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cabinet transformation espresso color streaky after top coat applied

After many days of prep and painting I had some lovely dark espresso cabinets...but after applying the protective top coat they are all now streaky and uneven. I cannot understand why this has happened as I followed the directions exactly please help!

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Posted 2011-10-31T12:11:19+0000  by tpnix tpnix

Good morning tpnix, 


Welcome to our community! My name is Christine and I work in the paint department at The Home Depot in Atlanta. 


I'm so sorry you are having trouble! :smileysad: Hopefully I can ease your dissatisfaction and get your cabinets looking good!


I called Rust-Oleum directly for some advice on your issue. Unfortunately, you are going to have to take off the protective finish, by very lightly sanding it. Use a 120 grit sandpaper and sand until the streaks are gone, being careful not to take off the color. Then, apply a water- based polyurethane in a satin finish such as Varathane Polyurethane. 



Varathane Polyurethane


Here are some tips when applying the protective coat:

  • Make sure to stir (not shake) it thoroughly.
  • Do not over work it. Once it is on the cabinet, do not go back over it with the brush. If you brush over already dried parts, it will become streaky. 

I hope this fixes your issue. If you have any more questions, please ask! 


Let me know how it turns out!


Christine :smileyhappy:






Posted 2011-10-31T12:51:34+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL

thanks for the quick you might of guessed I am not happy with the way the finished product turned out after many hours of prep and painting. The thought of sanding down/off this top coat on 13 cabinet doors and the face frame does not sit well with me. I'll try as you suggest the sanding and polycoat..if that does not suffice who do I need to contact for my money back?


Posted 2011-10-31T13:31:22+0000  by tpnix

Hi, TPNix.

So sorry to hear this has caused you so much inconvenience, but we appreciate you reaching out to us so we can resolve it.

Let me look into the refund for you. Can you please email me your contact information, which location you used, etc so that I can reach out to the store?

- Thanks, Nicki (

Posted 2011-10-31T16:04:49+0000  by THDCustomerCare

thanks will do!


Posted 2011-10-31T17:01:42+0000  by tpnix

How about the minwax rub on poly??  I had the same problem . . .  Thanks



Posted 2011-11-08T19:05:00+0000  by Laverse

Welcome to our community Laverse! 


I'm very sorry you are having problems with this product as well. :smileysad:


However, I wouldn't recommend the Minwax Wipe-On Poly for the top coat because it is oil- based. When I called Rust-Oleum, they specifically recommend using a water- based poly. Since everything else in the kit is water- based, using a water- based poly will be the most ideal. Plus, you won't have to wait as long for it to dry. :smileyhappy:


Let us know if we can help with anything else!




Posted 2011-11-09T12:29:57+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL

II wish I had seen this thread a few days earlier!!!  I had the same problem with the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation "Protective Top Coat."  It is NOT Protective AT ALL.  I had followed all the directions from the kit and the drying times.  When I put the cabinet doors back up, I could tell immediately that the protective top coat wasn't doing its job. A small ding on the finished cabinets scratched the top coat and the paint! 


Realizing that the "Protective Top Coat" was not going to cut it, I went to Home Depot and purchased the same Minwax Polyeurathane that you recommended.  It works a lot better than the one from the kit, and it doesn't come out uneven and streaky!


I feel like purchasing the kit was not  worth it, especially since the top coat is useless.  I only used the deglosser and the bond coat.  I got a dark color (chocolate),so I didn't end up using the decorate glaze either.   To pay $75 for each kit (I had to buy two because HD didnt have the large kit) and using 1/4 of the kit is disappointing.  I wish I could have just purchased the deglosser (I only used one bottle from one kit for the whole kitchen) and the bond coat.  Surely Rustoleum has heard the same comments from others who have used the kit?  What do you recommend that I do?  Call Rustoleum to ask for half of my money back?  


Thanks for sharing your tips!



Posted 2011-11-12T17:42:22+0000  by tadajulia


I'm so sorry to hear you had issues with this product/top coat as well. Please send me an email with your contact information & which location you purchased it at so I can assist. Thank you. - Nicki (

Posted 2011-11-12T18:35:47+0000  by THDCustomerCare

I agree with you; I have had the exact same problem with the espresso kit. It has taken forever to do my cabinets and the thought of redoing them makes me mad! I am writing Rustoleum and telling them that this kit is a piece of crap. After all of the hard work and time, my cabinets are a streaky mess!

Posted 2012-02-27T19:01:31+0000  by jesst


I'm sorry for your issues with the product top coat as well!


You are most welcome to write Rustoleum about the product problems, but if you'd like to email me with your contact info, location purchased at, if you still have the receipt still, details, etc, I can definitely speak with the store to see what we can do to resolve this for you.

My email is


Thanks for posting.

Thanks, Nicki

Posted 2012-02-27T20:02:44+0000  by THDCustomerCare
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