DIY painter uses new Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations on 2 bathrooms & kitchen — $240 for kits instead of $20,000 for new

connie in her kitchen painted with rustoleum cabinet transformationsI recently wrote about my first press trip – to see and test-drive Rustoleum’s new “Cabinet Transformations” kitchen repainting kit. I was impressed with my experience – but there is nothing like a real-life testimonial from someone who has used the product on an entire kitchen. Did skeptical Connie like it? Yes. The minute she finished her first bathroom, she ran out for another kit to paint the second bathroom, then for more to repaint the kitchen.  Here’s a snippet of her enthusiastic story:

What a great, great product.  Tell Rustoleum they’re welcome to come over and shoot a commercial here if they want to.  I wouldn’t want to be in it – I’m 59 years old and well past my expiration date.  That’s what actressess and spokesmodels are for!  I love the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations – I swear I’m about ready to buy stock in the company. 

connie’s bathroom “before”

Actually, Connie first contacted me because there was a small problem. She wrote:

I started out my Cabinet Transformations project in our master bathroom, just in case it didn’t look as good as the pictures on the packaging, because nobody really sees it besides the two of us!

All of our cabinets were spray-painted with thick white latex before we bought the house.  Naturally the guy sprayed right over the hinges and not only were they peeling, but so were the joints on the cabinets.  Actually these cabinets were just about a deal-breaker for me, but I finally thought I’d just live with them for awhile and then have them ripped out and replaced.  (For $30,000 or so!)

the same bathroom “after”

Anyway, the bathroom turned out fantastic.  So then I did the guest bath, and finally the kitchen.  My one and only complaint is that Rustoleum doesn’t provide NEARLY enough glaze. They’ve gotta be kidding with that teeny little can – no WAY would it cover 100 feet.  I called their Customer …  She directed me to just go buy another whole kit, and said Rustoleum would reimburse me.  I’m on my last section of kitchen cabinets now and it’s clear that I’m going to run out of even THAT glaze before I get done.  Does anybody know where to get that type of glaze?…This kit is the world’s greatest idea, but it is just proportioned SO WRONG!!!  Can anybody help?  Thanks!

By now I know all these people at Rustoleum. I emailed them, and they jumped right on it. Not only did they help Connie out with more glaze, at no additional cost. Cathy, a leading member of the Rustoleum brand team, responded quickly:

Connie – I am so sorry that you ran out! As with any new product there is always room for improvement and comments like yours help us deliver better products in the end. With that being said, at this time there is not and option to purchase the glaze on its own at a retailer, and we do not recommend any other product as a substitute. As a result to consumer demand we will be adding an additional 1/2 pint of glaze to our small Cabinet Transformations kit going forward. Rust-Oleum will also be offering additional glaze, in the near future, if someone happens to run out of the product. (Cathy then gave Connie some options to get more glaze.) We do apologize that you ran out of the product, and really appreciate the feedback. Thank you – Rust-Oleum Cathy

Isn’t that great customer service? Good on you, Rustoleum! Back to Connie… here’s her DIY painting story:

The cabinets in here were solid wood and well worth saving – none of those cheap crappy veneers that you usually see these days.  I just didn’t think they were “salvageable”.  Thus my willingness to spend $30,000 to rip them out and get new ones.

connie’s kitchen “before”

This is a “before” picture of the kitchen, but I didn’t specifically take it because I was going to re-do the cabinets.  I just took those to send to some of my out-of-town buddies once we bought this house.  Too bad I didn’t get close-ups of the awful peeling white paint on the hinges and joints!

Ugly white sprayed on paint, chipping and slopped over the hinges.

I deliberately took photos of the nice new finished cabinets (left side of pictures) while the awful chipped white cabinet doors were still in place on my last section of kitchen (right side of pictures).

As you can see, I went with the darker kit in my kitchen, due to the terra cotta colored floor tile.

In the bathrooms, my tile and grout is quite light. I used one “lighter” Cabinet Transformations kit, and that was enough for both bathrooms.

