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Rubio Monocoat: Our Favorite Flooring Finish (and Why It Should Be Yours, Too)

When we attended the 2014 National Wood Flooring Association Expo here in Nashville last May, Jared was immediately captivated by a demonstration of a product called Rubio Monocoat. I had no idea why it was so revolutionary, but Jared excitedly filled me in. (Yes, he gets excited about flooring. Nashville, watch out for this party animal.) Now, after using this product for almost a year, I'm here to pass along the information on our favorite flooring finish.

Rubio Monocoat.jpg

1) It's a zero-VOC Finish.

Ya heard me right. Zero VOCs. Rubio Monocoat is a mixture of linseed oil and natural waxes . It even smells like cooking oil. There are absolutely no smelly fumes, which is the first clue that this product is different from polyurethanes, the most common type of flooring finish.

What are VOCs and why do they matter? VOCS are volatile organic compounds, which, simply put, increase indoor air pollution and can be quite toxic. As the wife of a man who puts down flooring finishes for a living, I love Rubio Monocoat because it reduces his long-term exposure to carcinogens and other nasties.

You don't really care about the health of the guy installing your floor? I get that. He has an awesome beard, but you're not exactly in love with him the way I am. That's cool. I won't take it personally.

So why should you care about VOCs as a customer? Because VOCs can off-gas for weeks after a finish is put down, contaminating your home and exposing you to those same toxins I don't like Jared to breathe in when he's on a job site. Rubio Monocoat is a fantastic option for health and environmentally conscious consumers who can't book a 3-week vacation while toxic fumes evaporate from their home. Some of our customers choose Rubio Monocoat for the same reason zero-VOC and low-VOC paints have become so popular: we'd like to not get cancer.

2) Floors finished with Rubio Monocoat are easy to touch up and repair.

With oil or waterborne urethane finishes there's really not much to be done about scratches, scuffs, pet stains, and other wear unless you're prepared to do it to the entire floor. That means either replacing the floor altogether, screening and recoating, or sanding and refinishing.

Rubio Monocoat, on the other hand, allows customers to take care of scratches as they appear and apply touch ups as needed. Rubio Monocoat bonds only to exposed wood, so when it's wiped on a scratch, the excess doesn't stain the adjacent area darker or affect it in any way. You don't have to move furniture, kick your kids out of the house, or do anything else drastic to keep your floors lookin' good.

3) There are more than 40 colors to choose from.

What's more, is that these colors can be blended together to create a seemingly endless number of shades. As someone who has worked with CHALK PAINT® decorative paint by Annie Sloan quite a bit, this is one of the reasons Rubio Monocat reminds me so much of that product. European zero-VOC product whose shades can be mixed together as much as you want? I knew I liked Rubio Monocoat the moment we met.

Hardwood Stairs

Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring, Nashville, TN

4) It's cost-effective.

Rubio Monocoat aslo resembles CHALK PAINT®'s price point. At first glance, it seems more expensive than other finishes because the cost per liter is more expensive than a gallon of urethane. We usually apply three coats of urethane to a floor, however, while Rubio Monocoat requires just one. In fact, it's impossible to apply more than one coat of Monocoat because of its formulation. The coverage area of Rubio Monocoat is also better than urethane, much like CHALK PAINT® outcovers its latex and oil-based counterparts. In the end, Rubio Monocoat often costs less than oil or waterbased polyurethane finishes.

5) It doesn't look like plastic.

Did your grandmother ever make you sit on plastic covered furniture? That's what urethane finishes remind me of. Yes, polyurethanes protect floors but it can also give them an artifical plastic-looking top coat. Rubio Monocoat is absorbed into the wood rather than sitting on top, allowing beautiful wood grains and color variations to shine through.

Reclaimed Hardwood

Photo: Southern Oaks Flooring, Nashville, TN

This unfinished showroom at Reclaimed DesignWorks. We had not yet filled in some of the areas with the Rubio Monocoat and cleaned the floors, but the colors and variations in the wood can still be seen.

6) It can be used on furniture and butcher block countertops.

This has nothing to do with flooring. It's just cool that it's food cut safe and also proves the point about its non-toxicity. You won't be eating carcinogens after you cut up your tomatoes, and that's always a good thing.

This is a nice, quick primer course in Rubio Monocoat, but if you live in the Nashville area and are interested in having your floors refinished, we can share plenty of more information. Contact us at 615-416-9039 or email

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