Testing colors for the floor finish

We’re using Rubio Monocoat to finish the maple floor in our tiny house. We stumbled on this natural hardwax finish a few years ago when looking for a finish for the reclaimed Douglas fir countertops we built for the big house. Designed as a floor finish, Rubio sounded too good to be true – no VOCs, applied in one coat, and able to stand up to water and abuse. We handed over a not insubstantial quantity of cash, and half expected to be refinishing the countertops within a year.

Fast forward 2 years and everything has held up beautifully – from our kitchen counters to our very hardworking coffee table to the bathroom vanity in our Airbnb rental, which sees a lot of abuse. (Swipe for photos of some of the counters around the house.) We hit them with the Rubio replenishing oil from time to time when they start to look tired, but otherwise do no special maintenance.

Rubio creates a molecular bond with the wood fibers instead of sitting on top of the wood like other floor finishes. It looks and feels more like wood.

As a migraine sufferer, it has been huge to find a finish that doesn’t make me sick. Price and maintenance would make me pause before using it on a larger home (the stuff isn’t cheap, and does need refreshing every few years) but at a tiny house scale it seems like a great option.

So my last few days have been spent trying to decide on color. In the past I’ve just used the base (“Pure”) finish with no tint, but it does make the color of the wood pop. Our big leaf maple floors have a ton of character, and we’re hoping to quiet that down a bit so they don’t overshadow the pine of our windows or the hard maple of our counters. The goal is to bring all these woods together in a similar tone. After testing out a few different options I think we’ve landed on the White 5% – it warms the raw boards up slightly but keeps a more even tone between boards.

On the photo of our test boards you can see the raw flooring, and from left to right: Cotton White, White 5%, Natural, Vanilla, and Pure (no tint).

– Liz

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