The Hardwax Oil Experiment – The Winner
Over the last 4 months we’ve been conducting a huge experiment with the best offerings amongst the hardwax oil family. This week we finally made the decision on which finish will have the great honor of making it into our elite class of finishes we recommend and use.
Actually we have a tie for the winner and each of the winners will be recommended for select situations depending on our client’s needs… we’ll get to those in a minute. But first let’s have a quick review of our experiment…
Let’s go back to the basics of what we at Tadas Wood Flooring look for in a finish that we can honestly and confidently recommend to our clients for their hardwood floors:
- The finish has to look good
- Must be long-lasting, durable to traffic and resistant to spills
- Have relative easy maintenance and repair qualities
- Not “yellow” excessively over time
- Not have high VOC’s and stink up the home for days on end
- Not take forever to dry and cure
As you can imagine, not many finishes stand up to that sort of a test. We should know, we’ve tested pretty much all of them.
This was a fun experiment for us and very enlightening – because we honestly didn’t think we would be happy with any of these hardwax oil finish systems. Sure they all made big claims, but from experience we know that most claims don’t always turn out as good as the promises. We were very happy to be proven wrong though.
So let’s get to our two favorite hardwax oils:
First place tie – Pallmann Magic Oil and Rubio Monocoat !
Both of these finishes well and truly passed our testing phase and real-life hardwood floor applications in both residential and commercial projects. Both are similar in certain characteristics and both have certain advantages over each other – depending on what you value more in a hardwood floor finish.
Let’s go through the differences of each to help you narrow down which one you should choose for your own project…
Pallmann Magic Oil Advantages:
We feel the biggest advantage that Magic Oil has over Monocoat is the thicker finish build along with more sheen.
Rubio Monocoat is very matte and is a one coat process. You are literally walking on the wood surface with Monocoat. Magic Oil though is a two coat process (three if you include staining first) and that helps it to obtain its rich velvety feel that has a bit more build to it.
We find that a lot of people in our Naperville/Chicago service area are not quite ready for the ultra-matte, low build finishes yet.
Surface finishes have been incredibly popular for so long that it is going to take a while for things to change. We can see the trend starting though and a lot of people in the next few years will start using these new very environmentally friendly finishes and matte sheens will be all the rage – or at least a lot more popular.
But we’re not there just yet.
So for our clients that are used to the thicker “plastic” look of polyurethane finishes, we feel this is a better compromise of sheen and build with all the added advantages hardwax oil has – like repairability and super low VOC’s.
(See the full Pallmann Magic Oil review )
Rubio Monocoat Advantages:
The biggest obvious advantage that Rubio Monocoat offers is the HUGE selection of colors available right out of the tin (with Magic Oil you’ll need to stain first)… and then the incredible amount of different color mixes and affects you can get by using the “Smoked” and “Fumed” options.
This really puts this hardwax oil in a category of its own. The patterns, designs and colors you can have on your floor are virtually unlimited. For the creative types, this is the way to go.
The other advantage that Monocoat has is that it’s completely VOC free. If you’re looking for the ultimate environmentally friendly hardwood floor finish available at the moment, then you’ll have a hard time finding something better than Monocoat.
Magic Oil has a paltry 5g/liter so it’s not a huge advantage, but it is one nonetheless.
(See the full Rubio Monocoat review )
OSMO Oil is a great finish as well. It only came in second place by a few points – there was no landslide win here. Basically it lost out on a first place finish in two areas.
First… because it has the most VOC’s out of the three – 10 times more than second place getter Magic Oil – at 50g/liter. That’s not to say it isn’t environmentally friendly, because it is, very much so. It was just up against some very stiff competition!
Second… although it tops Monocoat as far as sheen and build, Magic Oil’s beautiful velvety matte appearance is just that much better in our opinion.
Apart from these two areas, the competition between these three hardwax oils in all other factors was extremely close and OSMO is still an extremely good finish.
(See the full OSMO review )
We’re very happy with how this experiment turned out. We’ve completely changed our minds about what we initially thought about these “new” hardwax oil products. (Good thing we like to experiment hey!)
We’re even happier to announce that we will be offering all three of these new finish systems to future clients – Pallmann Magic Oil, Rubio Monocoat and for those that really want it we will even continue offering OSMO Oil.
These hardwax oil finish systems really round out our selection of finishes.
- The high-end 2 component water-based systems for those that expect the best in long-term durability and easy maintenance,
- The single component water-based finishes that are excellent wearing, have low fumes and are a bit easier on the pocket… and now
- Our hardwax oil systems that offer great low sheen looks, incredibly low or no VOC’s and the exciting possibility of virtually invisible spot repairs in the middle of a room which none of the above can do.
Choices, choices, choices.
Basically your decision will come down to what you value more in a finish.
When you call us to come over to provide a free In-Home Audit for you hardwood floors, we’ll be sure to bring along the samples to all these finishes so you can see, touch and compare them in person. We’ll also answer any other questions you may have about any of our finish systems. One of them will be perfect for your hardwood floors we’re certain.