. Often those holes in the mounting plate are a bit bigger then the screw head. Pretty dumb huh? I know. Well you can use a small washer with your screws or put 2 screws per hole but angle them.
Sounds like you are on your way.