My Kitchen Failure and Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

UPDATE:   Rustoleum refunded me my money for the kit and I sanded down the areas that were peeling off, primed and painted over the peeled areas as well as all the top cabinets that were already painted with Rustoleum again with the Ace Cabinet, Trim & Door Paint.  The lower cabinets I primed and then painted with the Ace paint in Desert Twilight, no sanding, just washing them down well beforehand.  The cabinets are holding up really well, no chipping or streaking or peeling.  You can see a photo of my kitchen since I’ve painted it with the Ace Paint.

 I am familiar with painting oak and cabinets for those of you who maybe questioning my painting experience or accusing me of bad prep, etc.   I painted our bathroom vanity ,  our oak trim and mantel and of course our kitchen which has turned out beautifully with the Ace Cabinet Paint.  All of the items I have painted are holding up well to 4 kids and 2 dogs in a busy house.  Thank you to all of you who have had the same problems, it appears that the light kits are causing some problems for people but the dark kits are doing well for everyone.   Not everyone is having a bad experience with the light kits, some of you have used the kits and they’ve turned out great and I”m very happy for you.  You can read below my original post about the problems I experienced with the Rustoleum Kit.

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A few weeks ago I posted my kitchen plans, paint the top cabinets white and the bottom cabinets gray.  I purchased two Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kits a few months ago and couldn’t wait to get started.

I watched the DVD, removed all my cabinet doors, hardware and hinges, labeled all the doors and corresponding hardware in baggies, filled in the holes where my hardware was located and then sanded the filler down.   I washed and scrubbed my cabinets and frames with soap and water.  I then deglossed them vigorously, scrubbing until my hands ached and would lock up, making sure I did this step correctly as it is the most important step in the process so that your paint “bonds” to the wood.  I wiped them down with the lint free cloths I purchased just for this project.  I dried them and did everything exactly as it was laid out in the directions.

Next was setting up a spot for the cabinet doors to rest on while they were being painted.

I painted the first coat of bond paint on with my Purdy brush that I love and have used on my trim and doors with great results.  The first coat went on ok and I figured after another coat it would look better.

 

 

The kit says you only need two coats of the bond coat but I wasn’t loving the look so I thought I’d do three.  While three was better it still wasn’t the look I was going for.  The paint looks streaky and not uniform.  After reading online a bit more, it seems that this happens with the lighter kits and that is why the glaze is recommended, to hide the inconsistency of the paint.

It’s hard to see on the computer screen but I did have a friend come over today and she confirmed that the cabinets definitely are streaky looking and I’m not crazy.  Ok well she didn’t say I wasn’t crazy, just the cabinets are for sure streaky looking and need more paint.

 

 

If the streaking wasn’t fun enough, I then discovered that the bond coat apparently hasn’t bonded properly as I could very easily peel off the paint from the cabinet.

 

 

Now I”m not sure where to go with the cabinets from here.  Do I need to sand them all down and start over?  If I do I will definitely be following the Young House Love tutorial and using my beloved Benjamin Moore paint.

Can I just paint over the bond coat with maybe my Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint?  This could work but now that the bond coat is peeling off I am worried I’ll just be putting a bandage over a really big gaping wound that will soon burst it’s infection all over in my kitchen.

I’m going to wait a few days and see if the bond coat “cures” and if it doesn’t then I will be sanding them all down and starting over.   The next few days are going to be busy around here, Our daughter E is having her birthday party on Saturday and then we are having our friends that are pretty much our family sleep over Sunday night.   Oh yes, and we are going to try and get the pool up and filled this weekend too.

We leave in a few weeks for the Blogging Conference and our first big family vacation and I’d love to have the cabinets done before we leave but I’m not sure if that is even a realistic goal at this point.   Sorry for the downer post, I know a few of you have already purchased your RustoleumCabinet Transformation kits, maybe you’ll have better luck than I did.  I am still waiting to hear back from Rustoleum on this and they are 100% satisfaction guranteed, which is nice.   After talking with a few people it seems that the darker kits work well and maybe it’s the lighter kits when you don’t use the glaze that are not working out so well.
Have you used Cabinet Transformations?  Did you like it?  Have you painted your cabinets the old fashioned way?  I’m curious to hear about your experiences!

