A New Solution for Transforming Your Cabinets

By Kate Riley February 17, 2011

It’s no secret I’ve been using Rust-Oleum paint products for years.  I remember back in 2009 when I was spray painting everything that stood still ‘Heirloom White’.  I went through my ‘Gloss White’ phase, then I dabbled in so many of their colorful and specialty spray paints.  I truly believe they have the best quality spray paints and I appreciate the variety of their more modern colors.  And as you know, I’ve always adored Zinsser primers. 

rustoleum brands 3Did you know both Zinsser and Varathane are part of the Rust-Oleum family?  Yes indeedy! 

Rust-Oleum’s motto is ‘a solution for every surface’ and they are serious!  I thought I knew about most every product they had to offer, but I was delighted to discover at the two day event I attended last week that there are so many other specialty products they manufacture, and now am anxious to try several of them.

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk shop with the people at the helm of Rust-Oleum, plus I also got to try out their brand new Cabinet Transformations product, which is a completely new approach to refinishing your old kitchen and bathroom cabinets. 

I’ve refinished kitchen, bath, and laundry room cabinets all the old school way which can often require stripping and sanding, but always requires a good coat of primer, plus two coats of paint and a protectant. 

rustoleum cabinet transformationsAfter much research and development, Rust-Oleum has recently introduced on the market a Cabinet Transformations kit for kitchen and bath.  This refinishing kit eliminates the need to strip, sand, or prime.  Shocking I know, and I admit I was skeptical.  No primer at all?  Seriously?  It sounded too good to be true, and I was very concerned about durability. 

I learned (and asked a lot of questions) about the formula for this new product, and based on the extensive testing in the lab and Rust-Oleum’s reputation for durability, I’m feeling pretty good about this new alternative.  In fact, I plan to use it in my hall bathroom later this year. 

I was able to try it out for myself, and I’m like a kid in a candy story when given the opportunity to try products that transform outdated cabinets.   

kate rustoleum event


The kits come in two sizes for smaller (100 square feet) and larger kitchens (up to 200 square feet).  Rust-Oleum provides an online tool for measuring your kitchen for this DIY project.  This Cabinet Transformations kit approaches refinishing differently than the traditional method of strip + sand + prime + paint + protect.  It also works on surfaces beyond just wood, which includes laminates and melamine surfaces. 

In the shop, we worked with a standard oak cabinet door and all the supplies that come in the kit.


cabinet transformation supplies

large kit


First comes the deglossing step.  For anyone who’s used deglossers or strippers before, you’ll be happy to find this goes on more like a cleanser, and has no harsh chemical smell.  The second step is to cover the cabinets with two coats of the tinted bond coat (akin to a primer+paint combo in one), a water based low odor formula that cleans up with soap and water. 

degloss and bond

Third (and completely optional) is the decorative glaze.  Skip the glaze and you’ll have a single color surface (which I prefer), but for those who want to add detail to the ridges or deepen their color, the glaze allows for that.  It’s a wipe on, wipe off method.

glazing step

The fourth and final step is to apply your clear UV protective coat to the cabinet surface. 

prot coat


The Pros:  The Cabinet Transformations is the quickest and easiest way to give your cabinets a fresh new look in a weekend.  1) The big plus is the kit avoids the traditional stripping, sanding, and priming involved in the ordinary refinishing method. 2) The kit is extremely user friendly, and comes with everything you need.  The instructions are clearly written and easy to follow, and the step-by-step is one geared for any level of DIYer from novice to experienced.   3) The formula is water based, so clean up is a cinch.  It is also low odor.  4) The kits are very affordable: $79 for the small kitchen or bath kit, $149 for the large kit.  5)  The product has been heavily tested in the lab, and is manufactured by a company with a reputation for long lasting finishes and durability.  6)  Rust-Oleum backs their product with a money back guarantee, and 7)  There are over 30 base colors to choose from, from neutrals to cool blues and greens to warmer tones.

light color kit

Factor in the optional glazing step, and you can deepen your color more. 

dark color kit


The Cons:  1) As of yet, no paint swatches are available to take home to look at in your home, you have to choose a color on the box.  After a roundtable discussion, several voices including me encouraged Rust-Oleum to provide the consumer some sort fan deck or swatch card to take home and examine in the light of their home before buying the kit. **  2) The bond coat dries quickly (like most latex paints) so there is not a lot of ‘open’ time to work with the paint compared to oil based paints that I’m traditionally inclined to use in a kitchen.  3) The final finish result seems a bit thin compared to traditional primer + 2 coats of paint methods I’ve used in the past.  Expect even after two bonding coats that grainier woods like oak on the underlying cabinet surface will still be felt to the touch.         

** 3/1/11 update:  I’ve heard from my local paint department that you’re not restricted to Rust-Oleum’s colors.  Because the product is tinted like other paints, you can choose whichever color you like from a different swatch.  Rust-Oleum recommends you choose a color among their selections for a color guarantee, but note you do have that option.

I plan to use this product in my hall bathroom cabinet makeover, so I’ll have more details then after I use it in my own home.  The full instructional video is here, in case you want to learn more.  Currently, I’m liking the ‘Linen’ ‘Winter Fog’ and ‘Seaside’ colors!

linen winter fog seaside

For an idea of how the Transformations kit would work in your kitchen or bath, you can play around with their virtual tool

I also got my hands dirty with their Countertop Transformations kit (charcoal finish shown below), my opinion on that product later, but you can read all about it here

countertops and cabinets


I’d like to thank the kind folks at Rust-Oleum for sponsoring the event in New Orleans last week, and giving me the opportunity to ask the million questions I had about this and some of the other products they make.  Browse the Rust-Oleum site to see all the solutions they have to offer! 

**Disclosure:  This post and review is not sponsored or paid for by Rust-Oleum.  It is my honest opinion and evaluation of their Cabinet Transformations kit based on my experience refinishing cabinetry, and with the product thus far.  Rust-Oleum did pay for my flight and hotel to attend the event. 

Are you inclined to buy this Cabinet Transformations kit to makeover your kitchen or bathroom? 

