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Review of Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations and Cabinet Refinishing Products

Refinish Your Kitchen Cabinets With One Easy Product

If I were to ask you, "Are you proud of your kitchen?" I would venture to guess that most of you would respond, "No." Considering that the average age of the American home in 35 years, many of you have may inherited an old kitchen with laminate floor tile and countertops or dingy, dated cabinetry that doesn't look exactly as you'd wish.

With home prices down 30 to 50 percent, most consumers are only buying what we need and can afford, but unfortunately, a kitchen renovation is not the most budget-friendly of expenses. The cost to replace your cabinets and countertops stands somewhere between $4,000 and $20,000, depending on whether you purchase stock supplies or have a custom kitchen built. To reface your cabinets, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $6,000. And painting your cabinets will cost you around $200, but as anyone who has tried this will tell you, the paint will inevitably peel if you don't strip, sand, and prime beforehand — a lengthy process.

So what's the alternative? Luckily there's a new product on the market for refinishing wood, melamine, laminate, and a number of cabinet surfaces that doesn't require sanding, stripping, or priming! Better yet, it'll cost you as little as $80. Find out what it is when you read more!

Last month, I was invited to New Orleans by Rust-Oleum to learn about their new products Cabinet Transformations and Countertop Transformations (more on the latter later). I was able to try the product hands-on myself, so I really got a chance to see how it works and how easy it is to use. I thought I'd take you through all of the steps so you can get a feel for what's entailed.

What do you need?

Nearly everything you need to transform your cabinets is included in the kit aside from some household supplies like drop cloths, brushes, painter's tape, rags, and gloves. The kit contents include an instructional pamphlet and DVD, a deglosser, bond coat, decorative glaze, protective top coat, decorative glazing cloths, scrub pads, and stir sticks.

How it works:

Before you begin, remove all of the doors to your cabinets, and keep track of which hardware goes where to save you time and a headache when you're finished. Line up all of the cabinets in a Ford-style factory line, so you can apply each step to all of them before moving onto the next. Put on a pair of disposable gloves.


The first step is apply the deglosser to the surface using a scrub pad. It only takes a couple minutes per cabinet door.

Next up, wipe off the deglosser using a rag.

Using a paint brush, apply the bond coat to the inset and edges of your cabinets if you have them.

Then, apply the bond coat to the whole cabinet panel. This coat is available in 24 different colors in the dark kit and 11 different colors in the light kit, and it can even be tinted to match a specific paint color you have in mind. The color also will not fade and the coat resists scratching and chipping, so it is much, much more durable than regular paint! This is one of the major advantages if you are considering just painting instead.

Next up, you have an optional step of applying a decorative glaze, which gives it an antique or patina-ed look by enhancing the wood grain. You can apply as much or as little as you want — in just the corners or to the whole surface.

The decorative glaze stays wet and open longer, so once you apply it, you can wipe off excess with a rag, or remove and add more as you wish. You'll want to use the first glazed door as a guide for all of the rest so that they look the same.

For the last step, apply the protective top coat with a paint brush to seal it! This coat is stain- and scratch-resistant, tack-free (so it won't be sticky), nonyellowing, and has a satin finish. The brand hopes to offer other finishes like matte and high-gloss in the future. The coat also handles tough household cleaners.

What's good to know:

  • You can take your cabinets from currently dark to light or from light to dark, whatever you want! And you don't need to prime them.
  • Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations is available in two sizes: Small ($80), which is ideal for 100-square-foot kitchens, and Large ($150), which is ideal for 200-square-foot kitchens.
  • To refinish all of your kitchen cabinetry, the steps will probably take longer than a weekend to complete. But compared to the alternatives, like stripping or having your whole kitchen renovated, there is much less downtime, and it's not so much of an invasion, as you can do this in your garage.
  • You can even use the product on interior moldings, furniture, and other wood, melamine, or laminate furnishings. If you're looking to paint an old table or chest, this will protect your pieces from dings and scratches much better than paint would.
  • One drawback is that there are currently no physical color samples that you can take home with you. So I'd recommended bringing swatches of your interior wall paint into the shop to compare or have your base coat tinted to the exact shade that you want.
  • There's also a satisfaction guarantee. So if when you've finished and you're unhappy with the outcome, you'll get a full refund.
  • You can learn more details, see before and after photos, and virtually visualize your makeover on Rust-Oleum's Cabinet Transformations website.
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