New Cabinets For Under $200?- Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Reviews

Have you ever watched the show Renovation Realities on the DIY network? If you are thinking about renovating your kitchen, I would encourage you to watch a few episodes. The show films do-it-yourself couples who are planning and executing a renovation themselves without the help of professionals. When the couples run into problems, the show simply films on the disaster unfolding in progress.  You certainly get to learn from other peoples mistakes. Some jobs never get competed, others are a hit, and some are just disasters.

My husband and I lived in a rental when we were first married, and were offered a management position taking care of the various rentals.  The owner was extremely good to us, and allowed us to remodel the kitchen (without any experience!) He was willing to foot the bill for new low cost cabinetry from Ikea.  After my husband assembled the cabinets (which was not a good experience ) and installed them (with lots of trouble) we learned through the process that a professional built kitchen is worth every penny.  Not everyone has upwards of 30 K to spend on a new kitchen. Often times, solid wood cabinetry just needs a face-lift that a few coats of paint can do.  Painting cabinets is time consuming but a heck of a lot less expensive than replacing your cabinets entirely.

Rustoleum produced a kit called Cabinet Transformations and the reviews are amazing! The end result looks great.  The process is time consuming, but has a wonderful end result.

Painting cabinets can be a big job.  Cabinets need to be sanded down, primed, painted and sealed.  Often times the finish looks unmistakably like paint, unlike the usual finish of store-bought cabinets.  Cabinets that are professionally painted are usually sprayed with an oil based paint, along with professional glazes that are often sprayed, or hand rubbed.

The Rustoleum kits claim that there is NO STRIPPING, NO SANDING, and NO PRIMING!

The kit process unfolds like this.....  First you “de-gloss” your cabinets which allows the product to grip the cabinet surfaces more easily.  Then you paint two coats of the primer/base color. After it has dried, you glaze the cabinets by brushing on the product and wiping it off.  Finally, a sealer is applied.

The kit is available in 24 dark colors and 11 light colors. Kits are affordable: The cabinet kits are $79.99 (small) and $149 (large) and the counter top kit is $249. The kit also includes an Instructional DVD and Pamphlet.

-She Saves Money Blog- New Cabinets For Under $150? Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

-The Domestic Diva's Cabinet Makeover Using Cabinet Transformations

Honest Reviews:

By ener629

 I bought this kit to update my outdated engineered oak cabinets. After reading several reviews and watching the video I felt like I knew what I was getting into. While it does require a lot of work, it's not back breaking work and the results are 100% worth the effort. The kit completely transformed my kitchen but be prepared to spend some time and patience on this project (I practice on old bathroom cabinets to make sure I liked the color and knew what I was doing first). Having a large kitchen, I only needed one kit but I broke the project up into 3 sections to avoid painting until midnight. I did this with little help from my husband and even spray painted my hardware to match. Since completing the project, I have had several people ask what I used and have even completed another set of cabinets for my family. As a previous poster stated, there is not enough glaze but Rustoleum shipped another can out free of charge and with no hassle. For what it's worth, I've heard they will be adding a second can to future boxes. I finished my project with the counter top transformations and am in love!


This kit is a great way to easily do a nice-looking DIY job on your old worn out cabinets. The result looks wonderful, but this is not a one-weekend project!

-Easy; if you can paint, you can do this
-Finished result looks very nice. People will think you had them redone professionally or replaced.
-Good price for the convenience of having all the products in one kit. Obviously MUCH cheaper than professional refinishing or replacement
-No sanding required

-It doesn't actually come with everything you need, and you will need some extra things that the box doesn't tell you about.
-Takes FOREVER. Obviously this is primarily affected by how many cabinets you have, and how much workspace is available.
-Colors are not accurate on the box, and there are no sample chips available

I tested out a small kit in pure white on a small bathroom vanity. That project only took one weekend, but it was a very small cabinet. I was satisfied with the results, and went to purchase a large dark it for the kitchen. Although my cabinet frames are fairly compact in my little galley style kitchen, I do have 20 doors and 4 drawers, so it was a lot of surface to cover.