*** Your questions answered in the comments below! 






  1. Very cool product. I may be inclined to try it in a bath if I had one that still needed painting. I am currently in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets the “old fashioned” way or I may have considered it! Thanks for the review. Looks like a fun event!

  2. Holy crap on a cracker, that is amazing! I’ve never heard of such a thing but it sounds so much better than all that sanding and priming. I would definately try it.

  3. I have been looking at this product at Home Depot for a few months. I have the dreaded oak cabinets everywhere. I was thinking of starting small in one of the bathrooms. I was excited when you told us about the Rustoleum conference. I was hoping this product would be reviewed. Thanks so much for the info!

  4. I’m totally excited for this! I’ve been wanting to try painting cabinets in one of my bathrooms before the kitchen and even then, I was inclined to just pay someone to do it, but now… I think I’m going to have to try this method!!! It looks {1} so easy and {2} so good!

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. YAHOOOOOO!!!! I have wanted to repaint kitchen, bath and laundry cabinets but always get overwhelmed with the time and labor commitment involved with all the steps. I’m so excited to finally be able to do it! Thanks for sharing and THANKS Rust-Oleum!!!!

  6. Haha! I was in HD last night and that caught my eye as I’d never seen it before. Seems worth trying.

  7. was at Lowes last night and they had this right up front in the paint dept…looks interesting.

  8. very informative post! Thanks for sharing! I’m really excited about their new product! I’ve been going back and forth about tackling my own kitchen cabinets. Their method seems like something I can handle!

  9. I saw this at Home Depot back in November or December and asked the guy working in the paint section what he’d heard about it. He hadn’t used it yet, but he did rave about the DVD it comes with.

    I’m actually planning on using this in the Linen color with the charcoal Countertop Transformations in my kitchen after I get my taxes back. I have 20 year-old cabinets that are the original builders’ usual, semi-glossy AND two different colors. Gotta fix that!

  10. Hi Kate,
    I don’t have much experience in painting furniture, but this seems like a great product for a project I’m working on. I have two large bookcases and a small desk that I am planning to paint. They are new and the bookcases are very shiny stained look.

    How does this product work on shiny surfaces? I like the idea of the glaze. I would like the furniture to have more texture than just a solid paint color. Will the glaze work well on a flat surface vs. The raised panels of the cabinet door that you were working on?

    Can you tell I haven’t done this very much? Thank you for your patience!


  11. Thank you so much for providing the info on this product. I have been considering my options for re-finishing my bathroom and laundry room cabinetry and now I know where I will start. I have seen this product at Home Depot and wondered quite a bit about it. I look forward to giving this a try!

    Thanks again!

  12. I’ve been dying to redo our kitchen cabinets and have been too afraid that 1) it would take forever and a day and 2) I would mess it up big time. This product sounds great! I can’t wait to see how your bathroom turns out!!!

  13. Wow – we’re getting ready to move into a new house and the downstairs bathroom just happens to need a little fixin’ up. This could be the perfect temporary fix until we get around to actually putting new cabinetry in. Thanks!!

  14. I’m with Lori – I wonder how this would work on things like my old oak pedestal table with glossy finish that I’ve wanted to refinish but too afraid to take the leap b/c of the steps involved. What would you do? Would you stick with the traditional method of sand, prime, two coats and poly in oil based paints or go for this new product? Thanks for all you do to make our homes sensational too ;)

  15. I’m actually really excited to hear about this product, Kate! Our upstairs bath has a small cabinet that is light oak and needs some paint. I’d be more inclined to try a product like this instead of sanding and messing with all the chemicals. Or buying a new one for $$$. Thanks for sharing your review!

  16. Kate,

    Thanks for the review. I saw this a few months ago in Home Depot and have been considering trying it. I hadn’t seen much on the internet blogs yet so it was interesting to see your take on it. Im thinking of doing the cabinet in the extra bathroom to see how it turns out. How does the finish feel?

  17. Absolutely!! I’ve been wanting to paint out our kitchen cabinets for the past 3 years we’ve lived in our home, but the thoughts of all that sanding has really stopped me in my tracks. This would make it soooo much less of a drudgery. :0)

  18. I have never seen this and I appreciate your post. I have really been wanting to re-do my kitchen cabinets but was dreading all the work I was going to have to do (I have lots of cabinets). I am SSSOOOO going to try this!!!

  19. Hmmm, not sure that I’d be happy with the durability of a water-based product in the kitchen, but with the grain possibly showing through, I’d almost be tempted to try this on my fireplace mantel and the railing on my stairs…I’ve been wanting both darkened to an espresso finish (stain), but all that sanding and stripping… if I could get a similar painted look, it might be worth it.

  20. I’ve been wanting to redo my kitchen cabinets for several years; however, just thinking of all the work ahead has me putting it off to the last household renovation. After seeing this product I think I may tackle the project this year. Thanks for a great review.

  21. I’ve have the pamphlet hanging on my kitchen cabinet for weeks now, but I can’t seem to decide on a color. I definitely think some large swatches would be very helpful or maybe even some sample sizes of color that you can take home and try. I don’t plan on choosing a color until I see tutorials using the colors I’m considering (white/linen white/winter fog/federal gray). Thanks for your input on the product!

  22. I’ve have the pamphlet hanging on my kitchen cabinet for weeks now, but I can’t seem to decide on a color. I definitely think some large swatches would be very helpful or maybe even some sample sizes of color that you can take home and try. I don’t plan on choosing a color until I see tutorials using the colors I’m considering (white/linen white/winter fog/federal gray). Thanks for your input on the product!

  23. I just saw this at Lowes and as I passed I was hoping somebody would blog about it! We just gutted our whole kitchen and got new cabinets but I would so be ready to use this in one of my rental units! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out – somebody post afters!!

  24. Wow, this was exciting to see! I have old ’70s knotty pine cabinets and a fake butcher block laminate countertop that have got to go. We just bought our house a few months ago and the kitchen is the last intimidating room left. The cabinet kit is really affordable and while the countertop kit is more expensive, it beats having to buy a whole new top when the existing one is totally usable – just old and dated. Thanks for your input and demo. I may just have to try this out!

