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I want to put a microwave on a shelf above a built-in oven.

What gap should I leave between the top of the oven and the shelf?

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What are the model numbers for both the oven and the micro? – HerrBag Apr 3 '13 at 17:08
is the microwave a counter top model or meant to be wall mounted? – HerrBag Apr 3 '13 at 17:09
Do you mean an Oven, or an Oven? – Tester101 Apr 3 '13 at 17:31

All appliances should list minimum clearances in the technical specifications, make sure you follow these. There is no general rule of thumb as each appliance is different. Some don't require any clearance and others requires a lot more then you'd expect.

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I assume your oven includes the cooktop (burners). Checking several appliance makers websites the general rule is 30 inches from the cooktop to the bottom of the cabinet. There are differences between various makes and models so check with the maker for exact dimensions. Since your shelf will act like a cabinet bottom I would use that as a guideline. You will notice that built-in microwaves generally require only 14 inches of clearance from the bottom of the microwave to the cooktop. The built-in microwave has a metal and heat resistant bottom panel. Your shelf assuming it is made out of wood is combustable and would require the 30 inch clearance.

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Most counter top microwaves have an air gap below them and an internal fan to remove heat. Unless the oven is very poorly insulated, the temperature above the oven shouldn't get too hot to put your hand comfortably. If it does, its too hot, period.

To answer your question directly, no gap other that what the microwave has, is necessary.

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