Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Review

Update: If you would like to know how my cabinets are holding up 2+ years later, I have an update on my new blog.

How much sewing have I done lately?  Some.  I am working on a blanket for a family friend, but the rest of my time lately has been spent weeding our sorely neglected flower beds.  We moved in last summer and had so much to do on the inside that we didn't even begin to address the jungle outside.  So now that spring has sprung, we have begun hacking away at the massively overgrown bushes and weeds.

It's a work in progress.
I am taking a break since it is raining to finally post a review of Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations.  I'm not being paid by Rustoleum to blog about this product, I just want to put my experience out there for others to read.  When I was researching before deciding to use Cabinet Transformations, I could not find a lot of information out there.  I found a few blog posts from bloggers who were flown down to a Rustoleum workshop to work with the product, but painting one door doesn't really count as a full blown experience.  So here we go!

 My Experience:
I chose to try Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations because it was relatively inexpensive (~$75) and I knew that it was appropriate for the surface of my cabinets.  I probably could have spent some time researching to figure out what I could have used instead, but this was so reasonably priced that I didn't want to.  And if I ruined our cabinets we were fine with that, as they were awful to begin with and really could not get worse.
The Before of the Kitchen Cabinets- We were in the process of removing the wallpaper, so the stove was moved out.
The cabinets on the other wall.  Why I don't have a before picture that better shows the kitchen is beyond me.  Sorry!

My husband makes his first blog appearance!  He was removing wallpaper.  Again, sorry for the angle.

There are 4 steps to using this kit.

Step 1: Degloss
This just involved scrubbing down the cabinets with the provided scrub pad and deglosser.  Basically it prepared the surface for the paint to be able to bond to the surface.  It was a fairly easy step, but the fumes were quite strong.  Definitely wear your gloves, mask and goggles and do this in a well ventilated area.  I sent the baby away to Grandma's for a lot of this project in order to keep him away from the fumes in the house.  I did the cabinet doors in the garage, but even with the doors open, my eyes were burning and I had a smashing headache at the end of this step.

This is after I painted the cabinet doors, but it shows you how I had them all laid out in the garage, assembly line style.

Step 2: Bond Coat
Before you leave the store be sure to have them tint your bond coat to the color you want.  It says this on the box, but I've been told that some people think that you mix the color yourself at home, so I just wanted to clarify.  The instructions for the kit say to apply 2 coasts for good coverage.  Well, I had to apply 4 plus touch ups in some areas and it really could have used a 5th coat all around, but I barely had enough paint to do all 4 coats.  Perhaps this would not be an issue if you are painting your cabinets a dark color, but as I was going from dark brown to white, I had trouble getting good coverage.  Honestly, I was also exhausted and burnt out after doing so many coats.
You can see the kitchen layout a little bit better in the shot.  This is after applying 1 coat of bond coat, I think.  That week is a bit of a blur now.

These cabinets are on the wall opposite of the sink.  I had already removed the counter top.  Our new counter tops are being installed in 2 weeks.

Step 3: Glaze (Optional)
I opted not to do the glaze, as I wanted a more crisp, white look.  I think an antique white would look nice too, but it just wasn't what I was going for and I wasn't sure that I could pull it off either.  I was too scared of ruining my newly white cabinets.
Cabinet Close up

The crisp white cabinets were too white for me to want to glaze.  I did think about it, though!

Step 4: Protective Top Coat
The protective coat was easy to apply, but not foolproof.  You need to do this step in a well lit area and be sure not to go back over areas that you have previously done as you will mess up your finish.  Also be careful not to get too much of it in one area, or it will yellow.  I had this happen in a few areas, even though I was really careful.
Close up- The Yellowed Area

The Yellowed Area from Further Away
Overall, it is a good kit, but not without its problems.  As I mentioned, I had a few areas yellow from too much of the top coat, and a few areas crackle after I was done.  I'm not sure why the crackling occurred, though my best guess would be that perhaps those areas were not sufficiently deglossed and so the bond coat did not adhere properly.  Unfortunately, I did use up all of my top coat, but I wanted to redo the areas that had yellowed and crackled.  So I went to Home Depot to see if I could purchase the bond coat separately, but they said no that I would have to buy another entire kit.  I asked it they had any other similar product that could be tinted to the same color, and they said no to that as well.  I have yet to ask at Lowes or any other home improvement store, but I will have to ask the next time I am at one.  The cost of an entire kit is just too much to redo 3 little spots.  I know those spots don't look fantastic, but they are liveable until I have the money to buy new cabinet doors, which is the plan down the line.
Close up: The Crackled Area

From Further Away: The Crackled Area (I know, I need to fix that crooked cabinet door!)
For now, I think that the overall effect is fantastic.  The kitchen feels so much more light and airy.  After doing the cabinets I spray painted the hinges and attached new cabinet handles which will tie in with the granite counter tops that are being installed in two weeks.  It was a lot of work to get the cabinets from that ugly dark brown fake wood to a crisp white, but a huge impact for very little money.  It took me a week to complete our kitchen cabinets, with all the coats and drying/curing times.  I worked on it from 4-5 hours each day, much of that in the evening, after I had put my son to bed for the night.
Imagine it as it will be, with the black granite counter, tiled backsplash, new toe kicks, and dark brown laminate floor.
Please ignore the massive amounts of clutter!  We're in the middle of a bunch of renovations!
So what do you think?  Do you have any questions about the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations?  Do you think you would try it?  Please share if you have also had an experience with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations and let me know how it went!


