We’ve been using PolyWhey Natural Wood Finish from Vermont Natural Coatings for a lot of our salvaged floors and we are very happy with their product.

First of all you can apply it in a closed room without barely any smell. It is really low VOC and the VOC that is present is not noxious at all. As the name applies it has whey in it, a creative use of the extra whey from all the cheese manufacturers in Vermont.

Here we are applying it to an old beat up floor that we salvaged and sanded down.


Here is how it looks when dry:


Brooklyn is full of great wood to be salvaged. Vermont Natural Coatings Polywhey is a good natural wood floor option because it really adds to the natural feel of the salvaged wood. If it is a green renovation of a Brooklyn brownstone where you are salvaging subfloors or old floors then the Polywhey brings out the character of the wood in a really good whey, uh, I mean way.

Another thing we like to do with the Polywhey is to first cover the floor with tung oil, which seeps deep into the wood. Once the tung oil is dry about a day later we then put the Polywhey over it as a top coat on the wood. This provides a great combo for a natural wood finish. You have the deep penetration and the hard protective cover happening at the same time.

Here are some salvaged southern pine we cut into planks and turned into stairs. We left them unsanded to accentuate the grain in the wood which you can feel when walking barefoot. We love those green building touches where the design brings the person closer to nature, albeit subtle.

To get finish we wanted first we put a couple coats of tung oil and then capped them off with a couple coats of PolyWhey. We used the satin finish but it looks shiny here because the PolyWhey is still wet.


Below are the stairs once dry and after some use. Notice the rich grain and deep colors that held because of the finish. Without the finish after some wear you don’t see the grain or color as intensely any more.


But we only do the tung oil if we have the time. Another practical thing about Polywhey is that it dries in a couple hours. You can put three coats of the stuff on in one day. In New York where small living space is the norm the clients might not be able to stay off the floor for 24 hours. Eight hours might be all they can do. With Polywhey this is not a problem because you can have the whole floor done by the time the owners come home from work.

And when they do come home they won’t have to endure any toxic smells. Sure the finish is just recently applied but that does not mean there is any smell left. It is surprising if you can smell anything at all once it is dry. This is great for people with sensory overload, something common in NY.