A better whey to clearcoat

Can this bio-based finish actually perform better than conventional clears?

Since wood is bio-based, it makes sense that a bio-based finish might out-perform a petroleum based finish. That's the principle behind PolyWhey Finishes, a new product line from Vermont Natural Coatings. "What people find interesting about our product is that it uses whey protein - a dairy by-product - as a co-binder instead of the toxic materials we find in many other wood finishes," says Andrew Meyers, VNC's president. "We're quite excited that not only have we been able to make the product safer, but the way the protein binds with the wood actually makes it a stronger finish," he claims. The whey seems to form a tighter grip under the surface of the wood, and then contribute to a tougher film on top of it.


According to Meyers, the product performs like a water based urethane, although many contractors have told him that it flows, levels, spreads, and sets like an oil. "But it is a water based product," he insists, "and that surprises people who have sworn off water based."

Both the floor finish and the furniture finish get between 500-600 square feet per gallon. For floors, VNC recommends 3 coats with light sanding between each coat. "The first coat really sinks in, depending on what wood you're using it with. The third coat is meant to enhance the appearance and really add further protection to the wood." Because the product dries quickly, a contractor can finish the job in less than a day. PolyWhey's VOC level is relatively low for a wood finish: 180 grams per liter. The product is low-odor, and the smell dissipates more quickly than higher-solvent coatings.

VNC began shipping PolyWhey earlier this year, but the product has been in development at the University of Vermont for about 7 years. Already, some contractors have liked it enough to make it their featured product for both residential and commercial clients.

Vermont Natural Coatings can ship directly to dealers and distributors across the U.S., and accepts opening orders as small as $500.



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