  25. This seems incredible! I have a windowless galley kitchen and this seems like it might lighten up things considerably. Since we have to sell our home soon, I was really worried about botching the cabinet job, but this seems like it is a bit foolproof. I also like the option of the glaze to add just a bit of depth. Thank you for highlighting this product! Do you know anyone who’s used this in their home? I’m just wondering about durability.

  26. Wow-what great timing for me to read your post. I am getting ready to redo a client’s kitchen and bought a sample door at the local ReStore and was going to show some samples to her. I will have to check this out.

    thanks for posting it.


  27. I need to do something with painted cabinets in our bathrooms. Will this work on painted surfaces? I haven’t seen this product locally yet…

  28. Yes!!! I was so excited I didn’t even read the whole article…I’m buying this soon! Is it available anywhere??

  29. Looks great, and really reasonably priced! I wonder if it will be available in Australia….

  30. I’d have to say the finish is too thin for me. I associate a heavy finish with durability and I’d rather go with the primer + 2 coats of paint. That way I know I wouldn’t have to repaint them later because of an issue with durability. I might be more inclined to use this on cabinetry that may not be used as frequently.

  31. Rust-oleum definitely invited the right person for their conference and to provide feedback! You certainly have had lots of experience with different products and methods. Hey, maybe you can be on their panel of experts!

    I’m currently repainting the porch railings on our house. I’m using Rust-oleum’s rust products and I really like the 1-step, low-odor, and inexpensive aspects of their products.

    I would love to try their new cabinet transformation products…maybe on my guest bath cabinets first to try out the techniques and products before attempting a bigger project like the kitchen cabinets.

  32. There’s been a lot of buzz about this product in the last couple days and I’m really curious to see what it looks like 6 months down the road (more the countertops than the cabinets). It could be the miracle I’ve been waiting for!

    *fingers crossed*

  33. It is an onging debate in our home do we replace the kitchen cabinets?$$$ do we paint them, replace just the doors and drawers and paint them? This product makes the latter seem more reasonable and not as intimidating! Thanks for trying it and sharing :)

  34. My friend Sophie sent me over to read this because I have been talking about painting my kitchen cabinets for quite some time now. After reading your review, I am pretty much sold! I used the Varathane Renewal kit throughout my house, and although my wood floors weren’t in the recommended condition, it worked out well. The system was very easy to use, so I trust that this kit would be great as well. I’m all about simplicity and low odor. Looks like I have a nice project for spring!

  35. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the countertop product. I painted my kitchen cabinets two years ago (and wish I had known you then, I didn’t use Zinsser and it would have helped) and redid my whole kitchen. But the countertops are still heinously ugly. This could solve everything!

  36. Thanks so much for reviewing this product! I want to refinish the cabinets in my master bath, but have never attempted such a large DIY project that could be potentially disastrous! This may be the way I should go. So glad you showcased it!

  37. I am so excited to try this! Do you know how it holds up to kids? Does it scratch off when handled a lot? And is it easy to clean?

    Thank you for the info and for your honest opinion :)

  38. I just saw this product at Home Depot on Sunday! I’ve been itching to do something new w/our craptastic kitchen cabs, this might just be it!!

  39. What an incrediable product. I also watched the countertop transformation video I have a view projects in front of me I am definitley going to give these products a try. Thanks.

  40. I’ve been dying to paint my bathrooms and kitchen for a while but didn’t lay my hands on it because of the stripping and sanding process. This product sounds wonderful! I am so excited to give it a try!

  41. Saw this on Apt. Therapy the other day. Glad to see you review it and anxious to hear your “real life” observations. We are slowly working on our kitchen/dining room and cabinet refinishing is on our list of things to do.

  42. I am definitely interested in trying this product! I have been wanting to paint the oak cabinets in our bathrooms and kitchen for a long time but have been totatlly scared to try it since I haven’t worked on a project that big before. The only thing holding me back on this product is the thinner finish. I am not sure I want to have such a grainy finish on my painted cabinets. Can’t wait to hear how you like the product in your home!

  43. What a fun product. I wish they had it when I painted all my cabinets. I’ll have to talk someone into painting theres so I can try it.

  44. Wow! I knew it was only a matter of time before the paint companies caught on to the paint-the-cabinets trend. I wish I had it when I did the cabinets in our old house three years ago; it sounds like this is a great product. I’m eager to hear your opinion after you work on your bath cabinets!

  45. This looks fantastic….i love the fact that I won’t need to sand. it’s just a bit scary to try it-I may try the inside of a cabinet door first before I tackle the whole kitchen.

    This would be awesome our our banister too.

  46. WHat a great idea! It seems everyone is painting their oak kitchen cabinets lately so this sounds totally awesome for those DIYers! I loved reading about this new product and would consider it in my kitchen if I hadn’t already sanded and primed! Can’t wait to see it in your bath in the future!

  47. Hi Jewel, the product doesnt have a grainy finish, it has a smooth finish. I want to be clear, the product goes on just like paint. If you have a grainy wood like oak, my point was that the grainy texture will still be present underneath to the touch, not as much as the original surface, but it will still be there. The bonding coat doesn’t make the oak perfectly smooth, there are still those subtle textures to the touch.

    Using a traditional method and priming oak with at least one, perhaps two coats of primer then adding two coats of paint tends to fill in the grains more in my opinion. For any smooth surface like laminate or say maple or alder wood, there should be no ‘grainy’ texture at all with the Cabinet Transformations product.

  48. Yuechen, the product is marketed for cabinets, but if you go to the Rust-Oleum site, you’ll see on their ‘additional product usage’ page they are including other pieces of furniture. If you’re inclined to paint instead of stain your bannister, then yes, I do think it would work.

  49. Wow, that’s really neat. I can’t transform our kitchen (we live in military housing), but I would have given my right arm (after the work of course) to have that when we owned our house. I look forward to reading about your review of the counter top kit.

