Here’s the story behind Vermont Natural Coatings, a company whose hardwood floor finishes are eco-friendly through-and-through.
We interviewed Andrew Meyer, founder and owner of Vermont Natural Coatings, to find out how he got his start in the coatings industry.
“I grew up connected to agriculture,” Meyer says. He was raised on an organic dairy farm and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Science.
After graduating, Meyer moved to Washington, D.C. to work in agricultural policy. He stayed there for eight years, but ultimately felt a pull back to his home state.
Meyer says that Vermont is the type of place where you have to create your own jobs and opportunities. So he got to it.
In 2004, he started mapping out a business plan on paper.
Meyer knew a few things about the company he wanted to create. He wanted his business to provide a safe, sustainable coatings product that could be used by Vermont’s lumber industry. He also knew that the cheese making process left Vermont’s dairy industry with a lot of whey byproduct that generally went unused.
There was one last thing Meyer knew for sure: “I wanted to operate in Vermont so that I could diversify and add value to Vermont agriculture,” he says.
So Meyer connected the dots by planning to use whey as a bonding agent in wood coating products. And, of course, his company would be based in Vermont.
Meyer collaborated with the University of Vermont to secure the license for his new business, and he started working with scientists to develop eco-friendly coatings products.
From 2006 to 2007, Meyer built the facility to start manufacturing coatings products. In 2008, Meyer began selling his products to vendors. The rest is history.
The philosophy behind Vermont Natural Coatings
When asked about the philosophy of his company, Meyer replied: “safety first.” From the low VOC content to the environmentally friendly packaging, the development of PolyWhey products has been completely shaped by this idea.
In PolyWhey, whey protein––a natural byproduct of the cheese making process––is used as a bonding agent, replacing the harsh chemicals that other finishes often use for this purpose.
The entire PolyWhey container, including the cap, is made of 100% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable.
Vermont Natural Coatings strives to meet and exceed all of the American and Canadian VOC laws. The VOC content of PolyWhey products are already low enough to pass the state of California’s VOC standards, which are the most stringent in the country.
Meyer says that contractors should think about the content of the finishes they use, especially in places where the end users are part of a vulnerable population, like in hospitals and school gymnasiums. VOCs can significantly impact indoor air quality and health.
Adaptability is also important to the Vermont Natural Coatings team. They seek out feedback from end users and hardwood floor contractors who use PolyWhey. They take this feedback seriously and use it to improve their formulas.
Meyer says, “We constantly ask ourselves, ‘What will make this product better?’”
The advantages of Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey
Even though PolyWhey is safe, you don’t have to compromise on quality and durability.
PolyWhey products are more durable, in fact, than a lot of competing water-based and oil-based products, making it a smart alternative to products with a high VOC content.
PolyWhey is also quick to cure––it cures fully within one week, and you can start walking on the floors within just two to three hours after application. Though PolyWhey products are water-based, the hardness of the cure is two times stronger than most other water-based floor finishes.
PoleyWhey also saves you money and leads to less waste because it’s a single-component system. The product has a shelf life of one year after opening.
Why not try PolyWhey floor finish?
Some contractors are stubborn about using only oil-based finish, but Meyer implores them to think about indoor air quality and to consider PolyWhey as a serious alternative.
“Sometimes you need to see a window of opportunity to take advantage of a new market,” Meyer says.
PolyWhey has held training events at the factory where they invite contractors to come and try out the product (and taste some cheese.) Meyer reports that many contractors who have used oil-based finishes for decades convert to PolyWhey customers after giving it a try and seeing how durable and reliable it is.
There are 3 main types of PolyWhey floor finish: PolyWhey 2500, PolyWhey 3500, and PolyWhey MVP.
2500 is good for use on residential and commercial floors with light traffic. 3500 is recommended for commercial settings and residential floors with heavy traffic, and PolyWhey MVP is formulated with added durability for use on sports floors.
If you’ve only used oil-based products up until this point, chances are you’ll find a smart, eco-friendly, and durable alternative in PolyWhey products.
Why not give it a shot? Check out our inventory of PolyWhey floor finishes.