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Ask an Expert - kitchen advice and help

Do you have an issue you like some advice on?

Contact The Kitchen Guy with your question.

We cannot guarantee to be able to provide an answer for every kitchen problem, we will do our best and get back to you just as soon as possible.

Occasionally we will publish a question and answer.


The face of my kitchen doors were done in the vinyl wrapped (heat sealed/thermo?) finish.  The vinyl on the doors on either side of my oven have perished (ie, become unstuck, shrunk, torn) due to heat I presume coming out of the oven over the years.
Question is, do you know of any kitchen installers (preferably in the Auckland area) that still do this type of finish?  I'm not having much luck finding anyone at this stage.  It appears to me that the "vinyl" can quite easily be removed from the bare wooden face of the door and perhaps "re done". 
Any help appreciated.


A Hi Pauline,

Most kitchen makers can offer this finish but there are three major problems:

  • Many kitchen makers will not care to carry out such repairs
  • The vinyl colour might be out-of-date
  • If your oven door is leaking, the same thing will happen again

So it sounds like you need a new oven to start with. The doors will have to be replaced anyway since the vinyl is applied in a special pressure oven. You should first find out if the colour is still available. If it is, then new doors can be ordered to replace yours. Try a smaller kitchen outfit or independent joiner to carry out the work as the bigger companies are most unlikely to be interested.


Hi There,

Can you please advise whether spices / lemon juice can stain or discolour granite benches?  I have a black bench which now has lighter markings (like spill marks) around the cooker and can not be wiped away.  Do you have any remedies for fixing this?

Thanks very much


A Hi Stephanie,

Your benchtop finish could be stained by fruit juices, vinegar or the like but the staining could also be caused by water deposits such as calcium or other minerals (such as build up in your kettle or jug), which have build up over time. My guess would be that the protective finish of your benchtop around the sink has broken down. In this case, since granite is absorbent, it will take up stains.

Granite benchtops do need to be polished regularly to avoid this kind of problem. Use good quality auto polish to keep both a shine and a protective coating on the surface of your stone bench. I would suggest at least once a month – you could do it at the same time the car is polished.

You could try polishing the area after thoroughly cleaning it and allowing it to dry. Otherwise it is a specialist job for a granite company, which will have product to restore the colour of your stone.


We are living in Wellington and moved into our new home about a year ago.
We would like to remodel our kitchen. We would like for someone to come over here and give us some advise one what to do. We need more storage in our kitchen and maybe the layout of it changed.
I was wondering if you could help us with that or give me a tip on who i could contact here in Wellington.


A Hi Marlies,

We do not recommend kitchen designers or suppliers. We do publish directories though, please consult the The Directory of New Zealand Kitchen Suppliers for suppliers in your area or the Directory. Or the The Directory of New Zealand Kitchen Designers.


Hi - I need a new kitchen ..., please contact me on ...


A Hi Jim,

We do not sell kitchens I’m afraid. Please consult the The Directory of New Zealand Kitchen Suppliers for suppliers in your area.


The Kitchen Buyers Guide is independent of the kitchen manufacturing and supply industries. We do not sell kitchens, nor do we represent any particular interests. We publish the Directory as a service to readers but make no claims about any particular supplier. Kitchen buyers are advised to research carefully their choice of kitchen supplier.


Hi, just had a new kitchen installed.  I got a local guy to do it.

I had spent ages getting a quote from a big firm and had a scaled drawing of what I wanted.  I asked the guy to run with that and a few changes.  I had a non scaled drawing returned and quote which I proceeded with, consequently the kitchen has 35 - 40 overhang whereas in my scaled drawing it was only 20mm which has affected everything. Cupboards 20mm too narrow for A4 paper on the breakfast bar because the space has been taken up in overhang etc. Questions

1. Is it normal to provide a non scaled drawing,

2. would I normally have to sign off drawings.

3. What would be the standard paper work provided before going ahead.

I just had received a non scaled drawing, a 3D picture, the scaled drawing I gave him and a list of items briefly noted with no measurements and request for deposit.

(Names withheld by request)

A Hi,

An all too familiar story I'm afraid.

A new kitchen is an expensive item and there is always the temptation to try and save money by any means. You say you spent ages with a big firm getting it right, then after all that time and effort (their time and effort too by the way), you took the professionally produced scale drawings they produced at great expense to them, to 'the local guy' who turned them into what amounted to no more than a sketch.

