If you’re looking for advice on how to refinish bathroom cabinets easily, check out my Rust-Oleum cabinet transformations review! Although refinishing the bathroom tile proved tricky, modernizing the oak cabinetry was a cinch. Again I turned to the folks at Rust-Oleum, eager to try the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations System. The colour choices were a tiny bit limiting (I chose Castle, unglazed), but I was eager for an all-in-one, guaranteed-to-last product.
How to Use the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Kit
The Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit is straightforward and easy to use (with no sanding or priming!). After removing the doors fronts I cleaned the cabinet doors and bases thoroughly with the included Deglosser. This took a few hours because the Deglosser also needs to be wiped clean with a damp cloth and I tried to make sure I did a thorough job.
After the cabinets dried (1 hour), I applied three coats of the included paint (called a “Bond Coat”) with a 2″ angled brush. I applied the coats really thinly, starting with the backs of the cabinet doors, making sure I wasn’t dripping on to the other side. Each coat took 2-3 hours to dry so this project took a few days to complete, even though actually applying the Bond Coat was straight forward.
For the cabinet frames, I found that using a small artist’s brush (really love that thing for home DIYs) helped me skip the taping step and just get straight to painting. I just wiped any mistakes off with a damp cloth right away, but after practicing on these cabinets I now have quite the steady hand!
The instructions say two coats should do it but after two there were a couple of spots that needed a touch up. I had plenty of paint left so I just went ahead with a third coat. Because my doors are so ornate, it took some extra patience wiggling the paint in there but it was worth the time. I think a door with a smoother profile might not need the third coat.
After that, I skipped the optional Decorative Glaze (which is created to give the cabinets an antiqued look) and applied the included Protective Top Coat, formulated to work with the Bond Coat to provide maximum scratch and stain resistance. After it dried, while the doors were still on the floor waiting to be installed, my Mom noticed a few spots less shiny than others so, again, with tons pf product to spare, I applied a second coat but then there were new areas that were less shiny. We re-installed the doors anyway and once they were in place I couldn’t see any difference in sheen. But pay attention to the application of that top coat!
Definitely an improvement, here’s a reminder of the before:
Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations on Melamine
This system covered wood beautifully, but was a touch less cooperative with the melamine cabinet frames. For lack of a better word, it was “slippery” on melamine, sometimes refusing to adhere neatly so the first coat was really sheer and had poor coverage. Happily, it adhered to itself well and by the third coat it looked perfect. To double check, I painted the cabinet doors that are behind our firewood cubby (you can load the wood from the storage room behind the fireplace to avoid tracking gunk through the house). They are melamine and the white really popped after the fireplace was painted dark grey. I applied some leftover Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Bond Coat and although, again, the first coat was more sheer than when I applied it to wood, it adhered perfectly. And the doors only needed two coats, because they are so smooth and plain.
UPDATE: Check out the finished bathroom transformation by clicking here and see how everything held up, two years later, by clicking here.
UPDATE #2: I used Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations on my Mom’s melamine kitchen cabinets and it covered the bubbling and chipped melamine SO well – check out that budget-friendly kitchen makeover here.