Rubio Monocoat Fumed Loft Project in Chicago

Last month we completed another cool hardwax oil project in the Logan Square area of Chicago. It was in an old industrial building that had been converted into trendy lofts about a decade ago. The owner of this particular loft was doing a small update/renovation and wanted something different than the traditional finishes for his red oak floors.

Rubio Monocoat Fumed

In his online search he stumbled upon us and our articles about hardwax oils.

After seeing the creativity that Rubio Monocoat offered and looking at some photos of the fuming process from our prior jobs it was decided to go for the same concept. But for the top color oil application we were going to experiment and come up with something unique.

The floor would need to hold its own and look great with the exposed brick feature walls, the rustic timber posts and the cool industrial wood ceiling.

So we made half a dozen samples to choose between – charcoal, black, chocolate etc. Then we were asked about silver grey. We hadn’t used this color before and didn’t know how it would look, but we’re always eager to try something new.

After making the sample and seeing it in the loft it was an easy decision…

Fumed and Silver Grey it was!

Unfortunately we neglected to take some before pictures of the floor, but just imagine an average 2 ¼ wide red oak floor with a basic oil modified finish that was worn out and tired. We spent 2 days repairing and sanding the hardwood floors to be ready for the color steps. Below you can see what the floors looked like on the third day after we applied the fumed process…

Rubio Monocoat Fumed 1

Above is the bedroom and below is the living area. As you can see the fumed process really changes the look of red oak, even without the oil applied…

Monocoat Fumed Chicago Loft

The next day we came back and applied the Rubio Monocoat oil in the Silver Grey color…

Silver Grey Rubio Monocoat Red Oak

It made a huge difference as you can see from the photo above. It’s definitely a very unique look but it really looks great in this trendy industrial loft setting.

Rubio Silver Grey on Fumed

The sun and huge windows were making it difficult to get a good shot! Here’s a different angle of the living area below…

Rubio Fumed Chicago Loft

And finally here’s a close up so you can see the blend of fumed and Silver Grey in more detail…

Rubio Monocoat Fumed Silver Grey

We really enjoyed this project. It’s always fun for us to have clients that love to experiment and try new things. The end result turned out great and the client was very happy with his brand new trendy and easily maintained hardwax oiled floors.

It’s been almost 2 years since we started using Rubio Monocoat and we’re happy to report that we still love and confidently recommend this system.

If you want a unique floor of your own, don’t be shy to ask, we’re always up for a challenge and to work on something different 🙂


  1. Jim says:

    Beautiful floor! How did you go about the fuming process ?

  2. Rafael Caldera says:

    Hello Tadas,

    I am a General Contractor from Jacksonville, FL, this time working on my own house. We have red oak floors over 80 years old. We are very impress with the Rubio Monocoat results based on the online research. When we call Rubio monocoat costumer service, they told us to dont use the Fume in red oak floor. We tried few samples with the fume, and the floor turns quite gray. However, once we applied the colour oil, (charcoal, black, silver gray) we lose all the gray, and the floor become just plain uniform colour. We had over 20 test. Is there anything that we are missing in the process???
    We need help!!


    • Hi Rafael,

      So sorry I missed this! Susan below just made me aware.

      So to answer your question, yes they are right, fume doesn’t work very good on red oak. The reason why is that there aren’t enough tannins in the wood to react with the fuming process. White oak gives a much better result as it has more tannins that will react and therefor turn grey.

      The reason the red oak floors in the loft above look the way they do is because they are Common 1 grade and have a lot of variation in color already. If they were a higher grade wood it wouldn’t look as it does.

      Hope this helps and sorry again for missing your question.


  3. Susan Hoemke says:

    We are about to refinish 30 year old red oak floors and I would like to hear the answer to the question above from Rafael Caldera. Please reply so we will know how to proceed. We love the look of the Chicago loft also. Your thoughts on his questions?

    • Hi Susan,

      Oops, looks like I completely missed Rafael’s comment. Sorry Rafael!

      I’ll reply to his comment Susan so you can read it and he gets the info too.


  4. Mallory says:

    Have you ever done Slate Grey Fumed?

  5. Dallas says:

    Hi Tadas,
    Thanks for your site, it is a wealth of information on hard wax oil finishes. Have you used the RMC fumed product and then topped it with Pallman Magic Oil? If so, can you please show us how it looked? And if not, are the two compatible?
    Thank you!

  6. Kelly says:

    Love the work you’ve done with Mono Rubio finishing. Sadly, we’re out of your service area as we’re located in Lake County, IL,

    We just purchased 3/4 white oak (rift and quarter sawn – Character grade). We have 3, 4, & 5 inch widths. We’re looking to finish it with a rustic finish, light to medium coloring. I ordered a sample of 5%white Mono rubio and… it looks slightly different from the raw unfinished wood. We like the matte finish, but maybe need a little more definition in the grain to be happy. Have you worked with a color you preferred? Do you typically put a satin finish on it, or leave it completely matte? Any information or helpful tidbits would be amazing! Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly,

      Your floor sounds nice. Usually we leave it matte. We have done quite a few colors and all of them look good. Have a look here on our blog and on our facebook page to see some of the colors. I would order a few more of your favourite sample colors just to be sure too.


  7. Cori says:

    I love the look of this floor. Do you know how I can achieve this look on pine plywood? I’ve searched a bit online but I’m not finding anything on plywood.

    • Hi Cori,

      Not sure if that would be possible to get an exact match but you could definitely try using the fume and Silver Grey Rubio Monocoat and see how it goes.

      You could also try using watered down layers of paint (cheaper) for the color and a waterbased finish on top to seal it.

      Good luck.


Leave a Reply

Please answer the question below before submitting your comment:

(630) 995 0662
Full Website