  50. Thank. you. Kate! I have always wanted white cabinets but somehow got talked into cherry-stained maple cabinets when we built. Well, after YEARS of showing my husband comparison pictures of white versus stained cabinets, he is almost on board to do white. However he thinks it’ll look amateur/sloppy to do it ourselves. (This is the same guy whose home office is wall-to-wall Star Wars, what-ev.) Well, he removed cabinets to add a wine fridge (woo-hoo!) a while back, so we have a cabinet door in our garage and I am all.over.this. product to try out on that sample door to convince him we can do it ourselves. Just a couple of days ago I watched your tutorial on painting your island. Your timing is perfect! Thank you!

  51. Hey! Just saw this on Apartment Therapy like 2 days ago!
    I thought it was really neat.

    So, there’s pictures of you on AT too :D

  52. HI Lori! The product can be used on laminates and melamines, it adheres to glossy surfaces. Sounds like a great solution for your bookcases!

    Heather, the finish is just as smooth as paint, if you use a good quality brush, it will perform the same as latex paints.

    Hey Christine, I’m inclined to try it out on ordinary furniture too! Check out the ‘additional product usage’ page. http://cabinets.rustoleumtransformations.com/additional-product-usage.php

  53. I saw this box at Home Depot and walked by. May need to revisit it since I am looking to paint a laminated piece of furniture. Thank you for the heads up…you are like the DIY Library of the Internet :)

  54. Thanks for this post Kate! I am a fairly new DIYer. I want to re-paint my kitchen cabinets this summer. I am wondering if this treatment would be a good option for me. My cabinets are already painted an off-white color and I want to go to a more stark white color. I have no idea what kind of paint was used before (oil-based or other). They are solid wood cabinets too. Thanks for any advice you can give!

  55. Yowza! Will it work for my WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE!?!

    {Just kidding…}

    This is one brilliant concoction! Love, love, love seeing little you getting DOWN with the paint talk! Yee Haw!

  56. I just finishing up my three bathrooms in the expresso color with one coat of glaze last month. While I liked the ease of it I found the top coat really annoying to use. I worry about how well it will hold up over time since the paint was really cheap and flimsy alone. The top coat did add protection but i wonder how much as it seemed really thin. I also found it hard to get completely smooth which left white marks on places where I missed the build up.

    I am currently doing my kitchen and chose to go with traditional primer/paint because I didn’t think the kit would hold up over time on a heavily used area.

  57. Hi Kate,
    Loved your post…I have those awful dark brown 70’s veneer/oak cabinets – do you think this product will transform mine??

  58. Can’t wait to hear your take on the countertop kit! My husband and I saw a demo on it at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta in the fall, but we haven’t taken the leap of faith to buy the kit and do it yet.

  59. Can’t wait to hear your take on the countertop kit! My husband and I saw a demo on it at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta in the fall, but we haven’t taken the leap of faith to buy the kit and do it yet. Secretly I think I’m holding on to the thought that MAYBE we could get granite. :)

  60. I have been eyeing this product at Home Depot. I have been thinking about it because I am pregnant and the people at Home Depot told me that it was waster based. I would not have to worry about fumes. I would love to hear from someone who used it and thought of how well it holds up.

  61. Wow! I’m so excited! I have been hoping I could find an inexpensive way to re-do my kitchen cabinets and countertops! I have a grainy wood (oak) for my cabinets and from the Rustoleum website, it almost looks as though it’s more of a stain than a paint when it’s on grainy woods. Am I correct?

  62. Our HD does have brochures with color swatches (printed, though, so not sure how accurate) that you can take home on this product. I’d love to see a side by side comparison of this and caromel colors — another line I’m considering for painting cabinets.

  63. Just what I was looking for. Any give aways from them. I did the mirrormate and vanity the same as on your site and love it. Saw you on Nate. Great Job. Keep up the good work.

  64. Just came back to your post to read it more thoroughly… and yes, I would like to try out this product! I’ve already painted my kitchen cabinets (a huge undertaking, and was mis-informed by our local BM store that priming was not necessary. Huge mistake, and a huge undertaking to correct!). I’d use this product for our bathroom cabinets. I also have a great oak book display cabinet handed down from an elementary school library… I’ve been itching to paint it, and I think this product kit would be perfect. I’d also use it for our coffee table. I can’t wait to see the countertop kit demonstrated… I’ve got some real purty peach-speckled laminate that could use some updating!

    Thanks for sharing :-)

  65. I actually saw this in Home Depot when going for another project and was wary, but intrigued! So glad to hear you give your opinions, as well as the pros and cons! Thanks! I think I might try it as a quickie fix until we get the kitchen re-done!

  66. looks like a great product… Maybe my hubby will actually argee to the idea of painting our kitchen cabinets. Thanks for the review!

  67. I am VERY tempted to give this a try. Our kitchen has blue countertops and pink cabinets. Yikes! We’ve tried offsetting the pink with a beige paint on the walls which has worked a little, but not as much as I would like. The countertops really need to be replaced, but I could totally live with the cabinets if they were a different color. I wonder if I could talk my DH into letting me give this a try….?

  68. That looks awesome!!! And it’s affordable enough that I might be able to get m landlord to spring for it (i.e. take it out of my rent). Oh, the thought of not having builder-oak cabinets anymore! Woo-hoo!!!

    I can’t wait to see what you think of the countertop transformations, too. We’ve got 80’s mauve laminate, and man, oh, man, is it awful. I would LOVE to refinish them, and doing right before going out of town (over which time it could fully cure) would be perfect. Now, to schedule a vacation . . . lol

  69. Hmmm, ok here’s my situation. I’d LOVE to use this on my bathroom vanities. The drawers are wood, but surround is that paper-like laminate stuff that they tack over fake wood. Do you think this would work on that, or would it just peel right off?

  70. Saw this at Home Depot a couple of weeks ago and came home to search online for reviews of it. So, I’m so glad to read your review. Have held off painting our kitchens cabinets because of how many we have and the sanding, priming, painting process seemed overwhelming. Would love to try this, but the one thing that held me back was not being able to test the colors. I’ve been considering using SW Creamy for the kitchen because I didn’t want a stark white and also didn’t want an off-white. Did you see the Linen color in person -if so, what did you think of it?