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Comments

    • Patty Clark says

      I will let u know how it goes my cabinets are white and i am getting ready to start mine with this kit but i am doing the darker kit a cocoa color i hope it turns out sorry urs didnt work hope u get it figured out

  1. says

    Oh MY…I would contact the company and let them know what happened. I can see the streaks clearly on my screen. Oh what a shame, so much hard work. I am thinking you may have to sand them all down and start from scratch. Not sure though I never did a project like this.

  2. says

    Hang in there, Ange. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a big project and feeling disappointed. It’ll turn out great in the end though!

  3. says

    How frustrating! Good luck…and if they don’t get done before your trip, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t make yourself crazy with this project :)

  4. Tammy says

    Just refinished my cabinets with a kit and they’re great…..but I did use the chocolate (dark) color. Hope it works out for you.

    • Brian says

      I am in the middle of refinishing my bathroom vanities with the chocolate dark color. When you are finished (after the protective top coat)are the cabinets supposed to be shiny like they were before I started? Is the top coat supposed to be like a polyurethane?

  5. says

    oh no!

    i feel your frustration
    and am so bummed this paint
    isn’t working for you

    fingers crossed
    that the paint will cure
    and you won’t have to sand everything
    and start over

    alison

  6. says

    Ugh!! I feel your frustration. If you have to sand it all over, I’m sure the end product will be amazing. Good luck.

  7. says

    Oh girl – so sorry to hear this isn’t going so smoothly!!!!! Sooo frustrating.
    The sanding, priming, painting method has worked for me; I hope there’s a solution that isn’t laborious and you can bang it out before the conference!!! Wish I could come over and help you!!!

  8. says

    Major bummer! Hopefully you won’t have to sand everything down, but if you do, I’m sure the end result will be worth it. Why isn’t anything ever easy????

  9. says

    You know all about my experience with it. I’m so bummed that the bond coat is peeling! Otherwise, I’d tell you to slap a new coat on there of regular paint and move on. I seriously seriously feel your pain, but on a different note, I can’t wait to meet you have Haven!

  10. Sarah C says

    I’m thinking a few more days are gonna give you some more “stick”. However, you do still need an extra coat to get the look you want. You may just go back to a paint you trust at this point and just paint right over what you have. I painted my island cabinets which are made out of a laminate type material and I lightly sanded them, primed them and painted them with latex paint. At first they scratched and I was bummed but after a week or so they didn’t. So there is still hope for you!!

  11. says

    Ange, this is such a bummer….I painted my cabinets over a yr. ago, using kiltz and then a behr cabinet paint…..I have not had any problems….I have had very minor scratches and maybe will need to sand some and reapply paint…..but that is one yr. later with a family of 6 in a very busy kitchen…..your problem makes me sad for you….thanks for the suggestion of YHL’s tutorial! Hang in there! Fyi, I would sand them back down and start over……as far as the party goes don’t worry and don’t hurry the process, your guests will understand… I would give myself some time to figure it out, sending you DIY hugs!

  12. says

    Aw, man!! That sucks. I’m so sorry. I’d be so mad. I know you put so much work into this. And, it had such great potential. Do you like the idea of white in there still? Have you considered just doing ASCP? I mean, it doesn’t need primer. haha! Stupid kit. I think you may have to sand them… no fun!!

  13. says

    How frustrating!! It’s the worst when you spend so much time doing something and then it doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. :/ At least it sounds like you can get your money back, or something!

  14. Heidi says

    We just did the same thing this weekend. Same colors as you… With same results. Not sure what to do at this point…

  15. says

    Ange! Oh my goodness, girl! I so need to call you! I need to stress again how much I LOVE Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. YOU DON’T HAVE TO STRIP, DEGLOSS, SAND OR ANYTHING OF THE SORT before using her paint. {I wish I would have reminded you of her paint again before you did this.} Bless your heart…I am so sorry the kits you bought streaked and you don’t like it after all that work. UGH! My heart is so sad for you. And then you spent the time to write on here about it. You are a Saint! ;) Guess it’s good to keep it real, but I am just frustrated for you. I’m going to call you. HUGS!