I guess that 'local guy' was cheaper and that the reason the for this is because he does not have to maintain a showroom or pay professional staff; did not have to spend all the hours with you which were necessary to find out what was important to you, nor did he have the skill or professionalism to produce scale drawings. He could also use sub-standard materials and cut corners to save money and maintain his profit. Of course the real bonus for him is that you accepted his not-to-scale sketch, which gave him the freedom to do pretty much as he pleased within the vague parameters of that sketch.

A professional kitchen firm will spend as long as it takes to understand your wishes and get the job right. They will take the time to develop a good working relationship with you so that any difficulties or misunderstandings can be quickly and effectively resolved. They will produce the scale drawings necessary to form a proper, enforceable contract between you. All these are important safeguards for both the customer and the kitchen company, which greatly enhance the prospects for a happy outcome. Of course all of this professionalism and security comes at a price.

Did you ever have any intention of using the firm to make your kitchen or did you plan all along to entice them to design your kitchen for free, so you could take their expensively produced design to your local guy? You were actually quite lucky. Many kitchen companies will not part with their professional scale drawings until the customer signs up, for fear of being ripped off.

Sorry Colin and Rose, but never was the term caveat emptor more apt.


The Kitchen Buyers Guide is unashamedly a resource for the consumer and not a platform for the kitchen industry. However, in this instance it is worth reminding kitchen designers and professionals that your skills, work, time and effort is valuable. Giving away your drawings that you have produced at such cost to yourselves, to people who plan to exploit you, is foolish. Can you imagine an architect designing a house for someone for free? Keep your scale drawings until you have a deposit.


I am about to commit to a kitchen costing $12500.

The designer/supplier wants payments thus
45% on placement of order
50% when ready for inspection in the factory
5 % within ten days of installation being complete.

Thus they get 95% before they leave the factory
Does this seem right? And is it usual? Will all kitchen suppliers basically be after the same terms?



A Thanks for your question.

Most suppliers ask for a significant deposit and up to 50% is not unusual. However, a retention of only 5% might be considered a little on the low side. 10% would be better from your point of view as it gives you more leverage should anything go wrong.

I assume you were careful in choosing this supplier and that you feel  that they are a sound business (and not just the cheapest outfit you could find). I am also assuming that the appliances are not included in the price. If you are satisfied that your deposit will be safe then it is normal business practice to make one. How much is ultimately up to you to negotiate. You might wish to make a smaller deposit until they are ready to start your job (which could be some weeks away) and then  increase the amount to 50%. You could then make a progress payment of a further 40% after the kitchen has been fully assembled in the workshop for your approval. This would leave you with a 10% retention against  anything that you are not satisfied with following installation.

However it is structured I would advise checking that the business is sound, not including the cost of appliances in the deposit, reducing the initial deposit and increasing the retention from the 5% offered. Many kitchen businesses are slow at the moment so the customer is in a good position. On the other hand, slow times also mean companies folding, which would mean your deposit going down with them. So care is the watchword.

One last thing, do shop around for the best deal you can get on your  appliances. You are clearly Internet savvy and this is a good place to  start.


Q Hi

Just wondering if you tell me what height I should have my rangehood above my gas hob.



A To comply with NZ gas regulations, the bottom of your rangehood should be 750mm above your gas hob.


Q Hi

Are there any safety regulations concerning induction hobs? If you have a cutlery drawer underneath the hob, is there a risk that heat could be generated in the stainless steel? This could then set a plastic cutlery insert on fire.

Is this possible?


A Lots of induction hobs have implements drawers under them. You have to ensure that certain (general) safety measures are taken as follows: -

  1. Ensure that top of the drawer under the hob is at least 50 mm below the bottom of the hob.
  2. Ensure that the drawer under the hob is ventilated. There should be an air gap behind the drawer and under the induction hob, and the cross member at the front of the cabinet must not impede the circulation of air within the cabinet. In the case of an oven under the unit, there should also be an opening of at least 5mm above the top of the drawer front and the bottom of the cabinet cross member to allow a flow of air out of the drawer at the front.
  3. The drawer could be left slightly open during extended cooking periods to aid ventilation.
  4. If excessive heating of steel implements does occur, additional ventilation holes in the cabinet might be necessary and/or a special shield can be fitted over the drawer.

The above measures are general. The installation instructions supplied with such appliances are comprehensive and should be followed carefully by the kitchen maker.

When the manufacturer's installation instructions are followed properly there are not any problems with these appliances but you are right to be cautious.


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