Hanging An Industrial Steel Range Hood

“How’s it hanging?” That was the big question last week. Not in the “Hey, how ya doing?” sense of things, but more in the “Um, how are we gonna hang this $60 hood we found on Craigslist” kind of way.

Sherry talked last week about how we planned to encase it in a DIY’d wood cover (see inspiration pics back on last week’s post). Both of us were so excited about (1) the price tag and (2) the final look that we didn’t really think through the middle part: actually installing the darn thing. So yeah… #planningfail?

Here was our challenge (beyond just not having any of the installation materials or instruction): this is an under-cabinet hood and, well, we don’t have any cabinets to install it under. I figured that there were dozens of sites online detailing how to convert an under-cabinet hood to a wall-mounted one, so I wasn’t worried… until my Google searches started coming up empty. That’s when I started to second guess our plan. Was this just something that couldn’t be done?

Then I discovered these.

We didn’t buy these (our hood is Jenn-Air brand). But the fact that Kenmore sold bracket specifically “for mounting range hoods to wall when overhead cabinet is not used” meant it was not a completely crazy idea to retrofit ours to hang on the wall as well. So Sherry and I concocted a plan, did some shopping, and readied ourselves for some hood hanging (and possible hood hanging failure, as is always a possibility when we attempt to figure this stuff out as we go). This picture will make more sense soon, but just know it involved some wood pieces as a makeshift mounting panel and some heavy duty metal brackets as a stand-in for a cabinet.

But before we could put our plan in motion, some details needed to be taken care of. You know, little things like oh-yeah-we-didn’t-tile-high-enough-under-the-vent-pipe. Another lapse in planning. Oh well, it took about 20 minutes to whip up a small batch of thinset and fill it in with some spare tiles. Yes, it was slightly maddening to have to go back to the tiling phase (especially for eight measly rows) but by this point we’ve learned just to laugh. Wince a little. Laugh some more. And get it done.

Then we mapped out all the important stuff on the wall to ensure that things would hang where they were supposed to hang. Looks pretty crazy, right? But I promise it makes lots of sense…

All of this painters tape is marking important reference points, such as:

  • 1 & 2: Where our floating shelves would go – important because we wanted the bottom of the hood and the top shelf to be lined up (which was about 34″ from the top of the counter which is right between the hood manufacturer’s recommended 30″ – 36″ distance from the stovetop)
  • 3, 4, & 5: Where our studs are – important so we could attach the hood securely to the wall
  • 6: The center point of our stove – important so the hood would hang squarely over the stove

In case you’re wondering how I located the studs, it was actually thanks to some forethought on Sherry’s part. Back when that wall was open she begged me to somehow mark where they were before we tiled and covered everything up, so I opted to make small marks on the ceiling to keep track of where each stud was. Then I taped a piece of thread to that mark, tied a paper clip to the other end (to weigh it down) and voila – a perfectly marked stud all the way down the wall. And once we hang our crown molding around the ceiling those little stud-marking dots will be hidden once and for all.

With all of our guides marked, it was time to screw in our first piece of wood. Here’s the deal with the wood. The hood by itself was technically wide enough to hang from two studs, except the studs didn’t line up with the two notched holes in the back of the hood (which were at either end) and I didn’t trust that it would hold that way even if they were lined up perfectly.

So we figured we’d screw a slightly wider-than-the-hood piece of wood into two studs (and use a heavy duty anchor to secure it in a third location) and then hang the hood onto additional screws that lined up with the hood’s notched holes. We actually got a contractor’s blessing (just didn’t feel right drilling into our pretty wall o’ tile without double checking our plan with an expert first. So after that phone call we took a few deep breaths and moved on to the next (very scary) part of our plan: drilling into our tile. GASP.

I bought a special bit that’s meant for glass and tile. It took a bit of pressure, but eventually I got all of my holes drilled. Though I think we both silently freaked out the entire time drilling was in progress.

Once we got over having riddled our tile with holes (okay, there were just six) I used some 2.5″ screws to secure the chunky plank of wood to the wall. I have to tell you, feeling those screws grab the stud so tightly was one of the most confidence inspiring parts of this process. I felt like I could’ve hung my whole body weight from this thing – that is, if I was able to grip the tiny ledge with my lanky girl fingers.

With one board in (to hang the hood from) I then had to attach a second one (to hang the brackets from) also with long screws into two studs and a third set of screws into heavy duty anchors to further enforce things. Then it looked a little something like this. Note: the vent pipe is slightly off-center, not the boards (so once we build the frame for the hood that will be solved and it’ll all look centered). Oh, and the blue arrows are pointing to the two screws that the hood will hang from.