  16. says

    Thanks so much for dropping me a note!!! You are so sweet! I’ve missed your blog and escapades. I’ve had a bit of blogger burn out, but I will be back.
    Suckidy sucks about your kitchen cabinets!!!! I painted my oak cabinets about THIRTEEN years ago using Behr white primer (1coat) (I didn’t sand or wash a speck) and then 2 coats of a Behr satin enamel paint in a light grey-green color. I had no streaking, or peeling at all! Has held up fabulously well. I only just recently had to touch up a few places around the knobs of the most abused cabinet doors.
    You’re the BOSS of painting, I’m surprised you went with some “kit” telling you what to do!?! Get rid of the fancy stuff and return to your roots. :)
    I love your color choices, it’s going to look fantastic. Thanks, though, for often being the guinea pig and steering us away from the losers!!
    XX, Tina

  17. Dawn says

    I used the light kits as well (Pure White) and had problems as well. First of all, the color was not at all the color pictured on the box and website. It was a brilliant white. Then the cabinets needed about 3-4 coats of paint to cover them and it was very streaky. Looked awful! My husband contacted them and said we weren’t satisfied. Thankfully, they are going to be refunding us our money. Although we will still lose some money for the items that were required in addition to the kit.

  18. darlene says

    I used the coco on my cabinets, just finished the top ones and they look absolutely beautiful. It might be the light color, so I am glad to know that for the future. Good luck.

  19. mary says

    Sorry that happened. My husband and I took on the project of kitchen cabinets using this product. We are totally thrilled with the outcome, and no, there was no streaking of any kind, I only did two coats, which was more than enough and used the glaze, but didn’t have to, just wanted that look. The only things that could have gone wrong would be: the temperature, the kit was old, or the application wasn’t done properly, I meaning, the instructions weren’t followed correctly. I’m getting rave comments about my kitchen cabinetry, people cannot believe that we did it ourselves. Getting ready to now do our bathroom cabinets with the same product. Good luck with your future endeavors!!!!

  20. Diane says

    I’ve been looking to buy a house in a neighborhood built in the 60’s. The original cabinets that came standard with the houses are gorgeous. I found a house that I like, but I can tell that the cabinets were painted over with rustoleum. What a tragedy. That house is off my list and that is something for homeowners to think about. My own cabinets were absolutely horrible and I just painted them with kitchen and bath semi gloss white and they lasted for years and years.

  21. donna says

    anytime you add that many layers of paint it usually peels off. I just completed a large kitchen remodel for a client using the Transformation kit and it looks fantastic. I simply followed the directions.

  22. Claire says

    I used the light kit on my cabinets. And although the color was whiter than expected, results were perfect. When cleaning the cabinets with the de-glosser we were extremely thorough. It was the longest step in the process. We love our results, and have had no streaks or peeling.
    We also used the espresso finish in our bathrooms, and plan on using the rustoleum again as we love it so much!
    What did you end up doing?

  23. jenn says

    Have you ever used annie sloan chalk paint? it’s a little pricey but you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price. I had a friend do her bathroo cabinets with it and was amazing! There is no prep…no sanding or priming. its pretty fool proof.

  24. Brent says

    It looks like there is an issue with the prep. Since it is spotty (the paint pealing) this indicates that the prep order was changes or some spots where missed. Very important to wash with TSP BEFORE any sanding. If you live in a home that has smokers, cook with grease etc you should clean 2 to 3 times with fresh tsp. If you do not clean first, you are sanding the oils and dirt into the surface. When the paint dries these areas will not adhere. Think of paint like a mild glue. I would personally grab a orbit sander with 80 grit, sand those that did not adhere and re apply.

  25. jessica says

    My husband is a painter and we watched the dvd and did all the steps.we used a dark color (gun stock) and after we tried it he can his nail gentle down the wood and the paint peeled right up.We talked to the people at home depot and he said they tried the kit also and it was trash.He said to use BEHR paint or Behr stain.He said we would not have any problems if we used that product.

  26. Jamie says

    Why not use a roller for the cabinets and or a sprayer for the cabinet doors? That would probably eliminate much if not all of the streaking which seems to be coming from the brush. I have never used this particular product so don’t know if that’s ok with the manufacturer.

    Or is it possible to use a sponge/ foam type brush to eliminate that streaking? Seems that a company shouldn’t sell a product that they know will produce results that are poor. Just sell the darker colors if that’s possible.

