Thursday, April 11, 2013

Buy or DIY: Kitchen Cabinet Edition

   After the floors were changed to a darker hue, the cabinets knew what was coming.  They stuck out like a sore thumb. 

    Their yellow tones just weren't working for us, and luckily we had found an amazing deal on a Rust-oleum Cabinet Transformations Kit at Home Depot as I mentioned here.  But a real dilemma arises in situations like this.  How do you know when to buy versus when to DIY?  

    1) Money
    For us, the decision was easy.  Brand new kitchen cabinets would have cost us $5000 whereas our DIY kit cost us just $30.  Easiest decision ever.

    2) Time
    While DIY cabinets are extremely time consuming, the worst part is really the amount of time that the kitchen is unusable.  I love to cook, so minimizing the amount of time we had to spend out of the kitchen was extremely important to me.  Having new cabinets installed by professionals can also take alot of time but the difference is you end up at the mercy of the installer's schedule rather than your own which as a DIYer at heart, didn't sound that appealing to me.  Last but not least, my time was minimally important here.  Why?  Because Kevin is awesome and told me that he would start the project on a long weekend when I had to work.  While I love DIY, I also love walking into a room and being totally surprised by the reveal, a thrill that do-it-yourselfers often miss out on.

    3) Confidence
    This is piece might be the most important of all.  Obviously, there is always a bit of trial and error with a new project, but if from the get-go you are doubting your ability, you might as well go back to re-evaluate money and time.  Why?  Because you may have to spend them both again.  If you chose to do the project just because it's cheaper and your heart isn't in it, there's a good chance you'll end up paying a professional to re-do it.  That's why all three of these factors have to be evaluated, not just one out of three or two out of three.  We felt pretty confident that we could get this done based on alot of tutorial watching.  Also, the bright yellow cabinets were cramping our style and we were really motivated to get started.  

    The Rust-oleum Kit broke the process down so easily.  Here is a picture from the Rust-oleum site that shows you just what is included in the kit.  

    First, you watch a video tutorial that shows you what you're about to get yourself into.  To prep, we removed all of the hardware, cabinet doors and drawer fronts, put down plastic drop cloths, and taped areas that needed to be protected (ie. the fridge, countertops, and walls).  The prep was time-consuming but is imperative in making sure that the final product comes out flawless.  

    The official step 1 is a liquid deglosser which cleans the cabinets, removes grease and grime, and eliminates sanding from the process.  After that dries, you apply the bond coat (or base color).  We used two coats to get full coverage.

{Kevin touching up on the base coat}

    By this time, I was home from work and wanted to participate in step 3: the decorative glaze.  Kevin was fine with it since it was the part of the project that required a bit of an artistic eye.  Rust-oleum also recommends that only one person participate in this portion to keep the look of the cabinets as consistent as possible.  Below is a picture from their website of our color Rustic and the difference between the base coat step and the optional glaze step.

        Here is the extremely professional set-up that I used to glaze the cabinet fronts.  Yes those are cans and spice jars holding everything up.  I used a foam brush to apply to glaze and the included cotton cloths to rub off enough to achieve the desired effect.

     After the glaze dries, step 4 is to apply the protective top coat.  It is extremely important when working with poly to make long even strokes and to touch things up as little as possible.  Usually when using poly, two coats are better than one to add an extra layer of protection, but strangely enough with this kit I found that a second coat actually made the cabinets look a little cloudy and less shiny.  So I backed off and just did one coat as the instructions stated.  So far they have held up well.  Only time will tell if they will ding or chip easier than traditional cabinet finishes.

rustoleum cabinet transformation review

    Here is the official before and after shot.  You really can't tell unless you look closely that these cabinets are painted!  We love the finished product.  And more kitchen surprises are still to come!


  1. Hey!! Gabby told me you used the Rustoleum Kitchen transformations. We are thinking to use the same for our new kitchen. How has it held up over almost 2 years?? It looks amazing but we are thinking to go with the white finish so I am nervous about chipping, etc.

    XO Samantha

  2. What a gorgeous makeover,absolutely love everything about your new kitchen!

  3. Absolutely stunning!Wishing you would come and re-do my kitchen cabinet.

  4. I am in LOVE with this makeover. It is gorgeous, thanks for sharing


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