We felt pretty good when we realized that most upper cabinets are just held to studs with screws and then loaded up with dishes and plates and other items (and then a hood might be added on top of all that weight) and the whole shebang stays up.

Speaking of which, it was time to put the hood up (since the brackets would need to go up after the hood). Okay, so maybe this part was scarier than drilling into tile. We half pictured the whole wall of tile pulling off of the studs. But lucky for us, it didn’t budge. It was up there solid as a rock. Which is good news, because clearly I could use less time worrying about hanging hoods and more time spent shaving…

Anyways. Sherry supported the hood just in case (she’s the perfect height to rest it on her head from underneath it while standing on a small stepladder) and I attached the brackets to the wood panel and then into the hood using the same slots where it would’ve attached to a wall cabinet.

It was feeling plenty secure by this point, so I relieved Sherry’s head from hood-holding duties while I secured the second bracket and she took some more photos.

Once it was tightly held to the wall, I took care of some of the finishing touches – like attaching the vent pipe to the hood and plugging it in (btw, how lucky were we that the existing plug hole in the range hood was pretty much perfectly placed for our outlet???) – and we were in business. Phew! Update: We’ve since learned that metal foil tape (sold at hardware stores) is better for taping that duct together than duct tape (regardless of the more fitting name of the latter – haha) so we’ll be retaping that vent with foil tape to keep the seal nice and strong for the long term. Thanks for the tip guys!

Okay, so admittedly it looks kinda ugly right now. The exposed pipe / wood / giant hole in ceiling aren’t really a good look, are they?

But it was a good start. Not only did we have a hood for the first time in over two months, but we had a hood that wasn’t crazy close to the stove like our old microwave was (we hung it 34″ from the top of the counter which is right between the hood manufacturer’s recommended 30″ – 36″ distance from the stovetop). And this hood has two fancy light settings. Oooooh. Ahhhhh.

And I know the exposed wood looks kinda crazy – especially because it sticks out about an inch on the sides. But I promise this is all part of a plan (hint: they’ll make for a good spot to attach my homemade wood hood cover), so just bear with me for a couple of days.

Oh and don’t mind this POV, we didn’t have the filters snapped in yet (they’re basically big stainless steel rectangles, so it looks a lot better from below once those are in). We’ll have to share more photos soon.

Now in case you’re still worried about this thing coming crumbling down overnight (we were – we actually pulled the stove out before we went to bed the first night just in case!), know that it has survived a few full days now with nary a creak or shake. So without jinxing ourselves, Sherry and I are calling this hanging project a success. All is good in the hood, as they say. Between the long screws going firmly into those studs and the heavy duty brackets also adding extra from-the-top support, this guy is pretty darn secure. So after a few days of breath-holding, Captain Careful can officially exhale.

Now for the fun (?) part – building a pretty wood cover for it. Somebody crank up my jams! We’ll be back with all those details in a few days, but in the meantime, what did you guys do this weekend? Any heavy-object hanging? Tile drilling? Using your head to support something? Oh and something crazy crazy crazy is going on in our house today (well, it starts today and lasts for the next three weeks!!!) so we’ll fill you in on all that tomorrow (once we have lived through one day of it and have some photos to share).

Comments

  1. KiTx says

    That stud trick is amazing, and the hood looks great! What a steal!

    We woke up on Sunday with the intention of having our install guy come and lay our new laminate (we had a flood, home insurance is covering everything, so we’re letting them do it instead of us.) Instead, we halted the install because we hated the laminate (and the install guy told us he did, too!) and opted for tile. So now we’re living on a bare concrete floor. Here’s hoping our decision works out as well as your hood-hanging!

  2. A says

    Im sure you got that good of a deal because it was a foreclosure. My parents foreclosed and made me sell all of their jennair stuff for them for next to nothing on Craigslist. So just know that your deal probably came at the expense of another family who was screwed over by the bank.

    Also the hood seems far from the stove top. Is it going to have enough suction that far away?

  3. says

    Hey hey, lookin good. That’s one mighty fine looking range hood you’ve got there.

    I can’t totally tell from the photo, but it looks like you might have used duct tape on the hood duct. Please forgive me if I’m wrong. If I’m correct, duct tape is actually the last thing you want to use on ducts. I know, how lame of a name? Instead, you should use the foil backed tape that you can pretty much get in the HVAC section of any store. It has paper on one side and metal with adhesive on the other. You just cut the right sized strip, pull the paper off, and apply.