  27. Gloria says

    Glad I read all these negative comments
    Was thinking about the linen color which is close to white
    Also thinking of their countertops. I’ll pass

  28. Darral says

    I had excellent luck with this kit…
    Light blue for my son’s bathroom.

    I did use a palm sander and skipped the “de-glossing step” I didn’t sand to bare wood but I did sand enough to remove about half the original finish.

    Used an 80 grit and then a 200 grit… probably took less time than the de-glossing step.

    I achieved excellent bond and a finish stronger than the original.

    Experience: Built and painted custom cabinets in another life. (about 20 years ago).

  29. Maria says

    I can only think that maybe you didn’t allow the true drying times in every stage. I’ve used this product on both my bathroom vanity as well as my kitchen cabinets. I used the dark kit for the vanity and the light kit for the kitchen. Have to say in both cases I didn’t have any of the issues you’ve had. The process took an extremely long time as I allowed every single stage of the project to dry not a second less than instructed. I’ve had absolutely wonderful results with the product. Am now planning to do the vanity in my second bathroom.

  30. Ben says

    I got this kit in quilter’s white and had the same issue. After a few sections took 4 coats to cover, I bought a simple white latex primer to apply under the bond coat. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint and it looks very uniform. I realize that I still didn’t get ahead as I still needed, four coats, but buying primer is a lot better than running out of bond coat and needing another kit.

  31. TJ says

    Hmmm. It worked for us. Darker shade. You’ll want to go thru the steps again, but less aggressive on Step 1. I waited overnight between coats, and applied Step 4 in thin layers to minimize streaks. Good luck.

  32. Luna says

    Sorry to hear about your experience. We had a similar experience after painting 1/5th of our kitchen cabinets using the “Winter Fog” color with glaze (one of the lighter shades)-
    * The glaze is very prominent and easy to get inconsistent between the various cabinets
    * The final effect made the cabinets look more older (like in a cottage – not what I was targeting for)
    * As you said, the bond coat can easily peel
    * The glaze is very dilute, and it may spread and accumulate on the sides of the door to make it look more inconsistent and dirty

    All this after few days on this project (too much waiting time between coats)-
    We are thinking what to do with the rest of the kitchen. Maybe a darker shade or get new doors:(

  33. Nina says

    I tried the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations this past weekend and the project was a disaster. First of all, it was VERY time consuming and secondly the top coat was a HUGE disappointment. I painted my cabinets with the Espresso color and at the beginning turned out reasonable. However, some parts of the cabinet did not want to take the bond coat easily so therefore, there was a lot of touching up that was required after a day of allowing the bond coat to dry which took up more of my time. Lastly, when it came to the top coat, I noticed that there were bubbles that formed on my cabinet doors and drawers. I took it inside the house to see if it was noticeable and under my kitchen light it was definitely noticeable. In conclusion, I would not recommend this product to anyone unless you are really familiar with these types of products and has a lot of time. If I would have known, I would have just hired someone to do the job. Now I am finding myself searching for someone professional to complete the job. I have contacted RustOleum for a refund. Let’s see how that goes.

  34. says

    I see that your original cabinets were a stained finish. If they were an oil/solvent based stain which is very likely then there may have been a potential compatability issue with the original finish and the latex and acrylic ingredients in the Rustoleum product. Generally those are water based formulas. The deglosser in theory should have created a surface to bond the paint to the old finish. I was potentially going to use this product as an easy out for some cabinets I am working on. After seeing your issues I will use a technique that I know will work. I will scuff all previously stained surfaces of the cabinets with 220 grit sandpaper then wipe down with a tack cloth to create a good bonding surface. Then I will spray the surface with Minwax Polycrylic satin clear coat which will bond to either oil/solvent based or water based finishes. Then this new surface I know will accept a latex or acrylic based paint which I will then spray onto the cabinets. Finally I will spray a clear coat of The satin poly as the protective coat.i

  35. Taryn says

    Wow – so glad I read all these comments. I was planning on redoing my kitchen with the RustOleum Cabinet Transformations next weekend but now I think I’ll opt for the tried & true Behr.

  36. Luke says

    My wife and I just threw away three days of our lives on this project and are very disappointed. Pure white with glaze. It was going pretty well until the glaze turned everything orange…no matter how much we wiped our “pure white” cabinets looked like they had just taken a bath in hot sauce. We’re bummed and don’t have it in us to try again. I would highly not recommend this product and hope to receive the money back guarantee.

