Is Your Cooktop Not Level With the Countertop? (Possible Causes and Fixes)
Your cabinetry is beautilful. It also matches perfectly with the rest of your kitchen. But your cooktop isn’t level with your countertops, so now what? Why are they uneven, does it matter, and how do you fix it?
If your cooktop isn’t level with the countertops, there’s a good reason. You may need to adjust the height of your stove if it’s possible. If not, you’ll have to raise or lower the countertops to close the gap.
Should a Cooktop Be Flush with the Counter?
No rule says that your cooktop has to be flush with your countertop. Different range models may sit higher or lower than your existing cabinets. And in most cases, that’s perfectly fine as long as you like the aesthetic. Raised or lowered cooktops don’t affect the quality of your food.
However, most professionally installed ovens are level with the countertops surrounding them. That’s because uneven prep surfaces can make kitchens less functional. So, you generally install stoves to run flush with both the countertops and cabinets in the space.
NOTE: Regardless of the height, your stove door and handle should stick out about 1-2 inches from your kitchen cabinets.
What Is Kitchen Counter Height?
Kitchen counter heights can vary depending on the house. However, the average countertop stands about 36 inches off the floor. That’s precisely three feet, which may or may not be ideal for some homeowners. Thus, many homeowners install kitchen islands for more height.
The average kitchen island stands nearly 42 inches tall. So, that extra half-foot helps add dimension to the space and gives homeowners more options when shopping for stoves. Meanwhile, some people choose to adjust the height of the stove. But others may prefer to raise the height of their countertops instead.
Can You Raise the Height of a Countertop?
Raising the height of your countertop isn’t a simple task. You might even have to hire a professional countertop installer to help. But beforehand, make sure you know the materials you prefer and have a budget in mind. And know that the average cost of countertop renovation is about $2,500 (plus taxes, tips, and fees).
The easier way is to boost the base cabinet underneath. You can save your existing countertops this way. So, instead of demolishing and replacing expensive countertops, simply reconstruct the frame. Then, create a base that’s tall enough for your new cooktop. After that, replace the countertops for a completed look.
How High Can a Countertop Be?
Your countertop height depends on several things. That means you can customize your kitchen with the proper adjustments. Here’s what you need to consider in the meantime:
- The Number of People Who Use the Space
- The Height of Those People
- Your Functional Desires for the Room
Now, consider the averages. Most lower countertops are about 32 inches high, and higher counters range between 38 and 39 inches. But handicap-accessible countertops are usually 28 to 34 inches depending on ability.
Countertops can be any height you prefer. But non-standard sizes might make it more challenging to find a cooktop that fits evenly on all sides. So, take some measurements first. Then, consider the pros and cons of adjusting your kitchen countertops versus changing the stove.
Can You Redo a Countertop Without Replacing It?
You can revamp your countertops to run flush with your favorite cooktop. And you don’t even have to replace the existing slab to do it. Building a lower and higher cabinet base is one solution. But installing a new frame may not be as quick or easy as expected.
Professional countertop installers can remove the slab from the base and rebuild the frame to your specifications. Then, they can put your old cabinets back in place as long as the layout remains the same. However, remodeling portions of your kitchen to accommodate a stove may not be budget-friendly for some.
So, many homeowners choose to adjust the height of their stoves instead. And those who use countertop cooktops often choose a slide-in range or countertop oven. That’s because those options help them prepare their food without renovating the space.
Can You Adjust the Height of a Stove?
It’s much easier to adjust the height of your stove than it is to change the size of your cabinets. Raising or lowering your countertops requires messy and expensive construction. But raising or lowering a stove requires about ten minutes and zero tools.
Each traditional range has four feet on the bottom. And those feet are usually screwed into place. So, you can twist each knob to increase or decrease the height of your appliance. Just make sure the stove is empty and turned off before you try this. Otherwise, it could cause an accident or damage the machine.
When you get gone, push the stove to one side and see if it wobbles. Remember that you may have to adjust the stove several times to make it level with the countertops. Either way, you just saved $2,500 or more, and your kitchen is finally functional without a remodel.
TIP: Turn the feet clockwise to lower and counterclockwise to raise.
Do Countertops Have to Be Level?
Standard practice is to construct level countertops. So, most professionals will make sure your cabinetry is even before they leave. However, your countertops can become uneven after a few years due to many factors. Some of those factors include:
- Foundation Problems
- Structural Settling
- Uneven Flooring
- Poor Installation
- Improper Maintenance
For most activities, you need your kitchen countertops to be even. That means checking the foundation, floors, and cabinet base as well. And if all else fails, try to shim your countertops before paying for a replacement.
How Do You Shim a Countertop?
Did you know that you can shim the stove, the cabinets, or the countertops in your kitchen? So, there are several ways to fix your leveling problem quickly. And here’s how to shim a countertop if that’s the route you choose:
Step 1: Put Your Shim in Place. Then, try to wedge it into the under edge of your countertops.
Step 2: Hammer the Shim. Drive the wooden wedge into the frame until it sticks.
Step 3: Check the Evenness. Use a level to make sure everything is aligned, and then readjust if it’s needed.
Don’t forget to call in the professionals if things get too complicated or dangerous. Expert kitchen installers may even have a better solution than this.
What If My Kitchen Floors Aren’t Level?
If your kitchen floors are what’s causing the unevenness, there’s a solution for that too. However, you must determine the cause first. That’s because different reasons require different solutions. So, observe the condition and find out what’s making your floors buckle, dip, or bulge. And keep an eye open for water damage, especially if you have linoleum.
Uneven kitchen floors are dangerous because they can cause accidents. Furthermore, unlevel kitchen floors might make your appliances sit funny and function incorrectly. Then, you could compromise your appliance warranties if something goes wrong.
Fixing uneven floors can be a big job, and it usually requires a permit. That’s why many homeowners fix uneven floors before they install cabinets, countertops, and appliances. However, floors can become uneven on their own over time.
NOTE: The three leading causes of uneven flooring are: exposure to moisture, pest infestations, and damaged beams or joists.
Why Is My Stove Slanted?
There are several reasons why your stove could be slanted. One reason might be the condition of your floors. Uneven floors can make your range wobble or sit above/below the countertops. So, add shims or adjust the height of the stove’s feet for a level prep surface.Another reason could be the feet on your stove. Check that they’re all screwed in the same way and to the same degree. And if not, twist them to make your machine even with the floors and countertops.
How Do You Fix an Uneven Stove?
Fixing an uneven stove is as simple as adjusting its feet. Each stove sits on four screw-in knobs that you can raise or lower quickly with a twist. However, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions. NOTE: Some ranges don’t come with this feature.
Should a Stove Be Lower Than a Countertop?
Your stove and countertops should be as even as possible. That’s because significant gaps can cause messes and accidents, not to mention it can change the aesthetics of the space. So, try to keep the gap between your cooktop and countertop less than half an inch.
Cook with Confidence
Create a kitchen that’s as functional as it is fashionable. And cook confidently on an even cooktop that’s level with your cabinetry. But don’t settle for an inconvenient mess. Either adjust the stove, get a new one, shim the countertops, or fix the floors to find a solution.
Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.
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