  1. I'm actually glad to find a review, because I was thinking about doing this in our kitchen. Sadly, we live in a condo and our kitchen is on the "hallway" side--which means no windows. I don't think it would be a good idea for those fumes!

    But your cabinets look great. The room feels so much bigger!

  2. The fumes were really only bad during the deglossing step. I have read that there are deglossers that are low voc, so it might be worth looking into. But if you're going to buy the deglosser separately, I would not buy the kit, I would just ask at the hardware store what kind of paint would work on your cabinets and buy the paint and deglosser and a top coat if you want, but I have read some paints don't require a top coat. Best of luck!

  3. Love the color in the kitchen!

    I'm your newest follower, saw your blog on the Etsy blog team.

    my blog: http://allpatchedupquilts.blogspot.com/

    my Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AllPatchedUpQuilts

    1. Thank you! If you're talking about the color on the walls, it's Valspar's Lucy Blue. If you're talking about the cabinets, then it's the Pure White of the Cabinet Transformations kit. Thanks for stopping by, I'll be sure to check your blog out!

  4. I painted my kitchen and bathroom cabinets with a product called "Cabinet Coat" which is available at Benjamin Moore. I am very happy with it. Going on 4 years and only a couple of tiny chips on the edges of the doors, they clean easily, and no yellowing. Only thing is the paint does not completely cover heavy oak grain. I have heard that a Bondo product called glazing compound can be applied to cover oak grain; I'm going to try that when I paint my laundry room cabinets next year.

    1. Thanks for the input, I have never heard of that product. Best of luck with the laundry room cabinets!

  5. After three months of having completed the cabinet project, how satisfied are you. Any chipping, discoloring or other things noticeable? We are thinking of doing this for our kitchen and want to see the "longevity" of this product as we don't want to have to redo again before we sell our house in about 2 years. Thanks for a great blog post!

    1. I think that it has held up very well. I did have a little bit of chipping when I had granite counter tops installed and the installers broke a piece of the granite and chipped off paint in one area. There is no chipping or anything like that from our everyday use, though. When we spill things or smudge the cabinets with dirty fingers it wipes off completely, which is really nice when you have a toddler running around. I'm very happy with how the cabinets have held up, so I would say go for it!

  6. Which shade of white did you use? I'm debating between the linen and pure white. Thanks!

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  8. I finished my bathroom cabinets tonight and I could not be more pleased. I had brown laminate cabinets in my 70's apartment and have completed my design projects. This mAY BE MY FAVORITE!!

    1. Awesome! I'm glad you're pleased with the results.

  9. Nice post! I just finished my bathroom cabinets using the espresso color. I wrote up a how-to article with pictures and tips based on what I learned. I definitely am please with the results. What do you think of my writeup? http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-paint-cabinets-using-rustoleum-cabinet-transformations

  10. GREAT reviews of this product, I removed all my doors and taped last night, I'm feeling like the prep is really the most important piece in this process and of course the bit all of us hate the most.
    I must admit I am struggling with using the Kit I purchased or returning it and getting some really good paint, and taking a different approach. I'm not feeling like the kit it going to give me a significant advantage over a traditional product. I think essentially I'm going to end up at the same place, and quite nervous about the yellowing,
    In the past I have painted wood wall paneling using a shelac based primer (binz) which bonded directly to a glossy surface and gave me great results.
    I'm thinking maybe I'm obsessing too much ... although maybe you have some insight ?

    1. You could totally go your own route and go with a more traditional product. I was looking for something where I did not really have to think too much about it. If I were doing it today, I would maybe consider the traditional route. The blog Young House Love did that with their cabinets and it seems to have turned out well, and with the paint they used, they did not have to do the top clear coat. I would check out their blog and search for the posts where they redid their kitchen cabinets, it has a lot of great detail. Hope this helps!

  11. I am wondering how the cabinets are holding up after 1+ years? Any chipping? We are thinking about doing this but I am wondering about the longevity??

    1. They are still going strong! There is some slight chipping from one area where my dog jumped up on them when she was a puppy, but not too noticeable.

  12. Do you have to tint the bond coat? If you don't, will it just be white?

    1. You DO have to tint the bond coat, even for the shades of white that they have. So be sure to have them tint it before you leave the store.