  37. Dawn says

    Just finished doing the cabinets of both our bathrooms with the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations. We couldn’t be happier. We used the expresso color–so it was very dark–at first we were afraid it was too dark. Not sure what the problem was, seems like you were much more diligent about the prep work than we were. Hope you got it figured out. I wish the countertop kits weren’t quite so expensive, I’d love to do my kitchen too.

    • Kasey dupree says

      I am doing my cabinets in the espresso too and so far do good how are yours holding up? Does it scratch off easily?

  38. Lori says

    Wow – what a nightmare this past weekend has been. Started prep work for my Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation on Friday night. I was up until 2 am both Saturday and Sunday nights – painting & waiting for doors to dry. I have worked on them for 3 full days. The deglossing was time consuming but went fairly well. The 2 bond coats went on fine. (I chose black for the color and put it over medium color wood cabinets) I skipped the optional glazing step as it didn’t seem to do much on the darker color cabinets. The top coat was my nightmare!! It goes on milky white and is very thin. You must catch every drip or it dries white which shows up terribly on the black. It says to put the top coat on lightly. Do not generously apply. It dries quickly and it says that you can’t brush over any areas again if it starts to dry at all. It tells you that you can touch up any areas that you missed after it dries. I trusted these directions completely. I went back after they were dry and touched up some of the missed spots that weren’t shiny. I can see every single spot that I have touched up. My cabinets look awful!!! I was so frustrated last night and didn’t know what to do. This morning I got up at 5 am so I could start back over with the bond coat on some of the worst doors. I figured I can’t make them any worse than they already are. I was able to get a top coat on these doors before work. I could already see that there are spots that didn’t cover right again with the top coat! And I know I can’t go over these areas again without showing every spot. It is so frustrating. I worked so hard this weekend and I am very, very disappointed with the outcome. I am extremely careful, watched the video and read all directions and followed them completely. My cabinets look like a sloppy, careless person completed this project. I was so looking forward to showing them off and now I don’t want anyone to see them before I can fix them – which I don’t even know yet how I will do. Wish I started this project with some primer and a gallon of black paint!

  39. janice says

    Did you put on the top coat? I think that is what cures the base coat. If you did not do this step I think that is a problem.

  40. Karil Gierum says

    My husband and I did our kitchen cabinets with a dark red cabinet transformations from Rustoleum last year. They turned out fantastic but it was a very time consuming process! We did not skip a step and waited plenty of time between steps. I really worked hard on that deglosser!! This past Monday I did my nieces bathromm cabinets in ASCP in Old white, and halfway through i was very worried. the white did not cover well and looked very streaky. I had to do a lot of sanding and i had to use the dark wax mixed with the clear wax to make it look good. I sanded and “shabby chic’d” them too. They are very happy with them, but I don’t know what to do on the kitchen now (same cabinets). it seems that the lighter colors give off the streaky look. I was even thinking of trying the cabinet transformations on her kitchen but now I am not sure. What did you ever end up doing?

  41. says

    I ♥ the Ace Cabinet paint in adobe– it’s held up really well on our ugly oak cabinets for two years now. Glad they refunded your money, what a disaster! What shade of Ace cabinet paint did you use?

  42. DIANE says

    Thank you all for your comments and information. My girl friend and I were going to use the Rustoluem product but now its too scary.

  43. Debra says

    I have used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations with great success. Three years ago I stripped, sanded, stained, and polyeurothaned my hand crafted designer cabinets to a Red Mohagany color instead of the tacky oak color that were on them. I always wanted to go very light to brighten my kitchen so when I saw Cabinet Transformations I jumped on the bandwagon thanks to a Lowe’s representative that had used it. I kept asking the Lowe’s rep over and over “Are you SURE I don’t have to sand and strip??? So, after being reassured several times, I used the “Pure White” and applied the glaze that was supplied in the kit. I followed all of the directions as states and they have turned out BEAUTIFUL!! I was surprised since the polyeurethane was applied during the prior remodel three years ago!

    I am not sure why you had a peeling problem but wanted others to know that it is a great product, in my opinion!

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