Range-to-counter gap. How bad for slobs?

Fori is not pleasedAugust 11, 2013

We cook messy and we don't clean up promptly. That's led us to go with cooktops instead of ranges in previous remodels. But it's been a loooooong time since we've had a regular range (currently have a slidein) and maybe we can handle it now, in a modern setup. You know, maybe we can handle THE CRACK.

Do you lose stuff in there? Do you have to pull it out and clean the sides?

A range has advantages, like easier to replace due to standard sizing, oven under the hood, not having to match the oven with a wall microwave/speed oven in a stack...

But the crack. Is it awful? Dare I?

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lisapoi

I will second the question . . . and also ask how little a space you can get away with on each side when it is a range and not a slide-in model.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 4:45PM
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palimpsest

Fori:
Consider a slide in model that has a flange that fits over the counter. A number of them do not require any modification of the counter edge. You have a limited number of models and manufacturers to choose from though.

Lisa, I would say for countertops as tight as it can be without touching or hindering the ability to slide the range in and out.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:09PM
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jansin62

I have the "crack." I am a pretty clean cook, and I'm the only cook in my house. I cook A LOT. I absolutely hate the crack, it's disgusting, and would strongly discourage you from getting a range that doesn't have a flange. The slide-in ranges with the controls in front typically have the flange. I am waiting for a white induction range that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and then I'll be happy as heck to get rid of my crack.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks.

I'm with you, Jan.

I currently have an old slide in and it's definitely better than the freestanding ones I remember from my youth. On closer examination of installation cutout instructions, it does look like slide ins only require special attention if the lip of the counter is raised (like tile). And I want induction which means my selection of slide ins is even smaller.

The Electrolux slide in induction range is in contention, though. I don't think there's any competition in the slide in induction category, really.

But for a mere $4000 more, and giving up slide in-ness, one can get a colored induction range with knobs (knobs!!) from Viking. I'm good enough at caulking to caulk (and uncaulk and recaulk) the crack I think. Why don't people do that? I'm sure there's a reason.

If I was going with gas, I'd not worry about replacement. But I don't have much faith in the durability of modern electronics. But one always has extra countertop materials left over, right?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Linelle

I have The Crack and it ain't no big deal. There may have been a piece of diced onion that escaped the pan and disappeared. I'm the only one cooking and have yet to have rogue oatmeal or cream sauce ooze over and down The Crack.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:57PM
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williamsem

For slide in induction, at least as of last year when I did the research, Electrolux and GE were the top two in that price bracket. The E-lux had a lot of specifications that scared me off slide in, but mostly because I had to buy it before the remodel (range died). If I had looked to see the GE needed no modifications I may have bought that instead of the freestanding. Hard to say.

So I ended up with the GE freestanding induction range, which I LOVE. I've lived with The Crack for most of my life, never had an issue. The side of the range did need to be cleaned when pulled out for the remodel, but nothing major. Our granite is very tight to the range. I was very surprised. Here's a pic, sorry for the clutter, haven't cleaned up from dinner yet.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 6:17PM
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weissman

You can get your countertop templated to get a really tight fit. Yes, the occasional crumb can fall down there but who cares! I would never consider pulling out the range to clean there. What you don't see, can't hurt you :-) (they actually sell things that you can insert into the crack to sort of seal them up.)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 6:32PM
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jellytoast

Freestanding range with a tight fit ... it CAN be done!!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 8:08PM
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rosie

Cleanup also depends on how easily the range moves in and out. Most of us are human enough to put it off when a range is hard to pull out and blocks the aisle, requiring preplanning for cleaning supply placement, etc. My old Wedgewood's not on wheels...

For that ease-of-cleaning reason, I don't think making it fit really tight is an answer. Grime will always be as inevitable as gravity. I do like the idea of sealing with something that could be easily removed and replaced. With my 1940s Wedgewood, before the days of internet searches, I used wide, washable white tape from the local hardware store. I LOVED my tape, which made all the difference.

