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Color: Espresso|Change
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on December 26, 2012
First, please know that if you want good results, this is not a quickie project. Also, be realistic on what your expectations are- you are not getting brand new cabintry; you are repainting what you have . If you are covering up dark cabinets with white, this may require a bit more work. Let's face it, if you can no longer stand the look of your cabinets and are desperate enough to spend the time and money, anything is probably going to be an impovement over what you currently have.

I purchased the large kit to repaint my kitchen cabinets, as well as my master bath vanity. In total I had 33 doors of various sizes and 9 drawers (as well as the bases). I had nearly half of the kit left. You will want to use their measurement to ensure you purchase the correct kit.
While no special talent is needed to complete this project, one must have plenty of patience. I went into this knowing that it may take me several weeks to get this done. There is unpacking the cabinets; cleaning them (both the doors, bases, and also the inside of the cabinets); numbering them; I elected to lightly sand them (then had to wipe down to remove any dust); deglossed them; and finally taped off the bases. This took a total of 15 hours over the course of probably a week and I hadn't even touched a paint brush.
While the kit suggests you keep the cabinets empty while you paint, I loaded mine back up and painted with them full.
Drawers are pretty easy. Two coats of the bond coat and then the top coat. I did not do the decorative glaze as with the pure white it looked like the "pickeled wood" that I was so desperate to cover.
Doors are more time-consuming as they are two coats on each side, then a gloss coat on each side. The DVD recommended creating a drying area by nailing dry wall nails on a 2 x 4, which is a great way to go, if you have the materials. I read some reviews that said they used cans to sit the doors on; so this is the route I took. A caution- the cans left ring marks. This may be because I live in a humid climate. I ended up placing small pieces of card board over the cans to keep this from happenining.
As other reviewers have stated, you need to work quickly with the glaze, but pay attention to getting it on just right. After I hung my doors, I could see some areas that need to have touch-up work done.

Over all, it took me about 3 weeks (40 +/- hours) to complete the project. I am pleased with the end result.
There is no real special talent needed to do this. Just be patient and take your time. Prep work is essential for a good outcome. I am a single female and did this entire project on my own. I would strongly recommend a cordless screwdriver to remove your hinges and hardware.
In summary, for just a little bit of time and money, my kitchen looks refreshed and updated.
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on August 29, 2014
I love this kit. Let me rephrase that. I love the base coat and the glaze in this kit. I tried the deglossing liquid and gave up on it in about 5 minutes. It was not taking off the gloss as quickly as a sander would so then I sanded all my cabinets with a medium grit sandpaper and a sander. After removing the dust with a tack cloth I put the first base coat on. Went on like a charm. Didn't even need a second but I put a second one any way. The next day I put the glaze. I am not sure if it was worth it since the glaze doesn't really show on dark colored base but I lie to think it added some richness to it. After drying the glaze for 24 hours I put the top coat. This is the part where I was a little scared. There were a bunch of bad reviews on how hard this is. I followed a video I found by a guy on youtube and followed his instructions of putting the top coat with a brush and then going over it with a foam brush. Worked well but I had to be super careful about drips. Also whenever the top coat collects in nooks and crannies it dries white. I finally gave up on this and bought Deft water based polyurethane in clear satin. It was expensive but so worth it. It went on like a charm and the rest of the process was a breeze..
Overall, if you have patience to complete each step meticulously and let the paint dry well at every step, then this product is awesome. I only needed about 1/2 of one container of the base and there are 2. I will probably do the other bathrooms next but will skip the deglosser and top coat from the kit completely and use the Deft as a top coat. I had never done anything like this before but would use this again provided it wears well. You can take a look at the photos I've added for a better idea. of how it looks.
*UPDATE
It has been 7 months since I painted our cabinets. They are holding up very well. No fading or chipping so far and the color has stayed true.
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on July 10, 2013
Manage your expectations and prepare for a lot of work, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Overview:

My wife and I bought Rustoleum's white color cabinet transformations kit after seeing a great sale at Home Depot. I researched it and saw decent reviews, so I decided to take the risk. We had to buy high quality paint brushes and some other supplies. We had to give up a long weekend to work on it. In the end, we are happy with the results. As a matter of fact, for the last week, every time I walk into my kitchen, I smile because things look so much better. That said, there are some important things you will need to know before you make this purchase and spend your time and money on this kit.

