Don’t Ever Paint Your Cabinets

Let’s start with a little advice. If you get it into your head, like I did, that you want to paint your cabinets, here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t do it.
  2. See #1
Seriously, I’m not playing around… if there is any other option that is left unexplored, then explore it before you paint your cabinets. However, if painting your cabinets is your lifelong dream, then who am I to stand in the way? Maybe my experience will help you not make the same mistakes.
I saw a commercial and a few good reviews of Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformations kits. It boasts no sanding, no stripping and no priming. Plus, it comes will everything you need, so mid-way through my project I wouldn’t have to make another trip to Lowe’s.
My lazy self thought “oh perfect! a simple solution!” HA! My mother always calls me “a marketer’s dream,” which let’s face it… I am. I’m a sucker for an infomercial.

I proceed to measure my cabinets and based on the online tool, I estimated that I needed one 1 large kit and 1 small kit. In fact, that ended up being way too much. I didn’t even open the small kit and of course, they are non-refundable, so there’s $80 bucks wasted. Of course, I could still use it to refinish something else in my house. I probably will at some point when I forget what a horrible experience this was.

If I were to start the whole thing over, I would go with the way Stacy did it on her blog Not Just a Housewife. Unfortunately, I read her blog about 5 days after starting my process. 🙁 She spray painted the whole thing and it looks amazing. Follow her lead, not mine.

Step #1: Deglossing
This step is supposed to prepare the surface by cleaning and roughing it up a bit.

Tip #1: wear gloves!

Tip #2: Don’t let your gloves get holes in them.
Tip #3: Don’t plan to workout on the day you do this. This will tone your arms faster than any machine could.
Here’s me while deglossing:


But this is how I really felt:
All in all, this step took me about 4 hours over the coarse of two evenings.
Step #2: Bond Coat

The bond coat is a creative name for the special type of paint that bonds to the surface that your painting. It is also tinted to one of the many color options from the box. I had read in my reviews that you could actually have them tint it any color, but Lowe’s wouldn’t do that for me.

Tip #1: Paint 2 coats on the backs of cabinets and then 2 coast on the front, instead of flipping them over between each coat.
Tip #2: Use brush strokes in the direction of the wood grain. See page 9 in this users guide: Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Instructions
This step takes a long time. They suggest 2-3 hours to dry between each coat. Since I was doing this after work, that means I could only do one coat per day. Plus, you have to do 2 coats on the fronts and 2 coast on the backs of the doors, which is technically 4 days.
So many doors…
Step #3: Repainting
I painted all the trim in the family room and living room Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. So i choose the Linen cabinet color, figure it would be close enough. It wasn’t. Therefore:
After two coats of bond coat, I did a third coat of my linen white so that it matched my trim and everything else. Rustoleum definitely does not recommend this and I may not have as long of lasting results because of it. I’ll let you know in a couple of years.
This step took two days since I did a coat on the backs and a coat on the fronts and let them dry for 2-4 hours between.
#4: Protective Coat
This is where I really met with issues. This stuff is like water it’s so thin. It drips everywhere. Rustoleum suggests painting the backs and then the fronts, which is what I did. If I could do it over, I would do the protective coat on the backs, then hang the doors and then do the protective coat on the fronts.
This step took another 2 days. In the end, it took me 10 days of actual work, but I wasn’t able to paint for 10 days in a row, so it was really like 13 beginning to end.
  • I love the finished look.
  • The kit actually did have everything I needed other than paintbrushes.
  • Not everyone has the perfect set-up for a major project like this. They want the doors laid on in a non-ventilated, sun-less, dust-free space. I don’t have any rooms that fit that description… my garage was currently storage for boxes and covered in dust from sawing, so Plan B was the unfurnished sunroom. A sunroom is (as the name implies) not sun-less, but it was the closest I had. Very few people have a space like what they are asking for. It’s probably why I have dust on my finished doors and now have to do touch-ups to cover it up.
  • They advertise this as a weekend project, but it’s definitely not because of how many coats must go on the doors with 2 hours in between. I have this weird habit of sleeping at nights (even on the weekends).
  • The protective coat is very difficult to work with. It goes on cloudy but dries clear. However, if you allow a drip to dry on the surface, then the drip is slightly yellowish and not clear.

We also got a grease trap in the kitchen installed by Phoenix grease trap.

This was a little bit of a bummer of a blog. So I’ll end on the oh-so-happy note that I’m going on vacation tomorrow!!!
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