Trim Kits: Do You Need One for Built in Microwaves?

Almost all of us have used a microwave before, and they can be found in almost every home and apartment kitchen. In fact, according to some estimates over 90 percent of households have a microwave in the United States. With so many microwaves, there are a variety of ways that they can be incorporated into a kitchen, including on top of countertops, built into cabinets, and microwaves mounted with a trim kit.

Built-in microwaves do not require the owner to install them with a trim kit. A built-in microwave comes with a trim around the door already in place. Trim kits can be used to fill gaps between the microwave and cabinet or to help the microwave match the color of other kitchen appliances.

While it might seem a little complicated, a trim kit can be used with any type of microwave, including a built-in microwave, depending on your needs. As long as you are aware of the benefits and downsides of using a trim kit, you will be able to make a plan that will help you improve the quality of your kitchen. Here are some tips to help you with this process, as well as some answers to common questions about trim kits.

Do You Need a Trim Kit for a Built-In Microwave?

The first thing that you may be wondering is if you need a trim kit for a built-in microwave. A trim kit is an attachment that you can install over the front of a microwave. This helps a microwave that might be stored in a cabinet blend seamlessly into the surrounding cabinets as well as match the other appliances in your kitchen area. A trim kit is used most often for a countertop microwave that owners want to install into a cabinet.

However, if you have a built-in microwave, there is a good chance that you do not need a trim kit. One difference between a countertop microwave and a built-in microwave is the way that they are designed. While a countertop microwave is meant to be left out in the open and seen, a built-in microwave is meant to be hidden by putting it into a cabinet or installing it in an empty space in your kitchen.

A built-in microwave has incomplete sides that are meant to be hidden by the frame near the front. For this reason, a built-in microwave will come with a frame installed around the front door of the microwave that ensures that it blends into your kitchen. With the built-in frame, you do not need a trim kit unless you have special circumstances. For those of you to whom this applies to, we have included some situations where you may want to use a trim kit with your built-in microwave below.

When Would You Want to Use a Trim Kit for a Built-In Microwave?

While generally, you will not need a trim kit for a built-in microwave, there is a chance that you may want one in a handful of situations. Here are two of these situations, as well as why a trim kit would be useful to solve the particular problem.

Closing Gaps

The most common situation you might encounter is that you have gaps between your microwave and the surrounding appliances or cupboards after installation. A built-in microwave is meant to be installed in an open cabinet or cupboard shelf and unless these frames were designed with a specific microwave in mind there is a good chance there may be some gaps around the microwave, even with the enlarged trim that comes attached to the front of your built in microwave.

Adding an additional trim kit around the edges of the microwave can ensure that there are no gaps visible and that your microwave fits seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen instead of appearing like an outsider.

Adjusting Color

Another reason you may want to use a trim kit is to adjust the color of your microwave to match the color of other appliances in your kitchen. If you find a microwave that has a trim that doesn’t match your kitchen colors, but you could get a really good deal on the microwave, you do not want to turn it down. A trim kit can help you by helping you to match the colors to whatever you need, while still getting a microwave that you do not have to pay through the nose for.

How to Install a Trim Kit for a Built-In Microwave

To install a trim kit for a built-in microwave, you are going to want to do a couple of things. First, you are going to want to check the measurements. You will need the measurements for your microwave, as well as for the place where you are planning on installing the microwave.

Measure the height of the microwave, the width of the front, and how deep the microwave goes. Then you will need to measure the same things in the space where the microwave will end up. There are some things you need to keep in mind with these measurements. There needs to be at least two inches more height in the space than the microwave is tall. This will ensure that there is an inch of space on top and below the microwave to allow air to circulate and prevent a fire hazard.

Once you have the measurements, you know what size of trim kit you will need. Trim kits can be purchased from the microwave manufacturer, and if you have an odd set of measurements and can’t find a standard trim kit, some suppliers make custom-sized trim kits.

To install the trim kit, you will need a couple of tools. Insert the microwave into the space, making sure to leave some open air around each of the edges to allow for proper airflow. If the trim kit comes with screws you will need a handheld drill. Use the drill to install the trim kit at each of the screw holes. You may want to recruit a second person to hold the trim steady while you insert each of the screws. If the trim is attached with brackets, follow the directions on the packaging to ensure that the trim will be installed evenly and securely.

We’ve included a video below going through each of the steps of this installation project.