Who should buy this?

The overall reviews for the kit are positive, but I have a feeling that most of the negative reviews have something in common: wrong expectations. If you have a beautiful kitchen, but you've been watching the latest episodes on HGTV about the new "it" color or style for kitchen cabinets, this is NOT for you. Seriously. You will likely ruin your perfectly fine cabinets and be very disappointed. Remember, you are PAINTING your cabinets. It is not going to look as pretty as cabinets from the factory or specially made just for you. Be honest here. If your friends and neighbors think your cabinets look fine and your cabinets look at least as good as theirs, don't buy this. It will not go well for you. That's my opinion at least.

Now if your cabinets make you want to punch yourself in the face every time you walk into the kitchen, but you cannot afford to punch yourself in the face because your budget is so tight, you might have found your perfect solution. Again, don't fool yourself. Actually, google "rustoleum cabinet transformations review" and click on the link for result that is from Squidoo. Look at that guy's before pictures and compare to your cabinets. If yours are in the range of ugly of his, then go for it. You will be happy with the results because you almost can't go wrong at this point.

Details:

The box comes with a nice DVD for instructions. Watch it several times and just before each new step. You think you know what you are doing, but you probably don't. They have good advice so follow it. You also have a deglosser in the kit. This is hands down the most difficult and work-intensive step of repainting your cabinets. It took my wife and I nearly 6 hours to complete this step together, and we only have 9 cabinet doors and two drawers. We actually read that the included deglosser wasn't that great, so we bought krud kleener's deglosser instead. I can't speak for the include deglosser since we didn't use it, but Krud Kleener was amazing. We followed that up with a brillo pad on a hand sander to rough up the surface of the cabinets even more. We should have taken more time to sand down bumps and other such stuff though because these showed up once we had finished, but it wasn't terrible.

We had darker stained wood (fake wood?) cabinets and doors and were changing them to white. Our kit had two quarts of paint. This was just enough for us. We had to do three coats of paint on each door because of the difference in color from dark to white. I also believe this is the main reason that our doors look painted. The wood grain had trouble showing through the three layers of paint. It seems that going to a darker color allows the wood grain to come through better. Like I said earlier. This is not a problem for us because our cabinets were bad enough that we were still happy. Take your time painting. Make sure the paint does not drip or pool up in corners. Otherwise you will have to sand them down later. Also, paint in as thin as coats as you possibly can. The thinner the coats, the more likely you'll be able to keep the wood grain showing. Each coat of paint took us about 1.5 hours to finish, and we had to give 2-3 hours in between for drying. It took about 9 hours of painting the bond coat altogether (remember you have to do one side of the doors 3x and then the other side 3x so it takes longer than you expect).

There is an option step to glaze your cabinets. Since we wanted pure white in our kitchen, we didn't bother since it makes the cabinets more antique looking in the white. I can't say much about it, but most of the online reviews and examples think it is a very important and much improving step. You'll have to trust them on that one.

Our last step was to put the protective coat of polyurethane on it. I was super nervous about this as many people said everything was fine up until this point. We scoured the nets to see what to do. Many suggested dropping money for a more expensive top coat. We decided to give the kit a try. It worked fine. I added two tablespoons of water to the top coat to give us more time to work with it. We worked as a team. I applied a generous layer of the top coat all along the surface of the door while my wife cleaned up excess and smoothed the finish out with 3in and 1 inch foam brushes. It took a long time and we had to do two coats instead of one since we wiped away a lot of the topcoat, but in the end, the finish was smooth and clean. It also helped remove the excess topcoat which will dry yellow if it pools on the white surface. I think it was a lot easier doing the topcoat on the white surface though, so if you are going dark, you may want to consider buying the better topcoat.