I initially chose Paprika, based on the photograph on the box. This was a mistake. Fortunately, I tested it on a scrap of wood before putting it on the cabinets. I would highly recommend doing this for any color you choose. The actual color without glaze was like the redwood stain you use on decks; add the glaze, and they looked almost purple. Not what I was going for! Unfortunately, once you have added the pigment, you can't take the thing back. It ended up not being a total loss, though, because I used some of the items in the first box when I ran out of them. The second time around, I chose Chocolate with Glaze. I liked the Espresso color, but it is too dark for the glaze to show up, and I wanted the two-tone effect. I am very happy with my final color choice.

PREP: I was so excited to get started that I forgot to number the doors. It probably would have been easier to put them back together if I had done so. Take your time masking and covering your appliances. Fill any holes that will no longer be used if you are changing out your hardware. Fill damaged areas with wood putty and sand flush. Make the largest work space you possibly can. Drive screws through 2x4's and put them on sawhorses, work benches, or tables. Placing the doors on the screws makes it easier to paint the sides. I only had space to do 2 - 3 doors at a time, so my project took a very long time.

DEGLOSSING: Purchase more scrub pads. LOTS of them. My husband and I used probably 15 beyond what was included in the kit. This is the most difficult step from an elbow grease standpoint, but you must be very thorough, or the base coat will not adhere. If you think you've scrubbed enough, scrub it again. We only used half of the deglosser provided, so don't be stingy with it. After it's clean and deglossed, be sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth, then wipe again with a dry cloth, and allow to dry completely before starting the bond coat.

BOND COAT: Nothing fancy here, it's just painting. Use long strokes, and the best brushes you can buy. I used Shur Line Teflon 2" angled. If you are going from light cabinets to dark, 2 coats will be fine. If going dark to light, you may need 3 coats. I only used about 1/2 of the bond coat provided in 2 coats. Watch for drips and clean them up as you go. This stuff dries pretty fast. After they dried to the touch, I would go ahead and flip them over on the screws and do the other side. Do be careful not to bump into them or move them while on the screws; I had to touch up some scratches with a furniture stain pen before doing the top coat. After they are dry to the touch, you can put them on plastic cups to cure completely if you need to make room for the next set of doors.

GLAZE: If you have an early production kit, you will not have enough. Rustoleum has great customer service, though, and will hook you up with another can. Do not start this step until your bond coat is completely dry (I let mine dry overnight first). Otherwise, the glaze will wet the bond coat and remove it when you wipe, and create a muddy mess. This stuff takes a really long time to dry. To speed the process, I set up a fan and ran it on low to dry the doors. I also needed a few more wiping cloths (good thing I had that extra kit). You may want to pick up an extra pack of cheese cloth when you buy your brushes. If you chose anything darker than chocolate, don't waste your time glazing; you won't be able to see it. I used the standard brush on, wipe off in long strokes technique, and it gives a nice wood grain appearance. Just stay with the grain. If you screw up, just wipe it all off with firm pressure and start over. You have about 5 minutes of workability before it starts to set up. After waiting at least 8 hours (I would go overnight to be safe), if it still feels tacky at all, do not proceed to top coating yet.

TOP COAT: You can do this 2 different ways. On the white bathroom vanity, I used a foam brush to get a very thin and even coat, then coated it a second time for extra protection. This prevented bubbling and drips. On the kitchen, I was ready to get it over with, so I used a brush per the instructions. The application with a brush is thicker, so you have to be more careful not to leave weird lap marks or excess project on the edges, which will dry white instead of clear. If this happens to your corners, you can cut the bubbles off with a razor. You cannot do spot touchups with this product, so make sure you covered everything by going over it with a worklight or flashlight. Do NOT overbrush areas you have already covered; wait until it cures and do a whole new coat on that area. This stuff dries FAST. If you want/have to 2nd coat it, make sure the first coat is completely dry first. Do not use a fan to dry the final coat, as you may stir up dust and debris that will get stuck in your beautiful clearcoat, preserved forever in your cabinet surface like a fly in amber.

Don't use the protective coat!, By Mellissa (Montrose, Colombia) 

Many people have said it works people but many, like me, have BUBBLES. It is a lot of work and looked beautiful until I went to coat the front of the cabinets and saw the BUBBLES and am heartbroken! The loads of work was worth it until I ruined it with the top coat. Several reviewers, here and at have said they've been advised to use a MINWAX polycrylic protective finish so I will wait until tomorrow (SO ready to be done and putting my kitchen back together!) to head to HD to grab some.