  71. I’m curious if you would use this in lieu of the standard strip + sand + prime + paint + protect to do pieces of furniture you were planning on painting. I recently tried to take a darker wood dresser and paint it white and the process with fraught with frustrations and disappointment. I thoroughly sanded and cleaned all the surfaces, then used a latex paint with floetrol and still ended up with a lot of brush marks and poor adhesion. I tried to use a water-based polycrylic over the top for protection and ended up with crackling. I guess I should have primed first. = P I was trying to avoid stinkier stuff, since we live in Tahoe and the garage has been about 40 degF of late, so I was working in the game room downstairs. Just wondering if this would have been an easier process with better results.

    Note to TREVA: Water-based doesn’t necessarily mean no or low-VOC. I just tried using a water-based polycrylic and it was to fumy for use in the closed house during winter. This product may be safe and low-VOC, but being water-based doesn’t necessarily guarantee it is.

  72. Does this leave paint strokes? I’ve never really been able to “paint” something without it looking like it was “painted”. I would love to do this on my kitchen cabinets, but my house is brand new (I couldnt affort he upgrade cabinets) and dont want it to look bad. I like that the oak texture will still be there, but want to make sure it’s smooth. What do you think? How were the paint strokes when you were testing it?

  73. Hmmm. I’m fine with my cupboards … what I’ve REALLY wanted to refinish is my piano. Any thoughts about this product on my very old, very beloved upright grand?

  74. Hey, Kate! This does look like an amazing product, I can see someone using this who is not experienced in painting cabinets and might want to take a little shortcut. Definitely looks like a good product to try out. Love those 3 colors you featured.

    Wish Rustoleom would have invited ME to be there with you all! I’m heading down tomorrow to enjoy a few days with my niece. Glad you enjoyed your visit too.

  75. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to the company to ask when the product would be available in Canada. They said they didn’t have an exact date, but it would definitely be launched this calendar year.

  76. Forgive me if this has already been asked and forgive me if this is a dumb question :) We have oak kitchen cabinets and would like to paint them white- can/should you paint the inside of your cabinets white with this product? I’ve always seen before and afters of cabinet makeovers, but no one has shown the inside of the cabinet so I’m curious.

  77. I love this stuff! I did my whole kitchen in January. If I can find a USB cable anywhere, I’ll send you before and after shots. It was AMAZING! I couldn’t be happier. Well, I’d be happier if I knew where my darn USB cable was… :)

  78. I have white melamine cabinets in my bathroom and would love to try to paint them with an espresso finish. Did you you get to test refinishing any other finishes other than the oak cabinet? And if so, how different were the results? Thanks!

  79. My husband and I have been looking at this product for a while now. We wanted to use on our white melamine cabinets in our kitchen. Our main obstacle has been the lack of color samples. I’ve been concerned about making a decisoin on color and hating the final results. The “seaside” color was one we were considering but I wasn’t sure if leaned more to the blue side or green side. It’s very hard to tell based on the box and our computer moniter exactly what colors would go best with our countertops. Our countertops are a green stone-look laminate that we wnt to keep for now. Thanks for your input on this product. It’s always great to hear real people opinions.

  80. I want to paint my kitchen cabinets. I have the horrible oak cabinet doors like they gave you to refinish. Does the paint coat streak/leave brush marks?

  81. I have wanted to paint our cabinets for the past few years. When we built this house, we were on a tight budget. I got 19 maple cabinets off of Craigslist (for dirt cheap) which were taken from someone’s kitchen redo. But there weren’t enough to complete the look we wanted. So we had to find similar cabinets. In order to get the same door design, we had to go with a different wood…cherry. Well, over time, cherry darkens. We knew this, so we got ones that were lighter than the maple. Fast forward 5 yrs, and the color of the cherry cabs has darkened more than we expected. I just hate going into my kitchen because I can tell the difference in a heartbeat. And I had an appraiser say “Oh…your cabinets are made from 2 different woods. Interesting.” “Interesting” is apparently appraiser code for “WTH?!!” So I want to paint them so badly, but have been afraid to attempt it. This product would be perfect. The only problem I foresee is the fact that the paint coats look thin, as you mentioned. I don’t want a look that is transparent in any way. So…I am wondering how you think one could get around that. Any ideas?

  82. I’m wondering why the need for the top coat, assume it is some sort of polyurethane. I have painted many cabinets and never would put a clear protectant coat on as they tend to yellow over time. Any feedback from the manufacture on what is in this coat and if it will yellow?

  83. It’s expensive for what it is and how much space it covers! You can do the same thing just more cost effective!

  84. HI Ann, the top coat is not a polyurethane, which if it’s oil based tends to yellow over time. It’s a water based UV protectant to prevent the color from fading.

    Karla, the base coat is not thin as in transparent. It’s the same consistency as most latex paints. It will coat your cherry wood, and lucky you, cherry is smooth, so you should be AOK !

    Condo Blues: Using a high quality brush like Purdy helps, you won’t experience ‘drag’ for about 20 minutes which is usually enough time to get the full coverage on every drawer or door.

  85. Hi Gina, I did not get to test on melamine or laminate, I wish I had! The company stands behind their guarantee that it will adhere to laminates.

  86. Emily: the choice is yours! Personally, I like a ‘finished’ look and feel so I always paint the inside too, but if it doesn’t matter to you, then the outside frames, drawer fronts and cabinet doors are really all you need to coat. Note, everytime you do open a drawer or door, the contrast will be evident.

    Kristi, so great to hear!!! Please do send the B&A shots, would love to see!

    Sarah, so great to hear you love the Countertop Transformations product!

    Carmie, it works on laminates too! :)

    Brooke, gunny you should mention that, the cabinet I show down at the bottom (white with dark countertop) had the same situation! ‘Veneer’ like sides, and the product worked just fine for those glossy paper like surfaces.

  87. I painted my laminate cabinets about 7 years ago, the traditional way with Zinser primer and Melamime paint. I was a little impatient, and only used 1 coat of primer and I coat of paint, so now it is chipping off on corners. Will this kit work on previously painted cabinets with Melamime paint, or would it be better to just redo it correctly, with 2 coats of primer and several coats of paint. It looks interesting and I think I would try it. Since I’m using a creamy white similar to what I have, I’m not concerned about not having a color sample. The counter top transformation kit looks like an awful lot of work and for a small kitchen like I have, I think I would just get a new counter top. It seems like a good idea, but just too many steps. Thanks for the info and video though, it was very informative.

