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We're in the middle of a kitchen remodel and we have replaced our old 48" Viking slide-in gas rangetop with a new Miele rangetop. The rangetop came with an "island trim" behind the unit which is only a couple of inches high. The installation instructions say that the range needs to be located 10" from any combustible surface, and if you install it flush against a back wall you need to purchase a 12" high backguard at a cost of around $400. One of the reasons we purchased this unit is because my wife really liked the low profile back trim, and Miele's own brochure shows the rangetop up against a tile wall with just the island trim.

So I called Miele customer support. They told me that a tile backsplash behind the unit would be just fine, that the 10" requirement was to ensure that people didn't put something easily flammable directly behind the rangetop. Still, I was concerned so I cranked up the back burners and ran the unit for ten minutes or so and checked the wall temp behind the rangetop. The drywall behind the unit (the tile is not yet installed) measured around 160F. That said, we'll probably only use the back burners once or twice a year since we have three front burners, so it's not like the wall is going to be subjected to constant heat.

So now I don't know what to do. Should I accept the opinion of the customer support guy? Do I have to bite the bullet and buy the expensive backguard that my wife hates? Is there any way I can add protection to the wall by replacing the drywall underlayment with something else on which I can mount the tile?

Thanks, and sorry for the long post.

Stan

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If you are installing tile then just wait to use the back burners on high until that is done. Any type of tile should be an adequate fire barrier for a stove top.

If you have to have something in the interim then I suggest taping up some aluminum foil or if you want to get semi-permanent some fire retardant paint.

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If you are tiling the back wall you could replace the drywall with concrete board or just tile it.

I went with back painted glass as a backsplash behind my cooktop with silicon to seal it to the drywall. It has a pretty great look and glass is like tile - non combustible. It is pricey though so you might be better off with stone or tile.

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Drywall is perfectly fine. Tile would be even better, but drywall is normal behind a cooktop and is in fact relatively fire resistant. I would avoid wallpaper - it might be a little more flammable and grease would collect on it. But painted drywall is fine.

  • The wallpaper advice is good. Drywall is not good behind a stove without a back gauge panel. Grease will embed in the drywall and can catch fire after time. You are right it is not an issue on initial use but over time it could be. The stove he is ordering is almost commercial grade - drywall could catch on fire. No restaurant would be code with drywall behind same oven. – DMoore Mar 29 at 4:08
  • @DMoore Restaurant situation is a bit different. I've still got just painted drywall behind my cooktop (Kitchenaid, more powerful than standard but not like a Miele or Viking) - tile is on my perpetual to-do list. I probably use my cooktop a lot more than the average person. One thing that helps though (in my case) is the back burners are much less powerful than the front burners. – manassehkatz Mar 29 at 4:24
  • But your kitchenaid probably as the electronics in the rear behind the last set of burners right? That is the difference. Most stoves have a barrier of flame to wall and then you are right. – DMoore Mar 29 at 15:37
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If you not going to tile the back wall just replace the drywall with cement board and skim coat it to look like drywall. The cement board should withstand the heat better than the drywall

  • Thanks for all the responses. We are definitely tiling behind the wall. – Stan McFarland Mar 30 at 2:40
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Mar 30 at 15:40

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