Pro Shop Talk

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C: One-Coat System, Natural Wood Look & Feel

As new finish technologies come out, it can be easy to stick with trusted processes and aesthetics. And for good reasons – finishing a floor is the most time consuming and involved part of a flooring project. If something goes wrong with the finish, it can cost a lot of time and money. While there’s a lot at stake with finishing a floor, it’s good to be aware of new products that can make your life easier or give a new aesthetic to a sand and finish floor. This is where Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C comes in. Keep reading for the details about how this product is different and how to best apply it.

Watch our Pro Shop Talk episode with Dave Hansen with Rubio. We talk through everything you need to know about Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C.

What’s Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C?

Oil Plus 2C is a one coat finish where you get stain and finish in a single coat. As a zero VOC product, it’s safe during application and for your customers to have in their house. Best of all – it highlights the natural qualities of the wood to give a great look and feel. Along with flooring, you can use this product on just about any wood project. There’s two components to the finish – part A is the oil and part B is the hardener and accelerant. With over 50 colors and 0% VOC, it’s a great option for a hardwax oil finish.

What’s the difference between Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C and other finishes?

When talking about floor finishes, it’s good to distinguish between the different types. Each category applies differently, creates different looks, and has different benefits.

The first category are the most common: surface or film-forming finishes, like oil-based or water-based polyurethane. This finish acts as a topcoat protecting the wood underneath. It’s not designed to penetrate the wood but to stay on top of it.

The second category are penetrating finishes, which are anything from natural oils to waxes to hard wax oils. These types of finish penetrate the wood to create a color that goes into the wood pores.

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C fits into the hard wax oil category, but has important differences. Oil Plus 2C bonds with the cellulose fibers of the wood, so the oil hardens internally and stops penetrating. This is beneficial because it essentially locks all the protective qualities in that top inner layer.

Compared to polyurethanes, instead of a protective finish that sits on top of the wood, the protection lives inside the wood. You get the same protection but a natural look and feel because the finish is interacting with the wood.

Most homeowners are used to seeing wood with a “layer of plastic” on top that looks sealed and protective. Because you’re missing that layer with Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C, it may not look sealed or protective. It’s important to let your customers know that it will look different than a traditional finish, but the wood is still sealed and protected.

Learn more about how Rubio’s products differ in on their website guide.

Pros and Cons of Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C vs. Polyurethane


  • Much easier to repair down the road
  • Enhances the warm look and feel of wood flooring
  • Easy to clean
  • One-coat stain and finish system
  • Easy to apply with no lap lines or starting marks
  • 1 coat adds color and finish


  • Maintenance required; may need to be refreshed every few years
  • New process for an installer to learn
  • Different look than traditional wood floors
Watch Rubio Monocoat’s 2 minute overview of how to apply Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C – using Oil Plus 2C Black on Red Oak.

How to Best Apply Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C


Because Oil Plus 2C is a finish that won’t fill in sanding imperfections, it’s important to spend more time creating clean, high quality sanding job. Sand like you would for a dark stain that will show imperfections. Any blemishes need to be taken care of before applying the finish. Because you’ll only do one coat later, you have more time to prep the wood.

What’s the recommended sanding sequence?

The biggest problem to avoid is sanding too fine. If you close the pores off too much, you run the risk of not getting enough oil into the wood to protect it fully. This could make the flooring more vulnerable to spills or stains if there isn’t enough oil in the wood to protect it.

With a traditional big machine, Rubio Monocoat recommends sanding to 120 grit. You don’t want to go above that because it can close off the pores. For example, if you had 3 floors with one sanded to 80 grit, one to 100, and one to 120, the 80 grit floor will be the darkest color and the 120 the lightest. When the grain is open more, like on a floor sanded only to 80, the color will be deeper.

Your final sanding grit will dictate how much pigment is accepted into the wood and how the color intensity turns out. Your sanding will make a noticeable difference in the amount of color that your floor has.

What if you’re using a planetary machine?

If you’re using a planetary machine, you may close the pores off. Test to see if the floor is clean enough at a lower grit. You’ll get the same protection, but the look will be different. If you do sand too fine, water pop afterwards to open the grain so that you can apply enough oil.