  88. April, according to R&D lab tech dudes, yes you can go right over existing paint. Fancy!

  89. Thanks for this very informative, excellent post. I just saw this product at my Lowe’s store today and was wondering if it would work. You answered many of my questions!

  90. CG, you & Rustoleum have been reading my mind!

    We can’t remodel for another year or two so I have been pondering the R countertop & cabinet products the last 3 months every time I enter the hardware stores (about 3x per week).

    The ‘inherited’ dark galley kitchen with dark-walnut-stained alder cabinets (loverly top & bottom Cathedral curve detailing), with laminate countertops AND backsplashes, avocado green with a ‘bamboo crackle’ effect in the laminate, are screaming at me for updating N-O-W.

    Needless to say, I am thinking light cheery celery green walls, beadboard backsplashes, off-white cabinetry, and perhaps ‘fake’ soapstone countertops.

    The paint-department-Big-Box-Store-employee told me the R countertop product can be made any color as the ‘color’ is added to the base product the same way as any paint base. However, I am concerned about countertop chipping, heat causing bubbling, etc., i.e. Durability over time.

    And with the cabinet product I am wondering about doing the insides of the cabinetry too. Especially since all of my shelves are immovable, and the deep lower shelves in the base cabinets look like black holes in outerspace.

    Hey, thank you CG for speaking up at the event and sharing with Rustoleum. The things you mentioned are exactly what my concerns have been and why I have yet to invest in these very products. As always, you are the greatest!

    Did I mention the same cabinetry is in the bathrooms too? Except those countertops are white laminate with gold veining – yee-haw-gross! LOL!

  91. I am SO GLAD you posted this. I’ve been trying to think of a way (an easy way) to refinish the cabinets and countertop in my new kitchen, and these look like they will be perfect! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  92. I will DEFINITELY be using some of this stuff. It might be in a year, but it will be used! My husband loves the color of our kitchen cabinets (cherry wood) but all our bathrooms have the standard oak stuff and it pains me to look at if especially with our dark wood floors and dark wood doors and dark wood banisters and dark wood windows…. well, you get the picture!

  93. Wow! I am intrigued. My cabinets are very expensive dark stained birch, but I really want to lighten up. I wonder if I should take the plunge!

  94. Thanks so much for this great post! I’ve been painting my kitchen/dining furniture lately and the cabinets are next on the list. I also have 30 year old counter tops, so I will be waiting for your post and opinion on the painting kits for counters.

  95. We used this product and totally agree with you that they need a color swatch to take home, as matching from the box is not a good way to do it. The color chosen off of the box was much darker on the cabinets. However, after speaking with Rustoleum’s representatives on the phone they reimbursed us for one kit so that we could use a lighter color to achieve the look we were wanting. Great customer service – they just need to get their kinks worked out on this new product!!

  96. Can this product be used with already primed wood cabinets?

    Thanks so much for this well written post!

  97. I saw this for the first time a few days ago (of course after we just finished up painting our cabinets and looking at glazing the regular old way in the next week). I definitely would have given it a shot if it had been available a few months ago. Thanks for sharing the before/after – great product!

  98. Wow, this is definitely good to know. As someone who is currently looking to buy a house and some prospects with some not-so-fantastic kitchens, this is surely good to know.

  99. Hi Kate. My husband and I are going to use this product on our kitchen cabinets — do you know what color they used in the demo you did?? It looks like maybe Linen or Quilter’s White (the two colors we are considering, minus the glaze). Thanks for your help!

  100. Just an FYI on the colors…we had an extra drawer left over from the builder so I picked up a small dark color kit to test it out. I’m always a bit skeptical with this sort of thing. From the brochure we liked Cocoa and Chocolate, but thought the Chocolate would be too dark. When I went to HD they were out of brochures (I had picked one up at Lowes the day previously) and I forgot to bring mine, but decided to go with Cocoa. I did notice on the box, the colors looked a bit different from what I remembered on the brochure, but I went with it anyway. Trust me when I say the colors on the box are exactly as they come out and NOT what you see in the brochure. There is a clear difference in what is on our drawer than what the brochure shows, but it does look just like the color on the box. So, when picking your color out stick to the color samples on the box for a more true color. I’m not sure this would be such an issue with the light colors, but we have countertops that would match better with the chocolate…should have gone with my first instinct. We’ll likely use the cocoa in our guest bathroom so we don’t waste it.

  101. I tried the Countertop Transformation this weekend. Being a DIYer for 25 years, let me tell you this is a TON of work! I started with textured laminate countertops and even with sanding, sanding, sanding and more sanding, the decorative chips did not adhere! I applied the base coat exactly per instruction,used the wetting agent and redid one are 3 times and still the chips would not adhere! For the cost and the work, I should have just replaced the counters, which I will now have to do!

  102. I’ve been eyeing this product for a few weeks — I’m so excited to see an actual review.
    What kind of sheen is it — matte, satin, semi-gloss, gloss?

  103. I may have to give this product a try. I’m dying to paint our kitchen cabinets white for a more classic look but my hubby is kind of against it. However, he kinda lost a bet so I get to paint them… :)

  104. I just used the product and loved it! Blogged about it! It only took one box to do my cabinets. I’m still trying to decide if I’ll use the same color (Expresso-Glazed) or if I’ll go with a lighter color. So easier than the “old” method of sanding, priming, etc and so much less expensive than having them refaced or replaced!

  105. I’ve been interested in doing this for quite sometime. My only hold up is the top coat on the countertops… Have you heard anything in regards to the safety of the top coat? Does it cause any type of “de-gassing” when exposed to heat (i.e. when the stove or oven are operating)? I worry about that when preparing food, you know?

  106. I’m also wondering if this can be used on “golden” oak doors and trim. We are in the process of purchasing a house built in the 80s with ridiculous amounts of golden oak (like floor to ceiling built ins in multiple rooms, doors, trim, crown molding, paneling, banister, cabinets, windows, etc). To my husbands horror, I’m looking at painting ALL of it, yes all of it!

