The Hardwax Oil Experiment – Part 3 Bona Indoor Oil


Well here we are for Part 3 of our “Hardwax Oil Experiment”. If you haven’t seen the last two installments you can read them here – Rubio Monocoat review and OSMO review . This month we tested Bona Indoor Oil…

Bona Indoor Wood Oil Experiment

Unfortunately this review won’t be as detailed as the last two, basically… because Bona Indoor Oil didn’t pass our in-depth testing phase.

When products don’t do well in our shop, we never test them on client’s floors and use them as guinea pigs. We feel that’s a very unprofessional thing to do and we wouldn’t want someone doing that to us.

It’s a shame about this finish because were expecting great things from it, especially since we were extremely impressed with the last two finishes. Plus BonaKemi is one of the biggest hardwood floor finish and machinery suppliers around. You would expect them to get things right… right?

We won’t go into all the details of this finish because honestly it would be a waste of time. If a finish fails in one aspect it’s not going to be added to our product line – end of story.

Why It Failed…

This test was a huge disappointment for us. As we are in the Mid-West, living with gaps in our hardwood floors during one part of the year and having tight floors during the other part is the norm. Once the weather changes our floors tighten up, only to shrink again later on as the weather cycle rotates.

We like to test out potential finishes in an environment as close as we can get to an average Naperville/Chicago home as possible. That meant having gaps throughout our test patch as was the norm for this time of year.

We applied the Bona Indoor Oil as per the professional instructions and then waited for it to dry and cure before performing our liquid spill tests. Unfortunately we didn’t even progress to this stage. The still wet oil was bleeding from the gaps 3 days later and wouldn’t stop. If it wasn’t continually wiped up – as we did despite the fact that we should not of had to – it would dry out in horrible looking bleed patterns around the gaps.

If we had of tested this on a client’s floor in the real world we would have had a disaster on our hands!

This wasn’t an issue at all with the other hardwax oils we tested.

So definitely a HUGE NO for adding Bona Indoor Oil to our product line!

I guess on a hardwood floor were there aren’t huge swings in humidity and the floor is always tight, this finish would be fine. But here in Naperville there are much better options as we’ve shown in our previous tests the last 2 months.

Other negatives are that it costs way more than the other better hardwax oils and it only comes in 7 colors. On the positive it has no VOC’s, but so does Rubio Monocoat that we recommend, so that’s not really a unique plus.

Sorry BonaKemi, but you have a looong way to go before you catch up to Rubio Monocoat and OSMO Oil .

In Conclusion…

Well it’s pretty obvious that not all hardwax oil offerings are the same. Hopefully you can see now why we are as fussy as we are about what products we use and why we don’t ever test new products on a client’s floor.

In the next blog post we’ll review our final hardwax oil finish in our collection – Pallmann Magic Oil . Hopefully that test and review goes a lot better than this one.

Until then…

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Hi, have you ever tested the Bona Craft Oil 2K ?
After reading your review of the Bona Indoor Oil, I do not know what to think about the 2K oil? My sander guy says it is great oil….
Yhanks for your great reviews and blog!

Hi Johannes,

Yes we have. We didn’t like it. To make it as durable as Rubio you need to double the hardener. It’s also very dull. Most guys ended up putting a water-based finish over it, which defeats the purpose.


I have a Brazilian Cherry floor (3/4 in thick, tongue and groove). The floors were installed and finished with Bono water cure epoxy when the house was built in 2003. The wood is exceptionally hard and close-grained. The Bona finish has stood up very well but now there are parts of the house that need refinishing. And, the finish is slippery sometimes, especially on the stairs. Bona has a “non-skid” coating that looks like it would be good to use on the stairs, but I wonder about using it in other situations.
After reading your tests on Rubio I am intrigued. Do you have any experience with re-coating a Bona finish with Rubio? Do you think the floors wound need to be sanded or would a deep cleaner like Basic I.F.T work. Additionally, how slippery, or not, is the Rubio surface?

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