We like Rubio Monocoat products, and why wouldn’t we? With 55 standard colors, an easy application process, and a wonderful protective layer and durable finish that allows the natural beauty of the wood to show through, it checks off all the boxes for us in a single coat.
No matter the type of wood, whether furniture or hardwood floor finishes, Rubio Monocoat will, in that single application, make your projects shine. Buffed to a sheen that matches or exceeds other wood finishes, Rubio Monocoat is a good choice.
For those of you who don’t know and have never used Rubio Monocoat, it is a hard-wax and linseed oil finish that colors and protects in a single application. Its effectiveness is a result of bonding at the molecular level, penetrating deeply into the wood to offer protection from water, heat, and daily foot traffic, making it suitable for furniture and flooring.
It is also 100% VOC-free. VOC refers to volatile organic compounds often found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. Once in our homes, they are released into the indoor air we breathe. Further, it contains no water or solvents.
It is a natural wood finish, and the oil comes from linseed. We’ve written of both Rubio Monocoat and linseed in previous articles, and you will find them here, and here, for instance, if you want to brush up on either.
Rubio Monocoat is produced in Belgium and is a distinct alternative to a standard polyurethane finish. As mentioned, it penetrates wood of most any kind and bonds at the molecular level, unlike polyurethane, which forms a protective film on the surface of the wood.
It does not require a topcoat, as it is effective as a standalone wood finish that protects against water, heat and usage. However, Rubio does produce a topcoat product that will intensify the color and, if brushed before it dries, will increase the sheen.
It’s worth noting that it does live up to its name as a mono-coat product. It does not adhere to itself, so adding a second coat is not necessary. However, if it’s being applied to a softwood, one that will more easily allow penetration, a second coat may be helpful to ensure an even finish.
Rubio Monocoat does satisfy food compliance standards and can be used for wood countertop finishes safely and meet food contact requirements. It’s easily applied, durable, and requires little maintenance.
Rubio claims an 80% cure time of 2 days, and a full cure in 6 days, assuming you use the accelerator offered by Rubio. This product speeds up the drying and curing process, reducing it from a usual 3 weeks without to the 6 days with. For furniture, that’s easy to accommodate, as you simply don’t use it for a week. For flooring, though, you’ll want to cover walking paths with protection until it is fully cured.
Applying Rubio Monocoat
Applying Rubio Monocoat is easy and fast. It is not dissimilar to applying other finishes but does require an extremely careful cleaning first. Since it bonds at the molecular level, you can’t afford to have any sawdust or wood particles on the surface, as it will bond with them and make a mess of your project.
Sanding is a part of the surface prep, with 150-grit sandpaper being adequate. Water-blooming is also helpful – spraying water on the surface to raise the grain, followed by sanding again to a smooth finish.
Rubio does offer a cleaning product to follow that sanding, although many who use Rubio Monocoat simply use mineral spirits to clean fully and even claim that Rubio’s cleaning product smells like and works like mineral spirits. It’s a lot less expensive than the Rubio product and does the same job well.
The mix ratio is 3 parts of Rubio Monocoat Oil to 1 part accelerator. While the accelerator is not absolutely necessary, it does cut the drying/curing time down drastically, as we noted above.
A little bit will go a long way, so apply it sparingly. In fact, mix only enough to meet your project’s need, as it does not have a long shelf-life after being mixed. A foam brush, a Scotch Brite white pad, or a plastic paddle are good choices for application and don’t do any more than you can finish within 15 minutes because, after that, the product becomes difficult to remove.
Once the surface is coated, buff with a white pad on a sander. This will serve two purposes:
- Spread the Rubio Monocoat evenly over the surface being finished; and,
- Driving it deeper into the wood.
After the wood has absorbed its limit, the excess will simply sit atop the surface, where it will become tacky and gummy. A small buffer will remove the excess, and a clean cloth will take care of any lingering spots the buffer misses.
Don’t touch it again for 24 hours, and remember it takes a week to cure even with the accelerator.
Rubio Monocoat Maintenance
When applied correctly and properly maintained, Rubio Monocoat will last indefinitely. Keeping it clean and dry is proper maintenance. If dinged or damaged in a spot, it is also easy to repair, as you treat only the damaged area with a little sanding and reapplication of the product, and then allow the necessary curing time before use.
Rubio also offers a Universal Maintenance Oil for ongoing care. It will increase the sheen of the finish and keep it looking freshly finished. Further, it offers a Renew product for maintaining and freshening up its natural matte finish.
Testing Rubio Monocoat First
Rubio Monocoat is expensive, much more so than other wood finishes like polyurethane. Perhaps you want to test it first before you invest in a $55 350mL can.
Rubio does offer sample bottles of its hard-wax oil, giving you the opportunity to test it on a sample piece of the same wood you are considering for your project or floor. Hardwood floors like oak, for instance, are a good choice and an easy choice to use as a sample.
If you have any doubt, go this route before you invest more money. Make sure it’s the finish you want. With 55 standard colors to choose from, it should be easy to make that decision.
Thereafter, it’s helpful to know that a 350mL container with the accelerator will cover roughly 175 sq ft, at a price of $53 per container. That’s more than enough for a 10 x 12 room floor with a little left over. Rubio Monocoat, when sealed tightly and stored in a cool and dry place, will have a shelf life of 2-3 years.
If you have questions about its use as a hardwood floor finish, we recommend this video to you. Yes, it’s from Rubio, and of course, it’s going to present itself well to you, but there is nothing in its application that is tricky or difficult, and the results speak for themselves quite beautifully.
While we have focused on the interior use of Rubio Monocoat for finishing furniture and hardwood floors, Rubio also offers products for exterior use, including an exterior wood cleaner, a hybrid wood protector, and a hydrophobic Wood Cream. The latter is a wax-based cream that colors and protects vertical exterior wood and makes it water-repellent.
As you can tell, we at Obsessed Woodworking like Rubio Monocoat as a great finish. Its hard-wax and linseed oil composition, specially developed to bond at the molecular level, penetrates deeply and, when cured, offers a high degree of protection for your project.
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API