Blog : Local Painting Company Leads Green Revolution

By Sarah Mahoney | May 16, 2015 | in

It's time to start your spring and summer painting projects! This story is re-posted to give you some incentive to start those up.

By Mark Quirk

PORTSMOUTH - During the infancy of the American colonies, a grassroots militia calling themselves the Minutemen spearheaded the American Revolution and fought for the change that lead to the formation of the United States. Today, Sean Sturk and Chris Tufts lead a revolution of their own on the same soil those colonial men and women did centuries ago, even borrowing the revolutionist's name.

Tufts and Sturk are the owners of Minute Men Painters, a green painting company ushering in a revolution in the industry with environmentally-friendly paints and lacquers for their residential and commercial projects. Minute Men Painters use latex-based, waterborne paints and lacquers, a change from the oil-based paints commonly used in homes. However their biggest obstacle isn't the size of the project, but people's resistance to change. That's why Tufts said part of the Minute Men process is to educate their customers to the advantages of waterborne products.

Minute Men test their products before bringing them to the job site. They work with the manufacturers to understand exactly how the new paints work relaying that information to their customers.

“It’s the wave of the future,” Tufts said. “They’re the exact same finishes but with a green touch.”

Both Tufts and Sturk go to the job site having done the research. They provide their customers with spec sheets and testimonials about the product and are more than happy to answer any question.

New Englanders aren't exactly known for their willingness to change, and with so many locals set in their ways with oil-based paints, Tufts said it's even more important for them to inform their customers how the benefits of waterborne products outweigh those of their oil-based counterparts.

“It educates you so much more,” Tufts said. “We're trying to bring New England to the rest of the country.”

Regulations were first authored in California and spread across the country. New Hampshire is one of few states with a grandfather clause allowing the use of oil-based products. But Minute Men seeks customers in the state willing to go green for their homes or business.

One of those customers was 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria's second location in Epping. When the restaurant needed its bar top refinished, the top criteria was using an environmentally-conscious company. Minute Men was the perfect fit.

“For me, (going green) is always my first choice or it’s always my first question,” said Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees. “I truly believe in it.”

Minute Men used a two-part resin to finish the bar top at 900 Degrees. Tufts said the product was used a lot on the Seacoast in the past, but has become a “lost thing” as of late. He added that the application is one of the only food-edible tops still used. One hundred percent of the material dries, so it is considered a solid, meaning that it isn't porous. He said it goes on clear and looks like there has been about 60 to 70 coats of polyurethane applied to the surface.

Other restaurants that have used the product are The Rosa and Demeters Steak House of Portsmouth.
Impressed with the finished product, Lane-Rondeau truly believes in Minute Men’s work.

“They were unbelievable,” Lane-Rondeau said. “They came in at a minute’s notice and the product is beautiful.”

Containing anywhere from 50 to 90 percent water, the environmental impact from water-based paint is less than oil-based paint. Whereas most painting companies use harsh VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, Minute Men uses a wide range of low VOC and VOC-free paints.

VOCs are gases emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which have short- and long-term adverse health effects. According to the EPA, VOCs cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

Solvents in traditional paints often contain high quantities of VOCs. Low VOC paints improve indoor air quality and reduce urban smog. The beneficial characteristics of such paints include low odor, clean air, and safer technology, as well as excellent durability and a washable finish.

Minute Men doesn't only paint buildings. They've expanded their scope of work to include finish work on cabinets as well as different spraying techniques catering to some of the more desirable looks like multi-flex finishes and smokey rubs.

Tufts said improvements in technology have made waterborne paints just as durable as oil-based paints, and now they can even use latex for exterior projects. He said latex paints are now scientifically formulated to allow moisture to flow through them, so they can withstand the damp, cold conditions of the Northeast.

In addition to Minute Men's sustainable methods and practices they've also partnered with the Green Alliance, a union of local, sustainable businesses and members working to unite the green community.
Minute Men Painters specializes in interior painting, exterior painting, residential painting, commercial painting, pressure washing, eco-friendly painting, lacquers and furniture restoration in homes, restaurants, offices, historical homes and buildings, and mills. They also provide light carpentry services, water damage and drywall repair, and renovations. Located in Portsmouth, Minute Men Painters services southern New Hampshire, Maine and the North Shore of Massachusetts.

To learn more about Minute Men Painters, click here.

For more information about 900 degrees, click here