Answers to Kitchen Renovation Questions

Q. A neighbor gave me a microwave and the bracket for installation in a rental unit I have. I see the bracket and oven but I am not sure how it attaches. I have the cabinet hung where the microwave will go, so I am ready, but was wondering if anyone had info on how to proceed with no directions. Does anyone know of a site or an address to get the directions for installation?

A. Check the manufacturer for the model. However, if this a ventless, the bracket attaches to the wall and the unit sets into the bracket at the bottom and folds up to its final resting place. There are two basic methods that these appliances are attached. The most common is through holes drilled in the cabinet shelf, followed by machine bolts and washers (provided) down into the appliance. The other is a two-threaded rod accessed from behind the top vent panel, which attaches to the wall bracket.

Q. I love the look of copper but have no idea how high-maintenance it would be for a kitchen. Has anyone here seen how this material wears?

A. Copper is copper. It gets a patina after a while. It is also a soft metal and will dent if mistreated. If you like the "bright" copper look, either be prepared to do constant polishing or go another route.

Q. I have an old range that I'm replacing, however, I also want to put a microwave over the range. I currently have a microwave hood, but don't seem to have enough space for the microwave. Can I just cut out that particular set of cabinets above the stove?

A. If this is an old range in an old house, that doesn't have individual cabinets, cutting them down to size to fit is the only option. If there are individual cabinets, then trying to find a suitable cabinet to fit should be no problem, although the cabinet doors may have to be retrofitted.

Q. My husband and I have recently purchased a new home. The house is 21 years old and contains much of the original cabinets, appliances, tile, doors, etc. The first project we intend to start is with the kitchen. The cabinets are very dark brown wood with laminate sides. We intend to strip and paint them since our finances will not allow us to replace them. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we may change the tile backsplash behind the stove, around the kitchen wall, under the window, and above the sink? It's horrid! Can we paint it? Can we tile over it? Could we cover it with a stainless steel backsplash? On the other hand, is removal our only option? If so, how would we go about removing it without causing much damage to the wall surface?

A. When the budget is tight, you have a choice. Wait until you acquire more funds or make do with what you have. All your questions seem to be one of personal choice rather than what can be answered here. As you mentioned, money can be a roadblock to taking care of what you want with the expected results you desire.

Can you paint it? It can be done but is not recommended. Could you cover it with a stainless steel backsplash? Not really - stainless needs a flat surface for adhesion. Depending on the area and if you want it seamless, it can cost. Or is removal your only option? Then do what? The issue of money comes into play - removal of most ceramic tile will cause damage and it isn't worth the time to try and salvage the drywall. Best to replace it with new and go from there.

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