So I see all these kitchen and bathroom photos, and they don’t look particularly “retro” to me, so I ask Connie how she happened upon this blog. She answers — and we also get this funny back story about her Dear Husband (DH):

I think I got there because I was trying to find out how I could get more glaze, and you had just participated as one of ten designers who went to RustOleum to test the Cabinet Transformations product.   Your blog just happened to be about Cabinet Transformations that week.  It was definitely a roundabout approach!  Our condo is about thirty years old, so not really retro.  We have cathedral ceilings which we call “retro” because all the newer houses have 10-foot ceilings and crown molding!

Here’s a funny story:  I was one of the first people in the Palm Springs area to buy a Cabinet Transformations kit.  Lowe’s had just put their first 8 boxes on display that day.  So when I brought it home and showed my husband, he kinda rolled his eyes and said:  “What did you waste money on THAT for?”  I told him that if the thing works like I THINK it’s gonna work, it’ll save him thousands and thousands of dollars.

He was pretty skeptical, though.  I couldn’t even get him to make me some drying racks, so the master bath seemed to take forever, because I had to wait for each coat to dry before I could flip the doors over and do the other sides.

Anyway, by the time I put the glaze coat on, his eyes were about popping out of his head.  He immediately made some drying racks for me and he had the doors off the guest bath cabinets even as we were waiting for the top coat to fully dry before re-hanging the doors in the master bath!  So as soon as I got done with the guest bath, I bought two more kits, this time in the darker shades.  I’m pretty sure he had the kitchen cabinet doors off by the time I got home.

I can’t see how anybody could NOT love this product.  In my case, replacing the existing cabinets with ones of the same quality would probably have cost at least $20,000 because they’re solid wood – not those cheap veneers you so often see.  Instead I bought a total of four Cabinet Transformations kits and was refunded for the fourth one because I only bought that one to get more glaze.  So, about $240 total.

I thought you’d get a kick out of my husband’s initial skepticism followed by his Attitude Transformation!  If I’m Cabinet Transformation’s biggest fan, I’d have to say he’s now Number Two.

Thanks for your interest…this has been fun… Later, Connie

Thank you, Connie — yes, this has been fun! Please do keep in touch — I especially want to hear how the new paint wears! And if I ever make it to Palm Springs, you and I will have to go thrifting. We’ll get you some great bit 1960s lamps for your Palm Springs groove pad!

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  1. says

    I just finished doing my 1959 Kitchen cabinets with this product. 32 cabinets which took MUCH longer than I anticipated. I will post pictures and a full review soon. I must agree with some other here that the product is awesome but the kits are horribly miss proportioned.

    I needed ONE more canister of base. And ended up having to buy an entire new kit. So now I am stuck with a ton of “Extras” I will most likely never need. I didnt use the antique technique so I have several cans of that. However, something I MIGHT suggest to help others…Thanks to a very friendly Home Depot associate, SHE suggested she tint only ONE can of the base. She said we could come back at any time and have the second can tinted. This allows us the extra can for other projects and to use a different color. It still kind of sucked having all this extra stuff, but that was a helpful suggestion. Over all the product can NOT be beat for a very inexpensive renovation. But it would be nice if they readjusted their kits or allowed consumers to buy “Extras” outside of a kit.

    • Judi says

      I am looking for a can of the glaze. if you are not using it, I will buy it from you. I also could use the lint free rags and top coat.

  2. Sharon says

    I’ve just completed my first project with the cabinet transformations kit. I have a problem with the glaze not drying clear in a few crevices where I apparently didn’t brush up the excess. How can I get rid of the milky spots? I tried to call the Rustoleum help line and unfortunately they’re not open on the weekend. Has anyone else had this problem?

      • Tucker says

        Did anyone have any luck with this? Really don’t want to top coat it again. Wondering if I cant just gloss it and darken it?