The end result is much better than what we started with. If you are more than 3-5 feet away, the cabinets look amazing. I mean, the look like Martha Stewart would be proud. Get within that range though, and you can see that it was painted. It's not horrible, but it's definitely not as perfect as the white cabinets you see in home goods stores.

Final thoughts:

We got the kit for half the cost you would pay normally. This made it a good deal. If I had been more knowledgeable about this stuffy beforehand, I think I would have bought the supplied separately. You end up with higher quality products (even if you still with Rustoleum branded paints) and it will be cheaper in the end. Still, not knowing any of this beforehand, the kit gave me the idea to paint the cabinets and the courage to try it. For that, it was well worth it.
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on April 8, 2014
We bought this kit and it took us almost a whole year to be brave enough to use it! Painting something you use every day seems like a daunting task, I'm just sad we didn't start doing it the moment we received this product! We had dark amber colored, solid oak cabinets. We used the Espresso colored kit. We read the enclosed instructions and they were very simple to follow. There is an enclosed DVD but we didn't even use it...I guess if you like the visual instruction approach or you are very unfamiliar with painting you should watch it.
The most time consuming and most difficult part of this kit is the Deglossing step. It took me 6 full hours to do our 15 cabinet doors and drawers and another 4 hours to do the actual cabinets. If you do this step well and are thorough you will have excellent results. I also washed all the cabinets, drawers, and doors with Dawn dish soap and water prior to using the deglosser from the kit. I think it made a huge difference since I've had no peeling paint, but it did add significant time to the project.
The base coat painting was a breeze. I was very sparing on how much base I used and I found that the wood grain showed up beautifully with this approach. I also had very few drips and pooling. If you've ever painted with enamel paint, you will think this step is very easy. If you are not a good painter or you refuse to take your time and minimize brush strokes, then this kit may not be for you. Buy a good synthetic brush for the base coat. It is worth it.
We choose not to do the decorative glazing coat. The instructions said that the darker your base coat color, the less the glazing coat will show up. After looking at some online before and after pics of this step, we choose to just skip it.
The final protectant top coat was more difficult to do than the base coat. Whatever you do, DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN prior to using it. The instructions specifically say to STIR the paint. Again, if you can follow instructions, you will have great results.

There is more than enough supplies to do your cabinets. We were generous in our measurements for ordering the small vs. large kit. We went with the large because we were just shy of meeting the small kit dimensions. I could have done two kitchens with all the stuff I have left. In fact, I'm going to do our bathroom vanity and an old china hutch because I love the results so much. I was concerned about odor and thought we may have to evacuate the kids from the house, but the odor was very minimal. We did the removable parts in our basement and couldn't smell it on the first floor. Very, very low odor. We also loved that it was water clean-up. Easy to get off brushes and hands.
My husband and I are very impressed with this product. I'd recommend it to anyone who's thinking about painting their cabinets or replacing them. Try this first. You won't be disappointed.

UPDATE:
After reading some of the low-rated reviews, I just had to add a few thoughts.

1) the protective top coat is hard to learn how to do on the first try. That's why you should follow the order of items to be painted as recommended by the booklet. I saw one reviewer who said to start on the front side of the cabinet doors-that's probably the worst advice I have seen. Do the backs first. If you don't get it perfect, no one will see it!!!

2) don't paint the top coat on thick. At all. Use an almost dry brush-as in, dip it in the top coat and wipe it off on the can lip-on both sides. You should have a barely blue-ish hue to the coat (for the espresso color) If its white or uneven, you are using too much. Think of it like nail polish. If you paint a coat on too thick it cakes, takes forever to dry, and chips easily. I said in my above review that if you weren't familiar painting with enamel paint, you really should find another product.