Weissman, I highly value my ability to not be bothered by what is not seen (wouldn't care to live without it), but ignore too long and at some point what's in the crack will reach critical mass and turn into something scary.

BTW, a door to the garden is very high on my list of must-haves, but that sort of factor also means more clean-up under a range than, for instance, one in a sealed house with the most-used door from the garage. As do children, pets, pet food in dishes on the floor, etc.

I love my old Wedgewood and would never give it away, but this kitchen has a drop-in cooktop specifically as a vacation from the range. It's enough of an issue that I would be happy enough if my next kitchen, in an old house, had the stove standing alone on a wall--the way many of its sort once did. It's 48" wide, and the flat griddle surface in the middle multifunctions. Perhaps there'd be room to set my old flour-bin baking table to one side.

This post was edited by rosie on Mon, Aug 12, 13 at 11:47

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 8:15PM
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krycek1984

We are slobs too...I cannot stand The Crack. Our current kitchen has a tile counter and the range isn't right up against the counter. When we move in a few months to the remodeled house I am terrified to see what has accumulated over 4 years...

Honestly it is hard enough to vacuum and mop once a week let alone regularly pull out a range. We are going for a slide-in with our remodel...no cracks, no food and gunk to fall...one less cleaning worry. If only the dogs would stop shedding and getting muddy...

It is actually a sanitary issue though. Gunk and food bits are invitations to critters of all varieties.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:18PM
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lazy_gardens

Ah yes, the dreadedGAP>

I found some silicone gap-guards at Walmart in the kitchenware department. Shaped like a wide-top "T" ... they come in black or white, maybe chrome finish. It works well to block the inevitable dribbles.

http://www.amazon.com/Range-Kleen-693B-Silicone-Seam/dp/B002LGSHMO/ref=pd_cp_hi_3

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:44PM
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FoxCrane

I cannot stand the crack, either. This is why I opted for a cooktop and built-in oven during my remodel (which is currently going).

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:50AM
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Fori is not pleased

I appreciate all the crack commentary. It looks as though with modern countertops a snug fit is possible and there ARE ways to deal with it. I noticed Viking has a metal gap guard that probably costs as much as the entire E'lux slide-in but those silicone ones look more sensible. :)

I guess I won't rule out the gap, but if I plan for a range, will plan for dealing with the gap (like no bumpy tile edge by the range, getting the height right for any additional T-strips or tape (love the tape idea!), etc.).

Ranges do have such nice ovens, right there under the hood. I burn stuff. The hood would be so nice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:20AM
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snookums2

I hate those cracks too. Lots of crumbs find their way down there. When I was able to try to fit snugly with a new counter, I was told they need to do 1/16" on each side so the range can be moved.

Yes, it's not just about invisible grime. That grime will build up and attract hungry critters. You have to pull the range out periodically to both vacuum beneath and clean the sides. I always wonder what people do with the heavier professional ranges.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:18PM
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weissman

In 30 years I've never ever had "critters" feasting on stuff down the sides of the range. First time I moved the old range out was after 20 years when I renovated the kitchen. There was some grime and gunk but nothing terrible. The new pro-style range has been in place for 10 years, has not been moved out and won't be until it needs to be replaced. Some people are way too hung up on this stuff.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:02PM
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eclecticcottage

Ours is just big enough for a wooden spoon to fall between the range and the wall. And since the range is a 1950's Floyd Wells it weighs a ton (compared to the newer ones I've moved, however not as much as the equally vintage Norge fridge) the spoon is still there. I dislike that gap. If only they had built the knee wall just a tiny bit closer...oh well, I'll live with the occasional lost spoon or crumbs. I think if you are building, I'd try to minimize the gap though.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:25PM
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rosie

It's like moving my Wedgewood--while protecting the floor.