    If you use duct tape it’ll end up drying out in a year or two and then won’t hold the joint tight. Worst case, it will let grease and anything else flying up the hood escape into the cavity around it, making for something more dangerous over time.

    So if it’s not too late, pull that duct tape off of just pop on the foil tape.

    • says

      Ha! I just read your update and can I say that I LOVE the fact that y’all used duct tape on this project! I mean, I’m glad someone caught the potential snafu, but it is totally awesome to see y’all being real, making the best of things( I mean, yall working this whole hood hanging thing out is amazing to me), but still being two people trying to figure it out and throwing some duct tape up there to make it work.
      Me? I would have duct taped the whole house by now.

    • SherriEakin says

      Haha, I was thinking the same thing! I wonder if it has to do with this ‘crazy, crazy, crazy’ surprise we were told about…? It’s not that we don’t love hearing from you, John. It’s just weird… ;)

  4. says

    This looks GREAT! So impressed (as always) by you guys. Totally excited to see the hood you guys create — maybe I missed this before, but are you planning to go white-painted-wood to match the rest of your kitchen or will you be changing it up a bit and going with a wood stain? Just wondering!
    -Carly @ Createlive

  5. says

    Wow, I love your ‘just go for it’ attitude! It looks great, I can’t wait to see the built-in hood :-)

    This weekend my BF and I hung blinds and curtains in our master bedroom! 4 windows and 2 closets (curtains replaced old closet doors) took us 6 hours, haha. I used the YHL trick of hanging them all the way up to our 8′ ceilings and I can’t believe the height they add! I had a hard time going to sleep last night b/c I was just staring at our windows :-) The guest bedroom gets curtains this weekend!

  6. says

    Looks great! That’s a nice hood, actually all on its own. But the new wooden cover will look so pretty!

    I am very intrigued about this three week long project…. Hmmm…. Something for the book perhaps?

    We got the boards hung (finally) for the board and batten treatment we are doing in our main bathroom. Quite the project when your house was built in 1956 and apparently no one cared about straight walls or those walls bowing out in the middle (how does that even happen??) Oh, the joys of owning an older home. But, I like to think of her as a living entity that we are taking some great and needed care of. :)

  7. Stephanie says

    I’m impressed! I have vowed again and again that one day I will be able to confidently hang any heavy object (know the proper anchors to use, etc.) anywhere in our home. I mean, that would be better than a doctoral degree right?? ; )

  8. Sara says

    It looks great! Really love the tile and looking forward to seeing the cork floors pull it together.
    Side question: Is that duct-tape holding the vent together? If so, will it stand the test of time? (I have no idea, just asking)

  9. Michele says

    “All is good in the hood…” i die.

    Well done you guys! Your kitchen is looking GORGEOUS. I’m jealous and in awe, all at the same time. :)

  10. says

    You guys are awesome! I totally laughed at the thought that you pulled the stove out before you went to bed…true story…a few months ago, after completing our home office re-do (it was mostly minor), we stood back to admire the IKEA shelves we had just put up (partly in the studs, partly with anchors; a brand we had used thousands of times), and both shelves came crashing down on top of my husband’s 3 computers. In the end, it was fine (nothing was damaged except for the 6 inch+ holes we had to patch where the anchors failed and pulled out a ton of drywall with them), of course the shelves are now completely in the studs (even though that wasn’t quite where we wanted them!) And I’ll confess that every night we took everything off the desk just in case, for several weeks! :-)

  11. Kristi says

    I just wrote the longest comment and it didn’t post. :-( Oh well – I’ll summarize. We bought a house in October and the kitchen came with a pretty wood cover and NO hood! Needless to say I cook in the dark and the smoke alarm goes off every day. But we are having trouble finding a hood that fits perfectly. Sigh. May have to tear it down and start from scratch (because cooking in the dark and having the smoke alarm go off every time we cook is getting old.)

    Also – totally had my first YHL dream last night. I just happened to be in Richmond (I live outside of Boston) and came over to your house for the day. We were hanging out having a great time – but then I had to leave. You both begged me to stay, claiming that when Clara goes to bed you were going to paint your dining room table and wanted me to stay and help! How could I resist. In the dream Sherry laughed – a lot! And we painted the table plum. Too funny!

    I also worked on a frame/photo gallery in my living room – using the YHL newspaper method. Will post you pics on FB.

    Kitchen is coming along great! Way to go!

  12. says

    WOW! Looking good in the kitchen! Can’t wait to see the finished hood and some sleek shelving on either side of it.

    I am going to guess the 3 week project is the car port getting turned into a garage?