Question about replacing a cooktop

jellybenAugust 6, 2014

We are replacing our countertops and conflicted on whether to replace the white cooktop with stainless. If we do not replace it now, is it easy to replace down the line? Looking at the specs online it seems that the cutouts vary depending on the brand(29in on one, 27.5 on another) so my fear is nothing else will fit when we go to replace in a few years.
Obviously the easy thing is to replace it now but I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to SS and we aren't in a position to switch all appliances over now and I worry the SS cooktop will stick out like a sore thumb. Any guidance is appreciated!

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Tough call - how old is your cooktop? If you expect to replace it in the near future, then you should do it now when you get the new counters. Cooktops all have different cutouts - if you get a larger one you'll need to have the countertop cutout enlarged and if you get a smaller one, you'll need to figure out how to fill in the gap.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Thanks for the reply. Current cooktop is 5-6 years I would guess(we've only been here a month). I worry I'm overthinking this-surely people replace cooktops all the time and have an existing cutout they need to work around.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:52PM
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You say it's a white cooktop, so I'm guessing that it's gas with open flames (not under glass)--is that, right? Or coil electric? There haven't been many white ceramic/glass cooktops sold.

Gas cooktops should last forever. You might need to replace an igniter or something during the next 30 years, but it should keep going. Enamel is much easier to clean than stainless. If you're happy with the function and looks of the cooktop, it's worth keeping. There haven't been any real changes in cooktop sizes since yours was new, so if it's in the same size range as the ones currently available, it's a matter of finding one which fits the hole later. As look as it overlaps the cutout while having room for the works, it'll be fine. You can add braces to the underlayment, if necessary, to provide additional anchor points.

OTOH, if you really do want stainless and are just asking whether it's worth waiting until you can change them all, go for the new cooktop now. That way you can choose what you want and not what fits the hole. If the thing that makes a kitchen look nice to you is all the appliances matching just so, it might stick out, but in general stainless is neutral and looks fine with any other colored appliance. It's when you have, like, one bisque and one black, unless it's a specific design choice that makes sense with other decor choices, that things start looking motley.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:30PM
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We've been there, done that; we had a Jenn-Air induction cooktop that needed a repair part and by that time, Whirlpool had not only purchased Jenn-Air, it had bulldozed its factory, burned every Jenn-Air repair manual, burned every list of independent warehouses who might have repair parts, and erased all memory of even what Jenn-Air models ever existed. When Whirlpool assassinates, it does a good job.

You are right to be concerned about different size cut-outs, as there are no industry standards whatsoever. But there are also no standards about depth below the counter, and there are no standards about required clearances between the hardware and flammable materials, and no standards about placement of exhaust vents, and no standards about where the electrical or gas connections are located on the unit. So, on the one hand, your task of future-proofing is hopeless, but on the other, if you guess "wrong," it is not your fault; nobody can blame you.

The cheery note, however, is that for the most part the visual appearance of most induction and smooth top resistive or radiant electric cooktops is pretty much the same. The presence or absence of stainless trim pieces on a cooktop located in a kitchen otherwise lacking stainless or where every other appliances is stainless is unlikely to catch anybody's eye, unless you regularly invite Ralph Lauren and Hanae Mori over for supper and invite them to critique your kitchen decor.

So relax; design for the cooktop that you want to use right now, and deal with fit problems if and when you feel you need to replace that cooktop. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Thanks again. I should have mentioned it is a 30in gas cooktop. The current configuration is terrible, with the burners close together, so would like one with the controls in the middle to give a little separation. But the frugal side of me says to just live with what I have! And then there's DH who says let's get the 36in. Does kitchen renovation make anyone else crazy?!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:47PM
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On Whirlpool's service site they have tons of PDF service manuals for JennAir gas/electric/induction cooktops/ranges/wallovens/microwaves dating back to the 80s. Sounds like they just didn't feel like helping you that day :)

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 20:35

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:31PM
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The current configuration is terrible, with the burners close together. This is a really good reason to get a new cooktop while you're redoing the counters. Enamel may not be stylish, but it's highly functional. Yours is not. You can also look into whether a 36" will fit and give you more room.

This post was edited by plllog on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 21:26

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:25PM
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