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Upgrading a Range Hood

When I bought my house the kitchen had an under-cabinet range vent that I’d have to guess was installed in the 1980s. The cabinet above the vent wasn’t particularly useful as the duct ran straight up through the cabinet taking up most of the useable space. So before I had decided to do a full renovation of the kitchen, this seemed like a manageable upgrade that could really transform the kitchen for little money and with little effort. Plus that old vent really needed to go. The filters hadn’t been changed in god knows how long and when the stove would heat up, the caked on oil would drip down onto our range. Truly repulsive. Here's what it looked like before.




To be clear, the ducting and vent already existed inside my cabinetry, so this tutorial won’t walk you through how to install a vent where there isn’t already one existing. This is simply a guide to how I upgraded from an under-cabinet vent to a mounted range hood.


STEP 1: Unplug and remove the existing hood.

This step will obviously be unique to whatever hood you’re replacing. For me, removal was as simple as unplugging and removing four screws. Once I popped out those four screws, the entire thing came easily out from under the cabinet.


Tip: Be ready to catch the damn thing when you remove the last screw. You don’t want it crashing down onto your stove.


STEP 2: Remove cabinet doors.

To upgrade from under-cabinet to mounted, you obviously need to get rid of the cabinet. Before you start demoing, remove the doors and hinges from the cabinet. Make sure you remove the hinges from the cabinet as well, not just the doors. You won’t want any hardware or metal sticking out of the cabinet during demo.


STEP 3: Demo your cabinet.

This is the fun and exhausting part. Make sure to wear a respirator and eye protection at all times. You never know what’s lurking in old drywall. Every cabinet will be different, but to remove mine, I first loosened and removed the main duct from the vent to free up the shelves. Then, using a sawzall, I cut the shelves in half to make them easier to remove. You can see in the diagram below where I made my cuts.



Then using a rubber mallet, I hammered out the shelves. From there, I had to remove the actual cabinet box. This was a bit trickier and just required a lot of patience and careful leverage to pry these three pieces of wood off the drywall and surrounding cabinets.


After removing the vent and cabinet, this is what I was left with.

STEP 4: Patch, sand, and paint the exposed drywall.

At this point, I was left with exposed drywall that had lived behind the cabinet and the duct from the original vent. I began by patching any holes and knicks I made during demo with an all-purpose spackle. Then I lightly sanded the entire area to remove old paint drips and smooth out the patches.



From there, I gave the whole area a good three coats of paint. I eventually plan to tile this entire wall, but for now a satin-finish paint worked great.


STEP 5: Mount your new hood.

Once your paint has dried, it’s time to mount your new hood. You’ll want to follow the mounting instructions of your specific hood. This is the one I chose. It is from Wayfair and I love it! It was affordable, super easy to install, and it works great. Plus the light on it is so nice at night.


In order to center the hood above the stove, I wasn’t going to be able to drill into a stud. Whenever possible, you should drill into your studs. But in the cases where you can’t these toggle anchor bolts work great. I’ve used them to mount several TVs. Each anchor holds up to 80 pounds, so your hood isn’t going to go anywhere.


STEP 6: Plug that sucker in and get cooking!

I just love how the project turned out. It required very little technical skill and made a world of difference.


BEFORE


AFTER


Let the kitchen transformation continue!

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Artwork by Rhianna Marie Chan