Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Review – Before and After

By Todd Fratzel on Painting and Finishing, Product Reviews

Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations

Last year I attended a really cool Media Event with the folks from Rust-Oleum down in New Orleans. The event introduced several new products including the new Cabinet Transformations. If you’re not familiar with this new product you can quickly learn about it by reading over my article from the event. In a nutshell Cabinet Transformations is a product designed to make painting your kitchen cabinets easier and more professional looking.

Instead of bogging readers down with all kinds of crazy specifications I thought we’d tackle a kitchen cabinet renovation project to show all of you how effective this new product is. Below is a picture of my dad’s kitchen prior to the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations project. The cabinets are probably 25 years old, rustic pine in good condition.

The next photo is the dramatic change that this kitchen went through with the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations product. I think the pictures in this article will speak for themselves as far as how dramatically you can change an older kitchen by painting the cabinets.

Preparation Is The Key

Like most every DIY project preparation is the key to success. That’s where Rust-Oleum has really shined with this product line. They have taken all the guess work out and provided all the basic materials you’ll need to successfully transform your old kitchen cabinets into a fresh new look.

As you can see above the kit we used included all kinds of products including:

  • Bond Coat – This is the base coat and also the main color coat that gets applied to the cabinets. The color is mixed at the point of sale (hardware store, big box store, etc.).
  • Protective Top Coat – The secret to the professional finish is Rust-Oleum’s protective top coat. The top coat creates an extremely durable finish that allows you to wash the cabinets and keep them looking great through all the rigors of a kitchen.
  • Decorative Glaze – We decided not to use a glaze on this project. However, the kit does come with a glaze so you can add a glazed finish if you like that decorative option.
  • Deglosser – Properly cleaning cabinets prior to painting them is extremely important. Rust-Oleum includes a special deglosser that helps dull the old finish and remove grease and other materials that otherwise might jeopardize the finish.
  • Misc Finishing Items – The kit also includes paint stirring sticks, scouring pads to use with the deglosser and cheese cloth for applying the glaze.

Preparing to paint your cabinets is really easy when you follow the directions that come with your kit. Before you start get organized and plan on spending ten to twelve hours for an average size kitchen. The first step is removing the doors and cabinet hardware. I suggest you number each door and put the hardware from each door in a marked bag similar to what we did shown in the picture above. You can take off drawer hardware and simply put it in the drawer so it doesn’t get lost.

Next you’ll need to clean all the cabinet surfaces with soap and water. Following that will be the application of the deglosser. As you can see above the deglosser is applied with the green scouring pads that come with the kit. You simply rub all the surfaces with the pad and continue to put deglosser on the pad as you go.

Once the cabinets are cleaned and deglossed I recommend you take the time to do any minor repairs such as filling nail holes, repairing small dents, dings and things of that nature. We used wood filler and latex caulking to “tune” up all the joints and moldings before painting.

Before you paint be sure to go back and lightly sand any repairs so that the finished surface is smooth and ready for painting. If you do sand repairs you’ll need to clean those surfaces again to be sure there’s no dust or debris left on the surface.

One last tip and you’ll be ready to paint. It’s really important to protect the appliances and other finishes as you paint. I recommend you cover areas that are not being painted to protect them. Lastly, you should paint the upper cabinets first just as we did in the photo above. This way any drips that might happen won’t be on top of newly painted cabinets, any bumps from ladders won’t be on new cabinets, etc.

The Results

I’m  not going to show you how to paint as most people have that down pretty good. I’m just going to talk about the results. I’ve been painting for the better part of 25 years. I’ve painted countless cabinets, houses, furniture and everything in between. The key for any project is preparation and exceptional products. Rust-Oleum has packaged their Cabinet Tranformations Kits with everything you need to be successful.

The cabinets in this 25 year old kitchen now look new all over again. Buying new cabinets for a kitchen of this size would cost well over $20,000 with installation. For just a few hundred dollars this kitchen is now ready for another 25 years. Not only does it look great but the quality of the paint surface is excellent. The protective top coat gives it a factory finish appearance and it very durable.