I do agree somewhat with Weissman in that the gunk down the sides hardens and just becomes part of the sides until you scrape it off. I don't know about modern ranges, but our Wedgewood has a front bottom panel that pulls off for sweeping under. Again, no insect problems that wouldn't be caused by poor housekeeping elsewhere anyway. (And if you have that, you fire your cleaning service and get another, right? :)

Where I'm really coming from is that keeping all surfaces of a range and the space it occupies is a lot more work, and if I were buying now I'd insist on a flange, easy movement across the floor, and any other easier-clean features some might have.

That way it's not big deal and I wouldn't find myself one of those who don't keep it up, find themselves putting off finally tackling what's become a big job, then start thinking about it in the middle of the night, i.e., the critical mass "coming alive" and forcing me to take on an unnecessarily lengthy and tiring project because the grime had hardened up so much. And I'm talking a couple months, not 30 years. 30 years would actually be better; my experience is that in just a few months food will begin fossilizing.

But since I already own mine, all this is the reason standing it alone on a wall seems quite workable. Done this before, and I wouldn't be afraid of keeping it up in my old age. In fact, I like the idea.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:40PM
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snookums2

So the argument is against keeping food and grease cleaned but ... "no insect problems that wouldn't be caused by poor housekeeping elsewhere anyway."

Such as?

If you keep those brown paper bags or cartons in the house from the grocery, rest assured you have bugs even though you might not see them. Critters will seek wherever they can find access to food or water, warmth, whether mice or bugs. Some are brought in, others walk right in off the street unless you are lucky enough to have a hermetically sealed house.

No doubt the crack and sides can get grimy food stuff. That's why people get grossed out when they pull it out to get a new one and see what has been accumulating, lol.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:51PM
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raee_gw

I had a large enough crack that I could stick a broom in and sweep out the sides. But that also made it so easy for utensils etc to fall down there.
It was always easy enough to pull the stove out on the vinyl floor and clean under and around. That way I could more easily clean the cooking splatters that landed on the adjacent vertical surfaces, too. It has always been my habit to include this in my fall/spring cleaning (am I the only one that still does that?)

I am a little worried about pulling the stove out on the wood floor. I am going to put sliders under the stove's feet when it all gets moved back into place. Also plan on making that crack as narrow as possible.

I can't imagine letting the pet hair accumulate under for years!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 11:20AM
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suzanne_sl

We recently had to pull our stove out due to our summer-long ant eradication battle. (I've never known them to be so hard to get rid of!!) So we have about 1 year and 9 months on this stove, and it wasn't bad at all. Our crack is tight, but still stuff gets down there, particularly liquid. As long as we had the stove pulled out, we went ahead and sponged whatever off the sides, but what was there wasn't enough to warrant a cleaning session if we hadn't already been on the hunt for ant access. (I think we've finally beaten them back. Cross your fingers.)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Linelle

When my kitchen was being remodeled, it was the first time in over 8 years that the stove had been moved out of its space. My cracks (such a fun term!) are about 1/4" on both sides. There were one or two minor dried drips down the left, the side where I do most of my cooking, and nothing to speak of on the right. I kept my old stove for now and cleaning it up took under a minute. I am not what I would consider a messy cook, but in 8 years, there really wasn't much to get grossed out over.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:30PM
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lazy_gardens

In 30 years I've never ever had "critters" feasting on stuff down the sides of the range. ... Again, no insect problems that wouldn't be caused by poor housekeeping elsewhere anyway.

You apparently do not live in the South or Southwest ... to keep the critters (ants, crickets, and the native roach species) from moving into the house or using it for a restaurant requires really superb kitchen cleanliness.

Especially the ants. They send out scouts wandering 10 yards or more from their nests, and into buildings, looking for anything edible. If they find it, they send the nest swarming over to gather it all up.

Also, the small of stale and moldering spills is disgusting. Between "spilled" and "petrified" is a stage known as "decaying".

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:54PM
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