        • Sharon says

          It was actually the top coat that I was having trouble with not drying clear (not the glaze). I ended up redoing the two doors that had a few milky spots after drying. However, the next vanity that I did using the kit, I skipped the top coat liquid in the kit and used a spray polyurethane. This added to the cost of the project, but it was so much easier and looks great. I ordered it online: Satin Varathane no odor polyurethane (fast drying/heavy use formula/interior/water based/crystal clear).

  3. Tara says

    They added the extra glaze but not before my poor grandmother bought two kits without knowing they were one old kit and one new kit. They were labeled the same color, and same amount of sq feet, however the older kit with only one can is lighter then the one with two cans. Now we are stuck with what to do, her kitchen is half way done with two different glaze colors. I love the kit, its a lot of elbow grease but its what my grandmother wanted. I am really hoping that home depot well trade us a newer kit, it seems silly they didn’t send the older kits back to the manufacturer, or put some kind of sticker on it saying it only had one glaze. The only way you would know the difference is if you look at the very small picture on the back with what is included. If you have never done the kit before, it would be really hard to know one had two cans of glaze and the other had one.

    PLEASE- let your stores that sell your product send the old kits back so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

  4. Felicia says

    Instead of the top coat I used Rustoleum Spray Satin Finish, it was so much easier and gave a smoother finish. The top coat provided with the kit dries too fast, or maybe I didn’t work fast enough! Either way I think the spray is the way to go. A little more expensive, but well worth it.

  5. Erin says

    I wanted to know what color was used in Connies Kitchen (top happy picture on this page). I know it says the dark kit was used but I wanted to know what color exactly? I’m really apprehensive to pick a color from the swatches on the Rustoleum site and I love the color she used!

  6. Roxanne says

    I am in the process of using the cabinet transformations kit (I’ve done the base cabinets, but still need to do doors). I’m still not sure if I like the outcome of just my base cabinets. I’m doing pure white and the bond coat does go on even and leaves a nice color finish, but even with the protective coat it still seems kind of rough to the touch. I’m not sure if this is because I haven’t put enough protective coat on or not. (It says to use a thing coat). I’m debating on doing another coat of the protective and seeing what happens. It just seems like it should be smoother for cleaning purposes.
    I also agree with the folks that say the kits are not proportioned well. I will have TONS of deglosser and protective coat left in the end! Really wishing I could just buy the bond coat in another color so I can do my bathrooms with the left over product instead of buying another kit!
    I’m still up in the air if this product is really much better than using an oil based paint designed for cabinets or not. It seems like a lot more steps involved and the outcome is pretty much the same! Hopefully this product will last without chipping, etc.

  7. Chuck says

    Anyone else have issues with the protective topcoat? I knew it dried fast and have been working in small sections, but it just doesn’t seem smooth and some areas dried milky even though they were not white or frothy after application. Also I did not shake the can at all, just stirred it and even tried applying it with a low nap roller.

  8. Suzy Q says

    I’m working on completing my large country kitchen cabinets. For those people that say the top coat doesn’t feel smooth…add another coat or two of the top coat. I did a total of three top coats bc I was looking for a smooth durable finish. Be sure to allow the dry time necessary between coats. I used the toasted almond with glaze and I”m happy with the end results. The project turned out requiring more time then I expected bc of the dry time of each step and between coats. I too had cabinet pieces laying all around bc of a lack of a drying rack. Lots of work but well worth the savings in remodeling $$$. Next step is back splash and new window trim around replaced windows. Oh the job goes on and on….

    • Suzy Q says

      I’ve recently discovered that with the glaze and top coat one is only able to work when the area is wet. Going back over trouble spot that has been worked with even two minutes ago causes more problems. DO NOT GO BACK OVER ANYTHING FOR ANY REASON just go back one complete step and yet again.

