Skip to Content

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review

I gave a Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations review in a post on my previous blog back in March of 2012.  However, I wanted to bring it over here because I think it is still useful.  In addition, I’d like to provide an update of how the cabinets are holding up after 2 years of use. 

Just so you know, I’m not being paid by Rustoleum to write about this product and I just want to put my experience and Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations review out there for others to read. 

When I was doing my research before deciding to use Cabinet Transformations I could not find a lot of information out there.  I found blog posts from bloggers who did a Rustoleum workshop but painting one door isn’t a full blown experience.  So here we go!

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review: My Experience

We 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.

rustoleum cabinet transformations review- before shot of brown kitchen cabinets
The Before of the Kitchen Cabinets- We were in the process of removing the wallpaper, so the stove was moved out.
rustoleum cabinet transformations review- before shot of brown cabinets
The cabinets on the other wall.  Why I don’t have a before picture that better shows the kitchen is beyond me.  Sorry!
Rustoleum cabinet transformations review- process shot of removing wall paper
My husband was removing wallpaper.  Again, sorry for the angle.

 The Process

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. 

For a lot of this project I sent the baby away to Grandma’s  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.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations review- Step 1 Deglosser bottle

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review- Picture of cabinet doors lined up during the painting process in our garage
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.

kitchen in the process of repainting cabinets
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.
white cabinet base after removing counter and painting
These cabinets are on the wall opposite of the sink.  I had already removed the counter top.  Our new counter tops were installed 2 weeks later.

 Step 3: Glaze (Optional)

Because I wanted a more crisp, white look I opted not to do the glaze.  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.  The cabinets were so nice and white so I was too scared of ruining them.

close up of white cabinets after painting and new hardware
Cabinet Close up
white cabinet after redoing
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 of yellowed area of cabinet where there was too much glaze
Close up- The Yellowed Area
yellowed area of cabinet
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 that I would have to buy another entire kit.  Then 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.

close up of crackled area of cabinets
Close up: The Crackled Area
crackled area of cabinets
From Further Away: The Crackled Area (I know, I need to fix that crooked cabinet door!)

General Thoughts

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 were installed 2 weeks later. 

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.

This is before we installed the black granite countertops, 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!

Two Years Later

The cabinets have held up very well.  We do have a few little dings, but with having an active toddler and a dog running around, I would expect that.  I am still extremely pleased with the results.  To me this kit is one of those things that is totally worth the money, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort because the results are fantastic. 

My one gripe is that you can’t buy just the bond coat, so to fill in those little dings I’m going to have to figure out a solution on my own.  I’ll probably color match another paint to the white so that I can fill those in some time.  But that will have to come after the remaining to do items that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review 2 years later
The kitchen as it is now
Kitchen where I used Rustoleum cabinet transformations to redo the old cabinets- after shot of white cabinets

So what do you think of this Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review?  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!

You may also like:

Mary Martha Mama