3) I saw some people recommend going over the brush strokes with a foam brush. I tried this on my first door. It works, but leaves you very little time to work with the coat. It does dry fast. If you use a good quality, angled, synthetic brush, you should not need a foam brush. I couldn't find anywhere in the book that recommends applying the top coat with a foam brush. Foam brushes are for STAIN. If you can see brush strokes, you are using too much!! I found an application process that worked great for me-it took me until door #4 out of 15 to get it down, but it may help some of the frustrated people out there. Start on the inside center panel and use a good amount of the top coat on your brush. Work from the center of the panel out toward the corners and sides-following the grain of the wood. This prevents build up in the crevices. It also allows you to not have to go back over brush strokes. After completing the center panel, follow the application process used to paint on the bond coat as described in the booklet. Use a very small amount if top coat on the remaining sides of the doors. I barely dipped the end of my brush into the can.

4) Look at the ratio of paint provided in the kit. In my large kit I had 2 cans of bond coat and 1 can of top coat. To me, that meant I should use half as much top coat than I used to paint the first two bond coats. Reviewers complained that there were drips they had to go back over and it was too watery. That means you are using too much!

5) one reviewer said that it looked like a do-it-yourself project and they weren't happy with the way it turned out. Again, with the math-you are using a kit that costs THOUSANDS of dollars less than new cabinets would. If you don't want the imperfections of brush strokes then you need to learn to paint with the grain of the wood, learn to use the paint properly, read directions, or have realistic expectations (or all of the above).
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on October 22, 2015
This product is a MIRACLE. I saved so much money and it was so easy to use!!
I will give some tips to people that has YELLOW OAK CABINETS like the ones I had:

1- Don't over do the deglosser. Yes this is a very important step but if you over do it and apply too much strength the chemical will open the pores of the wood so much and so big that it will be very hard to fill them with the paint. Just a little bit and it works fine.

2.- Please DON'T skip the glaze even if you are using espresso or a dark color like I did. I tried the glaze on a door then compared to another door that didn't have it after it was dry. WOW! it really makes the wood grain more noticeable. You cabinets will look better with the glaze so don't be lazy! just do the glaze (only in the outside tho). I didn't even use the rags, they were leaving white hairy residues on my doors. I just used a foam brush for this step.

3.- DON'T listen to people that are saying not to do the protective coat. WOW can't believe there are actually tips around telling you to just leave the cabinets without it. You won't be able to even wipe the cabinets, if you use a napkin to wipe them.. it will be a disaster since everything sticks to the "raw" paint. Your best friend for the protective coat will be water! Yes, Water! Use a semi-wet foam brush to retouch those white areas. This will make things easier.

I am posting a before and after of my kitchen, the staining part took me a week, just by myself working all day long.
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on July 21, 2014
Awesome product! I had a total of 32 doors and drawers to do so bought 2 of the 100 sq foot kits. I went with the KONA color and was starting with the 1970s golden oak. I researched this for months and read about 50 online reviews that provided great information! I setup my double garage with 3 tables as a work area. Watch the DVD and follow the steps perfectly. My project took 9 days and 60 hours total but its a big kitchen and I’m including every minute. Total cost $200 (vs $20,000 for new custom cabinets!) Here’s a few misc. tips from reviewers I found helpful
- If at anytime you feel tired and think you will skip a step – DON’T. This kit IS the shortcut
- Use a 500watt worklight to really brighten up the work area and it will help you see where you have covered and any area you may have missed
1. PREP: Mask walls/appliances/countertops well, number the doors and put the hardware for each door in a cup with the same number – very important – it will make re-installing the doors at the end very quick and easy. I used my double garage with 3 tables in it as my work area so was able to do 16 doors/drawers simultaneously. The DVD suggests screws through 2x4s to place the doors on – instead a reviewer suggested using 4 overturned plastic cups under each door which worked perfect. Watch the DVD several times!