  107. I’m very interested in this treatment, especially eliminating the sanding mess. I just redid my old Formica counter tops with Ralph Lauren River Rock paint in my kitchen. I primed – used 3 coats of River Rock ( could have used 2 if I’d gotten my ‘technique’ down sooner) and 4 coats of UV sealant. I’m thrilled with the results and so far, red wine and red cabbage ‘ stains ‘have wiped right off with water.

  108. I would love to try this on one of my bathroom vanities and if I love it would love to redo my whole kitchen!!!

  109. We tried the light kit and were less than thrilled with the results on our laminate cabinets. Had to do at least 3 coats of the base and could still see some of the 1980’s showing up underneath. We are now trying an epoxy product.

  110. I have grainy oak cabinets in my bathroom that I would like to change to white. Will this product cover the grainy-ness of the wood? Is it low VOC? If I want to sand before using it, will it still work? Will a regular brush leave brush marks or should I use a foam brush? Thanks!

  111. Can you me tell what color was used in the last photo, the one at the Rustoleum event?

  112. I am using the Harvest right now on my melamine cabinets and it is covering everything beautifully. If you feel you need a third coat you can certainly put it on. The trick for me has been getting the glaze to look right. I just don’t have enough experience with this treatment but I’m determined to get it right. Once you put the top coat on while it is thin and you have to work quickly but you will find that it gives a soft sheen to the paint. The biggest issue is taking your time, prepping properly and being ok with the time it takes to complete. You have to wipe down your cabinets and let them dry, then tape off what you don’t want paint to get on, then degloss both sides of your cabinet fronts and let them dry again and then apply 2 coats of base and allow 2-3 hours in between coats. Then if you chose to glaze you need to wait another 8 hours before applying the top coat and then you need to give 24 hours before you can put drawers back in and fronts back on. As long as you are realistic in the timeline you’ll be fine and it’s well worth it. I’m not even done yet and the difference already is simply amazing. Good luck everyone!

  113. With the housing market in a slump, selling right now is out of the question. I am doing an inexpensive kitchen makeover instead. I have been eyeing this product for a while now. The biggest problem I have had is choosing colors. I’ve decided to mix things up a bit so will be painting the lower cabinets with “Toasted Almond” and the upper cabinets with “Winter Fog”. I am going to have new laminate counters done and after that will re-tile the backsplash all the way up to the bottom of the upper cabinets. I wanted to try the Countertop Transformation, but the color selection is very limited with nothing available that suited me. Thanks to all for sharing their experiences…it helps to take away some of my anxiety over tackling this project.

  114. I am planning to paint my oak kitchen white so of course I came back to your blog for all the tips and advice. After scouring all I could find on here I’m still not sure what I should do. I love the idea of the Cabinet Transformation but then I notice that you didn’t use it when redoing your kitchen island. Truly, do you still think oil based primer and latex paint is the best way to go?

  115. Has anyone tried going from “honey oak” golden cabinets to a darker color? I want to go to Expressor darker, but with an antique-type of finish. I don’t want a flat black look when I’m done.

    I have experimented on an old pie safe using Cabernet (the pie safe was a walnut stain). I still have the UV protecant coat to put on, but so far I’m liking the change on the pie safe. I have a lot of cabinets in my kitchen so I want to be VERY SURE before I begin such a huge project. I’ve not seen any comments or pictures from someone who has gone to a darker finish from the golden/honey oak of the ’90s!

  116. Is there any way to fill oak grain before painting to get a flatter look. I have really nice golden oak cabinets that are currently very grainy due to the poly but some. Would not consider painting if couldn’t do some filling in of the grain. Anyone know of a way this has been done with or without this kit. I know sanding after filler would be needed.

  117. I am wanting to paint my banister and restain–I woner how this would work on that? I may just have to give it a try….then work towards the cabinets.

  118. Has anyone done it on the laminate cupboard boxes? I’m not worried about the wood cupboards I’m concerned about the laminate side of my cupboards. The builders ones have faded and it has left me with a mismatched kitchen.

  119. @ Karen I have done two bathroom vanities with the Espresso color. They turned out nice, much better that the “orange oaky” color they started. This product takes a lot of time so plan for it. 3 base coats are needed. I did use the glaze, to add depth, but the color is so dark you can hardly tell. The hardest part for me was getting the top coat on just right. It tends to get white and bubbly as you brush it on. Daping the corners with a rag helped get rid of most of the extra, but even after wiping the bottom edges of the cabinet doors still had a bit of dripping, lucky it is in the inside of the door. Not sure about how durable it with be, but should know soon… in the pre-teen boys bath!

  120. I just tried the linen cabinet kit as an experiment on my laundry room cabinets. I have been mulling over the work of painting my kitchen cabinets and have been too chicken until I found this kit, and it looked so easy!

    Now that I’ve finished I’m thrilled with the results compared to the pickled oak I started with, but I’ve decided I’m probably not going to use it for the kitchen. Instead, it just made me brave enough to go get some sandpaper and cabinet coat paint and do it the other way.

    The rustoleum kit sounds appealing with no sanding, but believe me, the scrubbing with the deglosser is no less work, and there is little visually to let you know you’ve done a thorough job. I would have actually preferred sanding. While it also does not require sanding between coats, that kind of sanding is super easy anyway.

    As mentioned in other reviews, the bond coat is thin. I used 3 coats and I can almost swear I still see a hint of the pinkish oak through it where the grain is the strongest. Somehow this did not detract from the overall look. Kinda pretty. You will definitely see the grain of oak through this, so if you want not to, don’t try this. ( I do not know of a product anywhere that will hide the grain of oak–you’d have to use filler and sandpaper, and it’s generally not recommended as it rarely looks uniform). On the up side, this thin paint goes on super easy and smoothly, never sticky like some of the thicker paints. I enjoyed every coat I had to do because it was so quick and easy. The paint levels nicely and brush strokes are minimal once dry. Do pay close attention to drips though.