Should you water pop your floor?

That’s up to you! Many people choose to because your sanding doesn’t have to be quite as perfect if you water pop. You will also get a lot more pigment in the wood.

Whichever method you decide, make a sample, and have it approved by the homeowner before applying it on the floor. There can be a noticeable difference between the appearance of a water popped floor versus not, especially since it’s soaking into the grain of the wood.

Using red pad with Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C
Apply the oil to a 50 sqft area, let soak for 3 minutes, and wipe off excess within 15 minutes. Keep reading for best practices about how to use Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C.


Remember: doing a poor sanding job will show in the final product. If your sanding is not on point, you will see it. Double check that the sanding is done well.

Step 1: Remove Dust

Before applying any product, get all the dust off the floor. This is critical because you don’t want the oil to bond to dust and debris. You want it to bond to the actual hardwood.

Two options for dust removal:

  • If you’re going to water pop the floor, you can water pop, damp, and tack the floor. Once it’s fully dry, it’s ready to apply the oil.
  • If you don’t want to pop the grain, use Rubio Monocoat’s Raw Wood Cleaner. This method involves damp tacking the floor with the raw wood cleaner that will electrostatically suck all the dust off the floor without opening the wood grain. This preps the floor to accept the oil.

Step 2: Mix Product

Mix part A and B to a ratio of 3:1 (A:B). Once mixed the pot life is 6 hours.

Step 3: Start the Perimeter

Once the surface is clean of any sawdust, set your perimeter, work the oil in around the edges, and let it set for 3-5 minutes. Wipe off excess with a terry cloth within 15 minutes. You can apply the oil with either a red or a white pad. When water popping the floor, many people apply the oil with a red pad if they want to knock that wood grain down a little bit. Use the same type of pad for the perimeter as you would the main floor.

Make sure you get the oil on and off within a 10 to 15 minute time window – this applies for all areas. Don’t get too far ahead if you’re applying with a partner. If have one person applying and one ragging it off, stay together so that one person isn’t too far ahead of the other.

Step 4: Apply Oil Plus 2C In 50 Sqft Intervals

Once the perimeter is set and you’re starting the main part of the room, apply the product with a buffer, trowel, or squeegee in intervals of 50 sqft. If you’re new to using Rubio, start small so that you can dial in your process. If you’re pushing it past that 15 minute time window, the product will set up and be hard to remove the excess product. For the buffer, use a red or a white pad. Once you buff it in, set that pad aside to save as you continue the application process.

Once you’ve done the edges, you may see lap lines from using the buffer in the field. One of the unique things about this product is that it only bonds to raw wood – not to itself. If you do a second coat or buff over what you’ve already coated, you’ll be able to buff the excess off the top and it will blend it together. You shouldn’t get lap lines or overlap marks, which makes it very easy to blend them in together.

Within 15 minutes of applying the product, buff off the excess with a clean, white pad. That will remove most of the excess oil off. Look for hard to reach areas like corners and buff off excess by hand.

This is the step where many problems can occur. If you don’t remove the excess, you’ll have a thin layer on top that won’t cure correctly. Because it’s not interacting with cellulose fibers, it’ll remain tacky and attract dirt and dust. And no customer wants that! Oil Plus 2C will feel dry to the touch immediately after buffing off the excess.

Then do one final buff with terrycloth towels under a white pad. When you’re working yourself out, you want the last thing to touch the floor to be the buffer with a terry cloth. If you’re still pulling up oil, then you may have to buff over it one more time.

How many square feet will you get out of a white pad?

There are two places where you could use the white pad. If you’re using a white pad on the initial application, you can set that one aside and continue to use it. That will probably get you at least 500 square feet, most likely more than that.

You’ll start to see the pad kind of start to break down at some point. Once it does, get yourself a clean pad for the second step where you’re starting to remove the excess oil. Do only one pass per side on that second step where you’re removing the oil. Otherwise, you’ll spread the oil around and not actually lift it. As you’re buffing with the white pad, you’ll see it leaving round buffer streaks in the floor instead of cleaning the oil off.

