Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Review: One Year Later

Last week Matt reminded me that it had been a year since we had refinished our kitchen cabinets with the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit. (See our review and before and after photos.) Two thoughts went through my head: one, it’s held up well and looks good; and two, I’m glad I don’t have to do a large project like that for a while!

I thought I would update my review for those considering the product. It’s turned into one of our most popular posts to date and I’m glad people have found it to be an honest and comprehensive review. (I’m not comped in any way for this or past review. I was interested in the product and wanted to share my experience for other people to decide for themselves if it was something they wanted to do.)

Before and after -- you still see the wood grain.

In all, we are pleased with the final product. The color hasn’t faded, the top coat seems to have stayed true, and we get compliments on it all the time. Unlike the cabinets I have refinished with traditional paint, they don’t stick. The only sign of wear is on the edge of our cutting board (see below), but we expected it since we use and scrub that area almost daily. When closed, you don’t see any of the wear.

Previously we had no hardware on our cabinets, but adding them has updated the cabinets as well as (I believe) preserved the finish since our messy hands don’t come in contact with the finish. For the money spent, it really did bring a cost-effective update to our home.

The question is, would I do it again? The answer is probably not. If I were doing light colored cabinets and I wanted a glaze, I would be more likely to consider it. I also would likely skip removing the doors and paint carefully, since I’ve read that others have had success in this and it would cut down on total project time.

Does my reluctance to use this product again mean this kit is bad? No. The quality is good, but there seems to be a perception that it is some magic non-paint product or has some special chemical composition. It’s just your standard deglosser, paint, glaze and topcoat, with stir sticks, cloths, etc. For me, I feel comfortable in the paint department and the hardware store in general, so I would rather have more control over the amount of each item we bought. For someone else who doesn’t feel comfortable, this kit would probably come in handy. I imagine the cost could have been lower for us mostly since we didn’t use the glaze, stir sticks are free and we found the cloths (used for glazing) to be low quality (linty).

I’m curious to know your experiences with the product or with painting your kitchen cabinets. What did you think? Would you do it again?

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47 thoughts on “Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Review: One Year Later

  1. 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. Yes, it is magical.

    Unlike Rust-Oleum, Stainable Primer is a single step one-coat process with no special mixing or measuring. No sanding, stripping, deglazing or other 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 learn more at

  2. Hi, I have been reading through all of the comments and am still unsure. My cabinets are an oak color and I want them to be black. what product do you think would work best for me? Is paint a terrible choice? PLEASE HELP! I am trying to make as many updates as possible with a small amount of money. lol

  3. To avoid removing the existing finish while making sure your new finish bonds, use Stainable Primer ( Simply clean off any grease/grime and apply the Stainable Primer as a base. After an hour or so, you can apply any paint or stain of your choice. This assumes your oak cabinets are not peeling.

  4. I recently used the cabinet transformations and am very happy with how it turned out (not so much about the 3 days it took)! But once I put the doors back up, I noticed one has a top coat issue. I can’t tell if it’s not enough or too much, but there’s a white streak. It’s right by the window and catches a ton of light making it stand out more. Any tips on how to correct it?

  5. You can correct any mistake by putting one coat of Stainable Primer (TM) over the streaked finished. You do not have to sand off of the existing finish or go through 3 days of steps. Simply brush on the primer, wait 1-4 hours (depending on humidity) and put your final finish back on. The primer leaves a thin layer of actual wood on your cabinet that you can then finish as you like to match the rest of the cabinets. You should experiment with color on scrap wood to make sure you are happy with the result.

  6. This is my second kitchen painting cabinets. The first I did the traditional way~sanding, prime coat, then paint. This time I used the Rust-Oluem kit. I absolutely love it. It’s so much easier. My bottom cabinets I painted dark. My top cabinets I’m in the process of painting white. They are taking three coats. Where the dark only took two. Make sure you do the protective coat. It makes it look so finished. I would highly recommend this product!

  7. Next time you may want to consider using Stainable Primerâ„¢. I just used it to take a white cabinet to an stylish gray stain. I put one coat of Stainable Primerâ„¢ right on top of the existing white cabinet (no sanding), then wiped on one coat of gray stain. The nice part is once they are primed, I can use any stain or paint product on top!

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