2. DEGLOSSING: The kit comes with 2 scrub pads but I had to buy more as I ended up using 10-12. Be thorough. You will have lots of deglosser so use lots (I had almost 30% left over and I even deglossed everything twice). Scrub it good. This is the most important step! Wipe it and let it dry before starting with the bond (paint) coat. Let dry for 1 hour

3. BOND COAT: DVD gives good direction here but mostly its just good painting techniques. I used 2 inch brushes and again you will have lots of paint so don’t skimp. Let dry for 3 hours.
4. GLAZE: Some have suggested skipping this step but I disagree. Even though I was going to a dark color, it still really drew out the grain of the wood very nicely and this step does not take much time. Definitely use the glaze – some have suggested you won’t see a difference if you are using a dark color – they are wrong – it truly brings the grain to life. Remember you are only glazing the FRONTS which is why some reviewers may have run out. Brush on, wipe off with cheesecloth, let dry for 8 hours.
5. TOP COAT: If there was 1 theme from previous reviewers, it was the trickiness, mixed results, and frustration of working with the top coat in the kit. Many reviewers suggested not using this product at all and instead buying a Minwax Polyurethane (Satin) which is exactly what I did and it went on smooth, dried clear, and looked perfect! Watch for pooling in the corners. I did 3 coats with a 2 hour drying time between coats. No sanding required, it goes on smooth and dries smooth too! Looks awesome!

Awesome product! I had a total of 32 doors and drawers to do so bought 2 of the 100 sq foot kits. I went with the KONA color and was starting with the 1970s golden oak. I researched this for months and read about 50 online reviews that provided great information! I setup my double garage with 3 tables as a work area. Watch the DVD and follow the steps perfectly. My project took 9 days and 60 hours total but its a big kitchen and I’m including every minute. Total cost $200 (vs $20,000 for new custom cabinets!) Here’s a few misc. tips from reviewers I found helpful
- If at anytime you feel tired and think you will skip a step – DON’T. This kit IS the shortcut
- Use a 500watt worklight to really brighten up the work area and it will help you see where you have covered and any area you may have missed

1. PREP: Mask walls/appliances/countertops well, number the doors and put the hardware for each door in a cup with the same number – very important – it will make re-installing the doors at the end very quick and easy. I used my double garage with 3 tables in it as my work area so was able to do 16 doors/drawers simultaneously. The DVD suggests screws through 2x4s to place the doors on – instead a reviewer suggested using 4 overturned plastic cups under each door which worked perfect. Watch the DVD several times!

2. DEGLOSSING: The kit comes with 2 scrub pads but I had to buy more as I ended up using 10-12. Be thorough. You will have lots of deglosser so use lots (I had almost 30% left over and I even deglossed everything twice). Scrub it good. This is the most important step! Wipe it and let it dry before starting with the bond (paint) coat. Let dry for 1 hour

3. BOND COAT: DVD gives good direction here but mostly its just good painting techniques. I used 2 inch brushes and again you will have lots of paint so don’t skimp. Let dry for 3 hours.
GLAZE: Some have suggested skipping this step but I disagree. Even though I was going to a dark color, it still really drew out the grain of the wood very nicely and this step does not take much time. Definitely use the glaze – some have suggested you won’t see a difference if you are using a dark color – they are wrong – it truly brings the grain to life. Remember you are only glazing the FRONTS which is why some reviewers may have run out. Brush on, wipe off with cheesecloth, let dry for 8 hours.