Repeat Step 4 Throughout Entire Room

Keep applying the product in 50 sqft intervals, let sit for 3-5 minutes, then buff off within 15 minutes. Remove all excess oil. The surface should be immediately dry to the touch after application.

How do you know if you’ve put enough oil into the wood?

There’s not a great way to tell just from just by the look or the feel. It’s really about the water permeability. Once it’s cured, try a water bead test. Put a drop of water on the board. If you don’t get water marks left on it or the water dries up, it’s good to go.

Since there isn’t a great test, Rubio Monocoat recommends sanding to 120 grit for best results.

What’s the cure time?

Give the floor 24 to 36 hours to cure before you start walking on it and moving furniture back into the house. Always use felt pads and lift items – don’t drag or push anything. The floor will not be fully cured for a week, so wait a full five days before mopping or using floor cleaner. Tread lightly on it during that first five days while it’s curing.

If there’s a spill on the floor, wipe it up as soon as you can. After 48 hours, it will be 80% cured and have a reasonably good amount of water resistance. Still, don’t let spills sit on it for long periods of time.

What’s the maintenance for Oil Plus 2C?

For everyday cleaning, sweep the floor as much as you want to.

When you need to deep clean, remember that less is more. Always use a microfiber mop and hardwood floor safe cleaner, like Rubio’s Soap Concentrate. Make sure that your mop is damp, not completely wet. You don’t want to use a bucket and a mop. It’s not ideal to use a cleaner everyday as it can break down the finish. Most off-the-shelf cleaners are designed for polyurethane floors with ingredients that can break down the oil and wax in Oil Plus 2C.

For long-term maintenance, use Rubio Renew, a maintenance oil that will blend in with the original sheen of the floor. You may need to use this product three to five years after installation. Some customers may want to use Renew after two years if there’s a lot of traffic.

When using Renew, you don’t have to do the entire surface of the floor if only one area needs it. To avoid moving everything, you could just do the main high traffic areas and it should blend in nicely.

For areas you want to restore or ones with color loss, buff over the entire area with a maroon pad to clean the dust off and then apply another coat of the original color. That will restore the color to the floor and give you almost a brand-new floor without having to re-sand it.

With Oil Plus 2C, you may need to do more frequent maintenance. It can seem more involved, but the maintenance can be less invasive and less expensive than doing a one-time full recoat for a polyurethane floor. This gives you the option to have a new floor at a relatively low maintenance cost as opposed to big resand project that people often delay.

What should you do if you need to repair a board?

If you must do a board replacement, it is a lot easier to repair because you don’t have a film finish over the whole surface. Match your sanding grit sequence as close as possible.

If it’s minor scratches, a lot of those can possibly be fixed by using a sample oil bottle to fill in the mark. You could also use a maroon pad or something similar.

Can you sand into the boards next to where you’re doing the repair, or would you recommend only sanding the board that you’re repairing?

Tape off the surrounding areas and only sand the board that you’re repairing. Avoid creating a halo effect or a sheen difference. It’s easier than other finishes, but still difficult. Be careful as you’re blending it in with the surrounding flooring.

Buffing on Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C
One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid is leaving on excess product. Remove all excess oil, getting into hard to reach spots by hand if needed.

What are common pitfalls to avoid with this product?

Many problems with Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C occur from skipping too many grits in between your sanding sequence and not doing a premium sanding job. Any errors in the sanding process are likely to show up after applying Oil Plus 2C.

The second error is not removing all the excess oil. Don’t skip that last step of using a terry cloth towel to buff over the floor. You will get a call back if you have excess oil left on the floor.

To avoid problems after you leave the job, inform your homeowner about the maintenance. Tell them exactly what to use and what to avoid. If the homeowner’s not cleaning the floor with the right cleaner, the finish may break down. We recommend giving your homeowner a small care and maintenance package. It could be as simple as a bottle of soap, mop kit, and maybe a small bottle of Renew that they can use to repair small scratches.

Taking these extra steps are better than the alternative of getting a call back to fix the floor later.

Interested in trying out Rubio Monocoat?

We have access to Rubio’s lineup of hard wax oil finishes. Stop by one of our Pro Shops to pick up a sample or a full-size can.