Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review

In: Kitchen Tutorials

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review- White is the New Orange!

So here is a little reminder of the lovely oak crap-inets that currently stand in our kitchen…

honey oak cabinets
As if you could ever forget.  I know, they are burned in my mind forever as well.  I’m so sorry about the nightmares that could possibly come from this horrific photo above.  Sometimes real life is more gruesome than Hollywood.
 My kitchen needs to be blessed with a clean set of pristine white cabinets.  White cabinets so gleaming that there will not be the faintest memory of the horribleness that once was there.  The evil agent orange cabinets.  dun, dun, dun…..
Okay, enough dramatics.  So you get the picture.  I want white.  Pretty, clean, cottage like white.
Something pretty like these from A Country Farmhouse.


To do this, I’ve read a number of different informative blogs and sites that give you the low down on refinishing cabinetry.  To be honest… I don’t really like any of them.  It’s not that they aren’t giving me what I need, it’s just…. well…  It looks hard.  Time consuming and all around not fun.

First you need to degloss, then clean.
Sand, then clean.
fill in holes, sand, then clean.
Paint.  Paint.  Top coat.
That’s a lot.  To much with a very energetic 10 year old, a very “helpful” 6 year old, and a very curious toddler running around.  I feel like there has to be an easier way…
Enter the king of useless knowledge and on occasion, useful knowledge- My brother Cory.
He happens to own two apartment buildings so he knows a thing or two about maintenance and cleaning up after people when they leave.  Especially painting.
When I told him about my dilemma, you know, the one where I wanted to do something the easy way, he filled me in on a little product called Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations.
Basically, what it does is take the messy sanding business out of the equation and it will stick to most cabinet surfaces.  This is great news because mine are not all wood.  The sides are laminate, I think, so I know that regular latex probably will peel off.  So I read.
The kit includes everything you need with the exception of paintbrushes.  It’s a four step process that seems never-ending when your eyeball deep in cabinet doors, but I think in the end, is cleaner and easier that all of that sanding.
The first step is cleaning.  
No brainer, you need to clean your cabinets thoroughly.  You need to get all the icky, gunky stuff that splatters on there without your knowledge.  Especially when the orange does such a great job of camouflaging.  The over the stove candy cabinets were gross.  I don’t go in there much so it was… surprising.
The second step is deglossing.
They give you a giant bottle of deglosser and a green scrubby pad.  You basically scrub a dub each cabinet, wipe it clean and make sure no suds are left over, and wait for them to dry.  I’m not sure exactly how hard you need to scrub, but let me say that I didn’t need to do any push ups that week. Not that I do a lot of push ups, but I do haul around a 30lb- 20 month old meatball all day.
The third step is painting.
Simple as that. Paint.  I did the frames first, then the insides of the doors.  I rested the doors on various items of the same height- like 2 garbage bag rolls, or the foil and ziplock boxes- while I painted and let them dry.  Once those sides were dry, I did the fronts of the doors.  Be careful not to let the paint drip on the sides or you get those icky dried paint drips on your doors.  I just ran my brush around the edges when I was finished with that side.  2 coats on each side did the job for the wood doors and frames, but the sides that are laminate took like 3-4 and I’m still not 100% happy with them.  Hubs says they look fine, but he doesn’t tell me my butt looks big either….
There is a step that goes here.  The glazing.  They give you everything you need to do it, but I didn’t want to use it since I wanted white.  Cory’s GF did the glazing on theirs and it gives it that old world, antique-ey, dirty,  feeling, but that’s just not what i was looking for.
The fourth step is top coat.
Again, easy peasy, paint it on, it’s clear.  I do have one word of advice.  Do thin coats.  I got a little over zealous on my pantry door since I thought, “it’s clear, I don’t have to be so careful.  I can be reckless, these cabinets don’t own me…blah, blah, blah”  but they did own me.  The crevices where the topcoat got a bit thick are a little on the yellow side.
All in all, it took me about a week to finish.  That is with all of my free time devoted to cabinets in that week.  Throw in a load of laundry, paint a door.  Stick a roast in the crockpot, paint a door.  Put the baby down for a nap, paint 5 doors… and so on.
So if you want to opt out of the whole sanding bit, this may be a good option for you.  I’m not sure that I would ever do it again.  At least a whole kitchen anyway.  Maybe a kitchenette.  Or an RV kitchen.  Or a single drawer.  Maybe.  Or if all the kids are away at college- then I would totally do it, no brainer.

That’s Zoey in front of our gorgeous white cabinets.  They were pretty before, but she just makes them shine..

ugly honey oak cabinets
white painted cabinets
Let’s do a little side by side action:
Orange vs. White


                            Please excuse my messy countertop.

My DIY butcher block countertop that is.  Look for a post on that soon.
By the way, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products above- with the exception of the adorable peanut in the picture, she’s mine- I’m just reviewing a product and sharing my own experience with you.
Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Review.  I give them a 1 thumbs up and a flat palmed “eh” on a 2 thumbs up/down scale.  Just because, the deglosser is a little difficult to clean completely off before painting and because the top coat yellows a bit if not careful.  If your glazing, that isn’t a problem for you.





  • Beginner DIYer

    Hi! I’ve been reading about the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation for a while and still can’t decide. What about the experience/product was ‘eh’? The quality of instructions? The quantity of products supplied in the kit? Your cabinets look great, and it’s the look I’m going for but all reviews for this seem to be half positive and half negative. Interested in what your thoughts are about the kit!

    • Erica

      The main thing is that mess of the kit. When you paint cabinets, there is going to be a certain amount of mess, I usually think a sanding mess, but with kit there is no sanding, just de-glossing. And it’s messy. You need a ton of rags to make sure the de-glosser is completely off before painting. That is the only thing. You use a green scrubby to scrub the finish off with the de-glosser, then you wipe it off, wash it off, dry it, then let it dry all the way. If you don’t want to sand, this is definitely the way to go. As for the end result, beautiful. They are easy to clean and I love them. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that the protective clear coat yellows. If I could go back, I would use my own Poly. I hope that helps! Please let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear!

  • Mary Troyer

    Hi what kind of paint did you use? and what exactly is the top coat?

    • Erica

      I used the white Cabinet Transformations Kit from Rustoleum and the topcoat that was provided. In the future, I will use regular latex Paint + Primer paint with a water based polyurethane top coat. It will be cheaper and less work I think.

      • Justin Pumpr

        Hey Erica. You say if you do this again you’ll use regular latex paint + primer paint. Does that mean you would only use the deglosser from the transformations kit? I’m looking at doing my cabinets too and would really rather not stand, so want to give this a try. What was wrong with the paint provided? Thanks!

        • Erica

          The deglosser works fine as far as I’m concerned in place of sanding. In fact my friend just used that method and her cabinets turned out great. I feel there is better value purchasing separate rather than in the kit if you are not planning on glazing

  • Katie Marie Ferguson

    I used this and the base coat have almost a blue tint to it, has anyone had this happen? I’m wondering when I apply the gloss if it will even out the blue