4. TOP COAT: If there was 1 theme from previous reviewers, it was the trickiness, mixed results, and frustration of working with the top coat in the kit. Many reviewers suggested not using this product at all and instead buying a Minwax Polyurethane (Satin) which is exactly what I did and it went on smooth, dried clear, and looked perfect! Watch for pooling in the corners. I did 3 coats with a 2 hour drying time between coats. No sanding required, it goes on smooth and dries smooth too! Looks awesome!
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on June 14, 2015
I was a bit skeptical at first but I'm a believer now! I buy, renovate and rent houses and this product is now going to be my go-to money saver in the kitchen and bath. The product is easy to use and the results are spectacular. Make sure you follow the directions to the letter and you will not regret your purchase. Just look at the before and after pics!
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on March 22, 2013
I used the small cabinet Dark Transformation kit on my original gloss white kitchen island. (approx 3' x 8') My cabinet doors are paneled and there is a lot of detail on the island corners and back. I went with the store tinted Espresso color and used the glazing provided. I will say up front that since this is a brush on system you will have some brush marks in the finished product - if your expectations are a slick blemish-free finish you will be disappointed. You can only get that with a spray-on process.

That being said, my results were really good until the last step of the process, putting on the sealer. As many have mentioned this is the most difficult part of the job to get an even, brush-stoke and drip free, finish. As careful as I was, having read all the reviews on this step, I still had "white areas" where surplus sealer dried, and additional sealer accumulating on the back sides were I did not notice. Because of this I am rating this product 3 starts. Rust-oleum really needs to change the formulation or substitute a better sealer system than what is in the kit.
Some additional comments that may help:
- I used solo cups for staging painted cabinet fronts. You will need to either put cardboard on top of the cups or as I did, stick a 1" felt pad on the cup bottom and use this side to support the fronts. You will have cup rings on the cabinet if you don't do the above.
- For painting, rather than use the wood/nails platform, I purchased at Loews some plastic painting triangles which worked great.
- Be very observant about drips and fix as many as you can before applying the sealer, as it will magnify the imperfections.
- When wiping the glazing off, do not rub too hard on any edges as the base coat can be removed on these sharp transitions.
- I did two coats of sealer which resulted in a coating that looks like it will stand up well to kitchen use. For the second coat I added 2 TBL of water to the remaining sealer mix to help the sealer flow.
- As the instructions say, do not over brush the sealer, especially as it is drying (it dries very fast) as it will dry with brush marks.
- Buy the best brushes you can, it will reduce the brushed-on look.

Bottom line, I saved quite a bit of $$ using this approach and achieved the desired look I wanted for my kitchen island. However, if I had any cabinets at eye level I think I would have disappointed as there will be imperfections with the process that would be easier to see at eye level. If your expectations are kept reasonable, you will like the results.
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on March 29, 2014
Okay like everyone else I too had problems with the top coat. After my initial run there were nasty streaks everywhere. Next I tried what many have suggested and painted it on thick with paint brush and followed with a foam brush.....slightly less noticeable streaks. Finally after racking my brain and going through all the stages of loss (anger, depression, denial etc) I figured it out and it was pretty simple. Skip the paint brush....that's it. Well not entirely. First buy a better poly, I went with Deft Water Based in the satin finish. Next mix with two table spoons water to give you more working time. Apply in long overlapping strokes with correct sized foam brush and remove/spread any drips with smaller foam brush as needed and in a timely manner. Don't freak out when the first coat doesn't look so hot, it gets better with each coat and you will need multiple coats. I did 3 to 4. Turned out great, the poly is like glass. Smooth, no streaks and cleans well. That was it! Yeah it was time consuming doing all those coats but each one got easier and looked better than the last. I don't know this worked for me and I was extremely happy how it turned out. It might make the kit somewhat irrelevant and that's why I dropped it a star but after all the work it was definitely worth it!
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on October 6, 2015
Great product! Transformed our builder oak cabinets to something more modern and pleasing. The kit came with 2 qt cans of color coat and I only used one full can and an eighth of the other, so there's plenty left over.

Few tips:
- use high end brushes so no brush strokes are seen (I used a brand new medium soft Purdy brush for every color coat)
- DO NOT use the supplied Rustoleum top coat as it dries too quickly and gums up your work and your brushes. I bought Minwax polycrylic semi-gloss and used that as my top coat and applied it with a soft Wooster brush. No brush strokes were left behind using this method.
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