    I found the glaze to be too difficult to master. I did not want the overall glazed look, just some color in the grooves. I found it nearly impossible to completely wipe color off the places I didn’t want it (even immediately), and while using a damp cloth as they suggest did the trick, it also removed the bondcoat! The glaze does get sticky and the gauze wiping cloth catches on the corners and the stickiness. I gave up and painted over my two failures. The allover glazing is probably a lot simpler to manage, so if you planned on that, don’t let me scare you off.

    The biggest complaint I have is that the dried topcoat appears yellow in the grooves and in some corners where it accumulated a tiny bit. Makes the white cabinets look kind of dingy in those areas. Frankly, it’s the big dealbreaker for me. I do not know how to prevent it from happening, as I cannot see it until it’s dried. I’m so frustrated by this that I just want to avoid topcoating altogether by using a nice hard cabinet paint instead. I figure if sanding isn’t any worse than deglossing, and cabinet paint doesn’t require topcoat, what makes this kit easier at all?

    Overall, I think this is a handy kit, and I love my new (even slightly yellow cornered) white laundry cabinets. I finished in a day and a half (no glaze) and did not find application to be very difficult excepting the glaze. If it weren’t for the topcoat problem, I’d be painting my kitchen cabinets with it right now!

  121. I wish I could post a fairy tale comment, but it’s not the same thing to do one or two doors in a paid for, controlled environment and to do an entire kitchen. I’ve repainted many items in the past without sanding by using liquid sandpaper, a primer and a satin finish. The only new thing was the staining. But, following the directions on the DVD, we used screws to hold up our product and (1) the doors slid on the screws, messing up the top surface and (2) the screws scratched the bottom surface. We had to redo the doors. But, here’s the big issue: Rustoleum will not sell bond coat. Every other part of the kit is available under other names but when you run out of bond coat, the only solution, according to Home Depot and Rustoleum “customer service,” is to buy another kit. $80 was a lot to pay for one kit, but $80 to buy just the paint. It’s not a good product, not a good deal and Rustoleum does not support it.

  122. Yeah, their inflexibility to sell you anymore bond coat is beyond belief. I would advise anyone that busy this that you MUST be sure about your color choice. Rustoleum will not sell you more of ANY parts of the kit. I bought the large kit in “Porcelain”. I painted the inside of one of my cabinet doors and it just wasn’t right with the rest of the kitchen (tile, wall color, etc.). I called Rustoleum and BEGGED them to sell me (SELL me, mind you, not give me for free) another can of the base and they WOULD NOT do it. They said I would have to buy an entire whole kit which costs $150.00. Further, the representative would not let me speak to anyone else or transfer me to anyone else in the company!!?? Sorry, but that is really poor customer service. The kit is very expensive in the first place, but their inflexibility to help you out is absurd. Even if I could afford another $150.00 kit (which I can’t) I would never buy anything from them again. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” my foot…..

  123. Wish I had found this site. earlier.. two major comments on this product. BTW, I am using tudor (very pretty) on solid oak honey colored cabinets.

    1) Use a heavy hand on the deglosser. If you don’t, the bond paint will not adhere to the wood. I mean, rub it good…like sanding with a scrub pad.

    2) Secondly, if you use the glaze, be super super gentle when removing it because it will remove the bond paint and you will see your original cabinet color (mine are oak) come shining through…not too pretty.

  124. I have also tried the Cabinet Transformtions kit on both bathroom vanities. I’m thrilled with the results and can’t wait to start my kitchen. The hardest part was waiting long enough between coats to see the results! Oh, and picking out the new hardware. I made sure to do a thorough job of deglossing and had no problems with the glaze coming off.
    Love it, love it, love it.

  125. Pat,

    I am interested in trying the Rustoleum Kitchen Cabinet Transformation Kit. I am tossed between tudor and kona. I am looking for a deep brown/black look. Is tudor like that? Thx!

  126. Have you found that one method is more durable than the other? I am trying to decide between the Rustoleum kit and the good old fashioned priming and painting. I know Rustoleum is known for durability, but in your opinion is this product super durable? Thanks!

  127. I used this product in our guest bath and it turned out great, but I was wondering can you use a conditioner with the topcoat. I was very frustrated with the drying time and felt like it could have finished smoother.

  128. I have cabinets almost exactly the same color as what you started with. I would like to go dark… like an espresso color. Would this work?

  129. Great idea, great price. I bought the small dark kit for our previously painted cabinets. Everything went smoothly until I got to the protective top coat. I followed the directions by applying a long even coat using a brand new, good quality (Purdy) synthetic brush. Since the product is varathane it is important to not overbrush. The directions say to then touch up weak or missed areas. It’s easy to have missed or weak areas when doing long cabinet doors. The doors now look streaked and the touched up areas look awful. They look even worse under direct light or sunlight. My only choice now is to apply another layer of top coat and see how it dries. Otherwise, I’m going to have to start all over again. This product has a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

  130. Kate, I just found you blog, love it! We are about to start our kitchen cabinets in the morning with this Rustolium kit. After reading through your posts I am wondering if we should use this kit or prime and paint with oil based. My kitchen gets used a lot and I just really want it to last. Would you use this product in your big kitchen?

    • Hi Katie, if I was painting my own kitchen I’d go old school, with Zinsser primer + paint. I love the RustOleum kit but I have no idea of its durability over time. It is the RustOleum company, and they’re known for their products being incredibly durable, but if it was me, I’d still prime a heavily used kitchen with a bonding primer then use water based Ben Moore Advance enamel paint on top. On a positive note, the kitchen where we did use the RustOleum kit is still holding up niceley. A few minor scratches around the main cabinet where the garbage can is, but other than that, the cabinets still look beautiful, but again, that kitchen is not heavily used and the Kit is a great quick fix. Hope this helps!

  131. I was wondering if the surface of the countertops are rough or smooth after you complete the countertop restoration? It looks like it is a rough or plastic type feel in the pictures but I was wondering the texture after the project is complete?

    • Hi Burgandy, if you sand them down correctly with the tool, they will be smooth.

  132. Kate,

    Again, I am so loving your website. Thank you for all of the information!!!!!! You are my new BFF….

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