  9. Susan says

    I’m just finishing my upper kitchen cabinets, it has been a crazy amount of work but well worth it! I was not in a hurry when I started the project so I had the luxury of being incredibly organized as far as prep and drying areas. I bought 8′ lengths of 1×2 scraps to raise my doors up off the work surface and actually bought a 6′ folding table for extra work area. Having plenty of work room is crucial to your sanity for sure! I had a friend help me the first day but I’ve done the rest of the work by myself, that’s a great feeling!

  10. says

    does anyone know the best place to buy these kits? I will probably be needing two of the large kits and want to buy these as inexpensively as possible. By the way, all of the pictures look great and I can’t wait to do my cabinets! I bought some old cabinets off of craigslist for a mountain home and I just know they are going to look spectacular!

  11. Mom of 5 says

    Dont mean to jump in on blogs etc. But I ran across this while in the process of re-Rustoleum-ing my kitchen. **Long story… fiance picked out the Rustic color when we first moved in. I did the kitchen, but HATED the color. I’m either a dark or light kinda person, no in between for me, and Rustic was rather red for my liking. But I lived with it for about 7 months before I finally admitted it to him and purchased the kit in a different color.** Anyway, I’m in the process of painting my cabinets in Linen over the Rustic I didnt like. (I’m loving the white now in case anyone is wondering!:) With the old color, I didnt use the glaze as I found it actually wiped some of the bond coat off. And when I used the top coat, it streaked terribly. So I used Minwax on it instead. It worked ok, but both of those top coats felt rough and chalky to me. This time I went to the store and the associate recommended the Rustoleum Varathane. I was extremely skeptical, because I wanted to really enjoy my kitchen this time, but this stuff is awesome! I got the full gloss (probably too shiny for others), and it is so smooth to the touch! My 18 month old is really liking the color difference and loves rubbing her hands all over the cabinets that are done. The old color/top coat she doesnt even go near as it is very rough.
    Anyway, just thought I’d share the Varathane hint if anyones interested. The top coat in the kit wasnt up to my expectations but the Varathane goes beyond! :)

  12. Donna in NY says

    I’m in the middle of redoingmy kitchen cabinets. I was wondering if anyone knew if the glaze in all the kits are the same or if the different color. The reason I ask is because I am using quilter’s white. When I apply the glaze to my cabinet doors, I am able to wipe enough off to get the desired color, however, when I glaze the laminate on the cabinet bases and frames, it seems to come out much darker and blotchy. I know home depot now sells the glaze separately and was wondering if they sold a lighter color glaze. Any help would be appreciated

  13. Stacey says

    I have used the Linen on some cabinets and loved it! A trick I found was to dampen a couple of the cloths and have dry ones also. It allowed me to get the color exactly like I wanted it! I also used it on an old wooden bed and it came out great! Now I’m trying to decide what color I want to use on my kitchen cabinets.

  14. Shala Simmons says

    I spent several days deglossing my white cabinets(they are made out of a cheap material too)…I started putting my first coat of dark color on the back side of one of my doors ( I choose Cabernet) but it went on really streaky and could see lots of white still in the cabinets….I think it will take alot more than 2 coats to get a dark solid color…Did the degloss not work or what do I need to do? I thought going from white to dark would cover up quick and good but it is I’m scared to do another one…Help!!!

  15. Hilary says

    I have been looking for some feedback from those who used the product a while ago and what it’s durability is like. I want to give this a try, but not if it isn’t going to last. Is it better than painting?

  16. Marianne says

    Has anyone tried using this product on the cheap….and I DO mean CHEAP…..1970ish veneer cabinets? This house is 40 years old, with the original cabinets……I can’t afford to replace them.

    • pam kueber says

      Best to call Rust-O customer service on this one. Not sure if you mean laminate…. Need to ask them…

  17. Shirley says

    Beautiful cabinets! I have read every word of blog and comments but don’t see the color choice of kitchen or bathroom. Can you provide this? Getting a kit and love the colors.

  18. Eunice says

    Did the white paint have to be stripped first? I too have two bathroom vanities that are painted white and I would like them in their natural wood color instead.

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