Stepping beyond an aerosol can mentality

Restore is marketed as the smart alternative to deck and concrete replacement.

For a company long known for its rust-stopping aerosol cans, Rust-Oleum has evolved into a marketer of cutting-edge offerings, such as Countertop Transformations and the NeverWet liquid repellent system.

For more than 90 years, Rust-Oleum has sought to provide innovative solutions for its customer base. Back then it was whale oil that sea captain Robert Fergusson, Rust-Oleum’s founder, used to stop corrosion from spreading on his metal decks. Today, it’s about deck and concrete restoration; NeverWet, a technology that repels water-based liquids; and other breakthroughs.

“Innovation is the heart of Rust-Oleum; it is at the core of what keeps us thriving,” said Mike Freeman, brand manager.

Freeman said Rust-Oleum views itself as a “game changer.” As such, it looks to push the boundaries of innovation, seeking to bring products to market that others wouldn’t even consider.

A big hit for the company was its Countertop Transformations Do-It-Yourself Coating System. Rust-Oleum marketed it as a simple and affordable system that gives countertops the permanent look of natural stone. Countertop Transformations has been on the market for three years and been well-received by consumers and industry, having earned a Good Housekeeping Very Innovative Product (VIP) award in 2012.

Consolidated effort

The ideas behind Rust-Oleum’s products come from many sources, both externally and internally. Freeman said a concept could originate from a consumer who has a specific need or from an opportunity that a customer foresees. And it could also emerge from the company’s R&D team. “We invest in consumer research so that we can gain insight into what types of needs and issues homeowners are faced with,” Freeman said. “With that insight, we quickly and efficiently develop solutions that drive demand.”

NeverWet is an example of this insight. Its two-step product system creates a moisture-repelling barrier on a multitude of surfaces — metal, wood, aluminum, galvanized metal, PVC, concrete, masonry, asphalt, vinyl siding, fiberglass, canvas and most plastics.

“NeverWet was a natural fit for us,” Freeman said. “It essentially eliminates the headache of having to deal with water-soaked items. Its success is clear through the overwhelming interest we’ve received from consumers. It can be used on virtually any substrate.”

Another product, Deck and Concrete Restore, features a scuff-, peel- and chip-resistant finish that withstands temperature changes, heavy foot traffic and furniture abrasion. The product is a pre-mixed, water-based, one-part polymer coating containing synthetic and mineral pigments.

Joel Tressler, director of marketing for Rust-Oleum Restore, said that while most homeowners think the only solution to revive a battered deck is replacement, Deck and Concrete Restore — a liquid armor resurfacer — enables them to “protect their investment and reclaim this extra ‘room,’ and start enjoying it again — without spending a small fortune.”

“Our years of experience have proven one thing time and again — innovation drives success; success for us, for consumers, but most importantly for our customers,” Freeman said. “Whether it’s making our products better, or completely inventing a new category altogether, we are game-changers. Our extensive breadth of product clearly demonstrates that. If there’s a surface, there’s a Rust-Oleum for it.”

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