With 70 different color/glaze options available you too can transform your kitchen in just one weekend. Whether you have wood, laminate or melamine cabinets this product will work. I’m 100% satisfied with the results that Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations gave us. I think the pictures speak for themselves and this is a product I’d recommend to everyone. For additional information please check out

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. shel says:

    What an amazing difference! I was just looking at this product online Friday and thinking about giving it a try for my own kitchen cabinets and I read you can also refinish laminate furniture with it.

    • Todd says:

      Shel – It is an amazing product. I’m a huge fan!!!

      • If you like Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformations, you are going to LOVE Stainable Primer. This is a new product that makes any surface (cabinets, MDF, PVC, thermofoil, metal, fiberglass and more) stainable.

        Unlike Rust-Oleum, Stainable Primer is a single step one-coat process with no special mixing or measuring. No sanding, stripping, deglazing or other special preparation. In addition, you can use ANY oil, water or gel stain (or paint) product on top of the primer.

        Stainable Primer contains actual wood, so when you brush or spray it on you are applying a thin layer of wood that can then be treated just like wood. That’s the magic.

        Beyond cabinets, Stainable Primer can be used for other great DIY projects, including outdoor PVC furniture, picture frames, planters, and more. You can see a gallery of before/after and project ideas at

        • Missy G says:

          Hi Amy, I am guessing that you likely work for Stainable Primer so I wanted to make a comment. I looked up the product (thank you for the link), however, it is insanely expensive. Almost $50 just for a quart & about $120 for a gallon is astronomical… AND the paint/stain and poly still would need to be purchased. If you do work for them, I would like to suggest the price be dropped drastically. It appears to be a great product, but it isn’t the only fish in the sea. The price for this is not justifiable no matter how you wrap it up. Thanks for sharing it tho’. It’s always cool to see what else is out there.

    • M. Williams says:

      It is HORRIBLE, and takes SO LONG.
      Unless you have space to do a lot of doors at a time, as well as a place to let them dry, you are going to be waiting days with each coat and application for each group of doors to dry. Note; in their video they do 1 or 2 doors, and an upper cabinet, now multiply that by your kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts and boxes and also keep in mind, when you’re doing the lowers boxes you will be on your knees, on a stool, on your rear, just bent over for hours and hours and days…now is when you realize it will take weeks. Once I started, I was committed; I couldn’t just stop, even though I REALLY WANTED TOO, but I had to just keep going. My kitchen, when I finally finished a month later, I initially thought looked better then when I started, but not at all uniform or even close to a “PROFESSIONAL” job even though I followed the instructions to the letter. Unfortunately there is evidence of a heavy, tired hand on my application on some of the doors compared to others, unless you have lots of stamina and don’t mind scrubbing, wiping, brushing and dabbing, bending, twisting and smelling terrible chemicals for HOURS AND HOURS AND DAYS AND WEEKS…. Now for the worst part, even though I followed the instructions meticulously it is not holding up and is chipping around the more heavily used areas of my kitchen.
      Before I took this on, I had gotten a estimates from some contractors for about $2000 to $3500 it sounded like a lot, but in hind sight, I now realize what a mistake I made by thinking I can do this for just a few hundred dollars and some elbow grease. BOY WAS I WRONG!
      I normally would not take the time to leave a review but I wish to save others my DISAPPOINTMENT I consider myself quite handy, but this was SO MUCH MORE than I imagined. I spent my time, energy and money on this Rustolium product and Transformed it into a bigger ugly problem. Just like you would not paint your car or perform surgery on yourself, this too, is something better left to a pro!

      • Todd Fratzel says:

        Painting cabinets regardless of the product is a ton of work! Hence why it costs so much money with a professional painter. I’ve used this product and it’s much easier than traditional standing, priming, and painting. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy task.

  2. Hello Todd –
    I recently came across your HCI site. Very comprehensive, indeed. Nice job. I took notice of that Rust-O-Leum product for kitchen cabinets. It looks convenient enough.

    I’m quite certain that if I show your article to my wife, it will get added to my ‘honey-do’ list. The ‘before’ picture looks a lot like our cabinets. It’s nice, but could use some brightening up.