By A. Guilmain "the mama in red"

My husband and I purchased this kit for our cabinets. Our house is only 5 years old, but we didn't get to choose any of the finishes. It came with very nice Merillat oak cabinets, but they are the same cabinet style that was put into EVERY house in the 80s-early 90s. I've hated them, but it's not worth it for us to put a new kitchen in. So we purchased the dark kit and took our cabinets to black.

The first degreaser step was fine. Lots of elbow grease, but it worked. Bond coats went on beautifully--except apparently on one of our drawers, there must have been something on our drop cloth that got painted on. It came off after two bond coats and we had to touch up. However, the finish was amazing on our cabinets, it looked great. It comes out very matte.

We skipped the glaze step since we did the cabinets in black and figured it wouldn't be worth the work.

My husband and I both didn't really want to put on the top coat because we loved the finish so well, but you can tell it will scratch easily. So he put on the protective coating on one drawer front, one cabinet door, and one set of cabinet faces. This? LOOKS AWFUL. The top coat bubbled really badly, and there was nothing on any of the surfaces to cause this. We used a clean brush and everything. So now we must sand them down and redo them. We'll likely purchase a matte or satin polyurethane to go on top instead. I just hope we can salvage our cabinets and not ruin them

Everything in one Box, By jhwongso

I bought it for $73 after tax at Lowes (price match plus 10% discount since Homedepot was selling it cheaper). On the side note, Walmart is selling it for about $72. Take the price to Lowes and Homedepot and you'll get a much better deal as they match and beat it by 10%.

The process of transformation is simple but tedious. You really need to de-gloss the cabinets and panels thoroughly so the paint will stick better to the cabinets. I spend about 10-15 minutes de-glossing every cabinet door. I tried to conserve paint as I have 20 cabinets that needs to be painted including the island. This box provides you with 2 quarts on paint but I managed to get everything painted just with those 2 quarts.

To be on the safe side, I took the paint to Homedepot to try to get a match for BEHR paint. Amazingly, one of the associate at the paint department got me a perfect match.

So here's the bottom line (my opinion to be exact): You can actually buy the de-glosser, scrub pads, stains, cheese cloth, paint and gloss (water-based polyurethane) separately from the hardware store. You may even catch them on sale and get those supplies for a lesser price than this box. Paint gets cheaper as you buy in a bigger volume. There is really nothing special in this box that you can't buy off the shelf. On the plus side, it is all put together in a nice box with an instructional DVD. However, you can get the instructions online too for free. For me, the most valuable item in the box is the cheese cloth as it has tons of it in it. Cheese cloth can be very expensive. I did not glaze my cabinets, so I gave all the cheese cloth to my wife . That made her happy.

The down side of this box is that in order to get more of the same color paint, you need to buy the entire kit. So my suggestion for everyone is if you really want to buy this kit and have chosen the color you want, get the associate at your local hardware store to match the color with another brand of paint. At least now you will feel safer if you run out of paint from this kit. An experienced person who does tons of paint matching will be able to match it perfectly. At least, it happened for me. Also, the paint in this kit is flat (no gloss).

Update: Just talked to an associate in Homedepot who used the Rust Oleum kit too and said that the texture and smell of the paint is very different from other paints. He's been in the painting business for more than 10+ years. However, I did use BEHR flat interior paint on the kick plates and gloss it and it turn out the same as Rust Oleum. So, I'll let the user be the judge.

By Mike Anderson -

I bought the Rustoleum cabinet product in hopes of restoring my older looking cabinets. The product only cost $79 dollars, so I was not sure how it would look. Thus, I tried it on an old cabinet in my garage before proceeding with my kitchen. Although it's a time sink, the product is Amazing!

It's a four step process: Clean, de-gloss, paint, gloss (optional). There is no sanding needed but you should buy some decent paint brushes if you do not have them already. Also, make sure you power drill is fully charged before you begin and setup plenty of work room. The project goes much faster if you have lots of space.

Normally, I do not write product reviews but this stuff was so amazing I was having neighbors stopping by all over and many even gave me high 5's, there were so amazed. Many of my neighbors were not sure if the cabinets were brand new or not. I don't work for the company nor make a profit for those guys but it's a WOW product.

I never got a better "bang for my buck" than this product, hands down a winner!

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