Freestanding and slide-in ranges are often cheaper alternatives to built-in appliances. Their main downside is the unsightly gap between the stove and the back wall.
Depending on your kitchen layout, there could even be a gap between the side wall and the stove.
These gaps are not only ugly but spills and splashes are difficult to reach and clean.
An easy way to fill the gap between a stove and the back wall is with a stovetop shelf. Range gap fillers or a thicker backsplash can also cover the opening. A narrow gap between the stove and a side wall can be filled with filler panels. A wider one with a narrow shelf or landing area.
Why Is There A Gap Between Stove And Wall?
When looking at kitchens with slide-in or freestanding ranges, it’s impossible not to notice the presence of gaps between the walls and the appliance.
Slide-in ranges typically go between two cabinets, so there is only a gap between them and the back wall.
Narrow gaps between these appliances and the side cabinets are also common, but they can be covered with filler strips or silicone.
Freestanding ranges have a more flexible placement; in small kitchens, they are often squeezed between a cabinet and the side wall.
In most cases, the code doesn’t require any clearance between the stove and the walls.
However, manufacturers often recommend a space of at least one inch of clearance from the back wall and three to six inches of clearance from the side wall.
Regulations in your area may also require certain clearances, so check your local building code before installing the stove.
The manufacturer-required clearance must be maintained for ventilation purposes. Any mandatory clearances required by your code must be maintained for safety reasons.
However, you can still cover these unsightly gaps in various ways – the clearance from walls is required above counter height, but ranges need zero inches of clearance below the cooktop surface.
7 Ways To Fix The Gap Between Wall And Stove
1. Install A Thick Backsplash
The gap between a slide-in stove and the back wall is easy to mask with a thick, heat-resistant and fire-retardant backsplash.
Thick granite slabs are a common option, as the tile thickness plus the adhesive can often cover the 1-inch gap.
Glass, metal, and ceramic tiles are other popular choices. In this case, you may also have to install a metal filler strip fixed with silicone.
2. Add A Stove Shelf
Stove shelves made of metal are found in most home improvement stores or online. They are magnetic, attaching to the stove without adhesives or fasteners.
Not only do they mask the gap, preventing spills and splashes from ending up behind the range, but they also add extra storage.
It goes without saying that you don’t have to buy a magnetic shelf. DIY solutions are also possible, but make sure to choose a heat-resistant material.
3. Create A Landing Area
Appliance placement in a tiny kitchen is often tricky. Sometimes, you may have no choice but to fit a freestanding range between a cabinet and a side wall.
Depending on the stove you have, the required clearance between the wall and appliance can be as wide as six inches.
This gap is too wide to conceal with a gap filler and too narrow for a floor shelf to fit in. If that’s the case, install a countertop length and conceal the front gap with a cabinet filler strip.
4. Use A Range Gap Filler
Not all ranges have a vertical rear panel to accommodate a stove shelf. If yours doesn’t, you can solve the problem with a rear range gap filler.
These strips can conceal gaps of over two inches and can also be used to fix a small gap between the range and a side wall.
A different model of gap filler strips is also available if you want to conceal the gap between the stove and a cabinet.
5. Fill With Heat-Resistant Tubing
Heat-resistant tubing you were left with after completing other projects can become a more affordable alternative to gap fillers.
Choose flexible tubing for the best results, and stuff it between the stove and wall to fill the gap. Push the tube so that you’re left with a shallow notch at the top.
Fill this notch with silicone sealant in a color that matches either the range or the wall.
Silicone is a highly heat-resistant material, withstanding temperatures between 392-572°F, and it can conceal the gap beautifully.
6. Use Filler Molding
Standard kitchen cabinets fit perfectly in most spaces, but there are also cases when they don’t fit quite right.
To fix unsightly gaps, furniture manufacturers came up with filler panels and molding that have the same color and style as the cabinets.
Their role is to give the kitchen a streamlined appearance, closing the space between the wall and the top or bottom units.
However, you can also use them to conceal the gap between a side wall and your freestanding or slide-in range. This solution is ideal for gaps between three and six inches wide.
7. Install A Narrow Shelf
If the gap between the side wall and stove is wider than six inches, consider installing a narrow shelf or even a narrow bottom unit.
Shelves and side cabinets make cleaning easy by preventing spills and crumbs from gathering between the stove and the wall. They also add valuable storage space to your kitchen.
The gap between a freestanding or slide-in range and the rear or side wall is often a code or manufacturer requirement.
While you must respect these clearances, you can still conceal the gaps in a number of ways. Magnetic or handmade shelves, filler strips, heat-resistant tubing, or a thick backsplash can mask an unsightly rear gap.
Shelving units, cabinet molding or filler panels, filler strips, or a countertop section are excellent solutions for side wall to stove gaps.