    Thanks for the insight. I intend to check back from time to time to see what HCI is up to. :)

    Dave C from

  3. Larry Ryan says:

    Hi Todd,

    Can you use Rustoleumtransformation on pressed wood cabinets.
    Thanks Larry

  4. Mick says:

    Great Job Todd! What color did you go with? Also, did you brush the coats on? Thanks.

  5. Theresa says:

    Love this! We’ve been contemplating these kits for awhile now. Just out of curiosity, how many kits did you need to finish a kitchen of that size?

  6. Linda Demastes says:

    Hi Todd, sorry to bother you, i have been anxiously waiting to here back from you about the cabinet transformations.You said you used biscotti with no glaze. Is the color creamy looking? my cabinets are maple, with a frost. My cabinets have a pinkish hue to them, never liked. They are in great shape though, so replacing them is not an option.Do you see brush strokes? waiting to hear from you before i purchase this product. Thanks for your time.

    • Todd says:


      It’s a nice color although the color really depends on the lighting. I’d say it’s a creamy color with a VERY slight hint of green in it…but that may just be the room and lighting. The only way to get a smooth finish would be spraying the cabinets. However, the brush strokes are very faint.

      Good luck.

  7. Nicole C says:

    It looks great! Can you please tell me if you used the glaze (over the paint) that comes with the kit? thank you

  8. Ellen carpenter says:

    we are putting up new cabinets using oak ,do we prime them first ,we are looking to use your cream color kit ,,,Tks

  9. Craig says:

    Todd, I was thinking of redoing the fireplace with Rust-Oleaum.Will the heat affect the paint at all?

  10. Ruby says:


    I now have painted cabinets and I would like to know if this product would make them look stained, tired of the paint for sure

  11. Todd;
    I have red oak cabinets and I want to paint them to hide the grain. My question is; will this product hide to grain completely, somewhat or not at all?
    Also, just how durable is the top/finish coat? Ie. Will chipping or wearing through the finish become a problem?
    Additionally, I have stripped the existing cabinets and added new red oak cabinet(s). Will the appearance be identical on both the new as well as the existing cabinets?
    I thank you for your anticipated prompt reply for I am ready to start my cabinet make over project.

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Joe – First let me say the finish is excellent. I used this product several years ago on my dad’s cabinets and it still looks as good today as it did when he refinished them. Oak is tricky….the grain is deep…will it cover that? I’m not sure it will completely. Best advice would be doing the back of a door, if you’re going to paint them all anyway, try the inside of a door and see the results. The product itself if definitely very good. Good luck.

  12. Noreen says:

    I painted my pine cupboards a few years ago. could I use this product on the painted cupboards

  13. Cathy says:

    I was wondering I didn’t have my bond coat tinted before I left the store. Since I want to paint them white and I think I will do the glaze do I have to have it tinted?

  14. Amanda Schooley says:

    I have read a few reviews of this product that mention some wear issues around drawer pulls and cupboard handles but the reviewers were ok with that as they had left over product to do touch ups which you wouldn’t have with a contractor. Didn’t say me from wanting to use the product, start my project in 3 weeks and can’t wait for the transformation

  15. Eileen says:

    What color did your use on the cabinets? I love them!

  16. Sherry Dobson says:

    Just saw this product today at my fav “go to” store and am intere
    sted in trying it out. My cabinets are basically orangy oak and are 35 yrs old. I have a wooden floor throughout the main area and I think I will have a little play with colors if it doesn’t match. I am female and late 70’s and want to do this project myself. Had someone help me measure, but a bit skeptical that I can do this basically by myself although I am in good shape to do so. Should I consider having help, maybe with taking the doors off, etc. I was impressed by the advertising in the store, looks like I could handle it. What say??

  17. Sabrina Edwards says:

    Hello thank you for the article and all the wonderful input! So I had old oak cabinets which I painted. I love the glazed options, but can I go over my painted cabinets they have a slight satin sheen? I am afraid that if I try to scrub off the sheen, it’s going to be a nightmare, lol any advice you can give me other than I should not have painted them would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and input.

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