Countertop innovation

An annual prize, the award is given to the best product that has been profiled in the magazine over the last 12 months. Simple in concept, Countertop Transformations is essentially an affordable way to update worn or damaged laminate bench tops, and significantly refresh a kitchen or bathroom in the process.

It was developed by Rust-Oleum® in the US but its Australian base is located in New South Wales. Marketing manager at Rust-Oleum® Australia, Miriam Nagib is excited about winning the popular award: “It is definitely a great honour to be recognised and we would like to thank everyone who voted for the product.”

Market ready

As its name suggests, Countertop Transformations delivers a fresh new kitchen or bathroom at a fraction of the cost of the full bench top replacement. “We found that the kitchen remodel is the ultimate home improvement project, occupying first place on many homeowners’ wish lists,” Nagib explains. “Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive and time consuming projects a family can undertake, ranging from $17,000 to $20,000 for a basic kitchen remodel and taking an average of two years from initial concept to completion.” Undertaking extensive research into the US market prior to development – as is standard with each new product launch – Rust-Oleum® began to see similarities in the Australian market.

Local research showed a growing demand for bench top renovations, and in 2008 its studies highlighted that 75 per cent of all bench top sales were for remodelling. “In many homes, a new bench top can be all that’s needed to give the kitchen an immediate and vibrant new look,” Nagib says. But stone materials, although highly desirable, can add up at around $12,250sqm for materials alone for a five square bench top. “However, thanks to this product, the kitchen remodel was redefined.”

How it works

Countertop Transformations is essentially a two-day project for under $300, using an easy, step-by-step kit. Outlined in comprehensive instructions in the pack as well as on a DVD, the kit features a do-it-yourself coating system in five steps.

The process is easy to apply, involves no messy demolition and requires nothing more than what is included in the kit. It’s as simple as preparing the surface using the supplied diamond-embedded sanding tool, applying the adhesive base coat (which won’t peel and has a low odour), spreading the decorative colour chips (colourfast and fade resistant) over the desired surface, sanding and smoothing, and finally applying the protective top coat. The top coat features a breakthrough silicone epoxy formula, which will not yellow.

Customers can choose from five bench top colours – charcoal, onyx, java stone, pebbled ivory and desert sand – with the end product a high quality, durable finish that will extend the renovation budget and add value to any home. Nagib says: “For less than $300, this coating system puts a kitchen remodel within reach of anyone who dreams of giving their kitchen a fresh, up-to-date look.”

Hitting targets

In marketing the unique product, Nagib embarked on a strong campaign. “We have supported Countertop Transformations with an extensive above and below the line marketing campaign. We also developed a comprehensive advertising campaign which included magazines, radio and online.” In stores, Rust-Oleum® created merchandising units, consumer brochures, a How To DVD, colour samples and painted sample boards. “All these materials help support the sell through of the product which is currently merchandised within the paint department of most retailers,” she says.

With the product now a winner in the Hardware Journal, we can expect more big things from Rust-Oleum®. “Rust-Oleum® Australia looks forward to introducing more innovative products to the market to help make DIY easier,” she adds.

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