I’ll do another post on the entire kitchen, but the painting is enough to necessitate its own post. I’ve hated my 90s kitchen cabinets the camouflage with the hardwood floor for quite some time. The prior owners added the peninsula and replaced the countertops with granite, but they left the early 90s cabinets. I didn’t want to spend the money on getting completely new cabinets. I looked into cabinet refacing, and that was still ridiculously expensive. I knew I wanted white cabinets, so I thought I’d just paint them myself. How hard could it be? I asked on Facebook and friends responded with tons of advice, and I knew I’d probably be in for way more effort than I had time for. Why not just hire someone? Because I like doing projects around the house, and I also didn’t want to spend the money. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and not screw it up.
I was looking around Pinterest, and found a few posts about the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit. I was intrigued, read some blog posts about it, and decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? I screw it up and I figure out how to fix it, or if things go really south, I just hire someone to paint the cabinets.
The kit has a deglosser, bond coat, optional decorative glaze, and a protective top coat. You have to get the kit tinted in the store (or choose your color online, if you buy it online). I chose pure white. Look at the top of the box when you buy it. It’ll show the colors with and without the decorative glaze. I did not use the decorative glaze. I wish you could just purchase the kit without it if you knew you weren’t going to use it, but unfortunately you can’t. I needed one kit for all of the cabinets you see in the photo and a second one for the cabinets around the peninsula.
Overall I’m very happy with how they turned out. I’m not the greatest at painting, and I was able to do this without much frustration. Here is the advice I have from my experience:
Hardware – figure it out first!
Make sure you have your hardware picked out in advance, and that you actually try it. This is most important for hinges, but would be equally important for other hardware if it’ll need to be mounted differently. I had a hell of a time finding hinges that would work. If you don’t get that situated in advance, you’ll have a bunch of holes to fill and re-paint after. Learn from my mistake. Don’t assume the hinges are will work because they seem close enough when you match them up to the old ones. Actually try them and make sure they’ll work before you start painting. I think I ended up with 5 Home Depot/Lowe’s trips just because of hinges. And yeah, I have a bunch of holes on the inside of my cabinets I’m now filling.
The first step is deglossing. Don’t be skimpy with the deglosser, and make sure you get it all off when you’re using the wet cloth after applying it. If you don’t get the surface entirely deglossed or if there is still deglosser residue left, the bond coat won’t adhere properly.
The instructions say to apply the bond coat with a synthetic 2″ brush. This absolutely did not work for me. I had brush strokes like crazy. A friend suggested a painter’s pad with women’s pantyhose over it. Sounds crazy, but it worked great! I ditched the paintbrush and used this method the rest of the time.
The instructions say you’ll need two coats. I was a little too thin on the first coat of the frames and a few of the doors, so I ended up needing 3 coats, but that was ok. It just affected the timing.
The instructions say to be careful of pooling and dripping (or something like that). I had a few places I had to troubleshoot because I didn’t notice the paint pooled and it dried like that. Watch this especially on the corners even when you’re painting the backs of the cabinets.
I skipped this for a couple of reasons. First, I was pretty sure I wanted a white white color, and the decorative glaze would make it more of an off-white. Second, the directions made it seem kind of complicated in terms of matching the colors on all of the doors. I’m barely good enough at painting to get the bond coat applied well, so I didn’t think there was a chance I could do the decorative glaze without messing it up.
Protective Top Coat
This was pretty straightforward, but watch for bubbles and pooling. It was pretty easy to get rid of the bubbles. Also, it can get quite drippy when painting the frames if you’re not careful since it is runnier than paint. Lastly, make sure you do this in an area where you have direct light. I was painting some at night in the basement. The lighting is decent, but that resulted in me missing a couple of patches on a couple of doors. When I was working on the ones in direct light, that wasn’t an issue.
Advice For Pet Owners
If you have pets, vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before in the kitchen and in the area where you will be painting the doors. Use a lint roller on your clothes before you apply the bond coat and top coat. I vacuumed thoroughly, but still had stray dog fur I had to grab off of the doors while I was painting. I thankfully only had one piece of fur that dried on a cabinet door, and I was able to fix it fine.