Can I use Rubio Monocoat on my kitchen countertops?

OMG please do!

We didn’t plan for this when we first started carrying Rubio Monocoat, but almost half of what we sell now is for coating wood other than floors.

And countertops are the perfect project for Rubio:

No stink.

Most countertops are already in place by the time people have to apply a protective coat to them. If it is the middle of winter or there are pregnant people around, you don’t want to use a polyurethane because all of them (even waterborne polys) have some amount of Volatile Organic Compound in the solvents that are evaporating.

Rubio has no solvents to evaporate and it actually smells kinda good.

Ease of maintenance.

Because Rubio is designed to soak into wood and harden, instead of forming a hard “candy-coating” over the wood, it can’t peel off when water and wear cause their usual degradation.

Rubio will wear off with use for sure, but you can replace it by just rubbing in more Rubio. You don’t have to sand off the whole counter. You don’t even have to sand off the peeling edge, you can just reapply right over the dull spot.

But, if you squashed a blueberry into the dull spot, you might want to sand that.


So many colors. And even though we usually discourage floor finishing customers from using color, it is much less of a challenge when you’re doing smaller areas like counters.

Most people can sand these areas perfectly enough the color will look even and unblotched.

And that means you could have a Veggie green counter. Or a nice plain Natural one. You do you.

But there are some things you should be aware of.

Make sure you are applying Rubio to absolutely bare wood.

Many butcher block countertops sold through places like Ikea come with some sort of oil already applied. Rubio won’t bond to this; you have to sand it completely back to nakey.

Even if it’s just a layer of mineral oil, this can get create a lot of dust, so we wouldn’t recommend sanding with the counters already installed in the kitchen.

Don’t sand your countertops too fine.

We know you’re supposed to sand wood nice and smooth, but if we sand the countertops too smooth, the Rubio can’t bond properly and then it won’t perform. So, put away what you remember from shop class; we don’t want to sand that counter to 250-grit.

Rubio insists that the finest grit that will allow correct penetration is 120-grit. This is not a guideline; this is required.

Sorry to be so mean, but you are going to scrub and wipe these surfaces and we want to make sure that enough Rubio absorbs so it can still protect. Do it.

Don’t skip the hardener.

Rubio performs best when you mix both components, the oil and its hardener, and apply it to wood. Many people think they will save money by applying just the oil, but the speed of curing drops drastically if you do.

Full cure is 21 days without the hardener, and it doesn’t cure quite as hard. With the hardener, full cure is at 5 days.

Rubio does not prevent scratches.

But neither does polyurethane. If you take something heavy and sharp across any surface, even one with a thick epoxy bar coat, you’re going to see that scratch. This is something you have to accept if you want wood counters.

The advantage of Rubio is that you can sand a scratch and re-Rubio a spot and have it blend without re-doing the whole top. Now, the darker or the more complex the Rubio color, the more challenging this becomes.

But for most Rubio counters that are seeing daily use, we want you to embrace minor sanding and re-oiling of spots on a regular basis.

Use Rubio Monocoat Soap for daily cleaning.

This won’t restore any protection, but Rubio soap is much less stripping and drying that typical kitchen cleaners and will keep those engineered Rubio waxes supple and protective and looking good for longer.

That said, if you get something yucky on your counters (this is the real world people, we’ve had mouse poop and barf on our counters- don’t lie and say you haven’t) of course you can use your favorite anti-microbial spritz or a nice well-diluted ammonia to decontaminate the surface. Just don’t do it every day. But when you do, be prepared for it to dull that Rubio surface and consider and little booster coat of your original Rubio color once you’ve removed the germs.

How do I apply Rubio to my counters? 

ONE   Make sure the wood is sanded completely bare, no finer than 120-grit, and all wood dust has been removed with Rubio Raw Wood Cleaner, or just a dry, soft microfiber cloth.

TWO   Mix your chosen Rubio oil with the hardener in a 3:1 ratio – a paper cup works well for this.

You will need about 100mL of Rubio mixture for every 25sqft of surface. Don’t forget to include the measurements of the sides and back if you plan to coat those areas as well.

THREE  Pour about a 1.5″ dab of Rubio on your wood and using a piece of 1″ wide red nylon scrubby pad or a plastic bondo knife, spread or rub the Rubio across the wood surface.

Work with AND against the grain, but you do not need to press or push it into the wood. Just make sure the surface has a thin but visible layer of Rubio. Add more just only as you run out.

Once surface is covered and the Rubio has been in contact with the Rubio for a minimum of 8 minutes, but not more than 15 minutes, using a clean rag to wipe off all excess Rubio.

Keep rubbing until nothing comes off on your rag – you cannot take off too much.

FOUR  The leftover Rubio and your rags and applicators are flammable so do not crumple them up into the trash.

Take them outside and spread them on the concrete to dry and cool or soak them outside in cold water. Once safely cooled and dried, the rags can be thrown out with regular trash.

Do you need advice for your specific hardwood floor problem?

Get a one-on-one phone consultation with a hardwood flooring expert. For a small fee of $25, we can provide the wisdom and knowledge that you need to complete your hardwood flooring project. When you don’t know what you need to do next, that’s when it’s time to call Pete’s Hardwood Floors Help Hotline.

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