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Oil or glaze? Which surface treatment should we choose to protect exterior and interior wood?

In order to decide which finish is right for us, it is really useful to check out the differences of oil and glaze, how to use and maintain them. So take a break and read our short article about oil and glaze, and finally let us introduce our product which could be a great finish for almost every type of wood and wood project.

What is glaze?

A wood preservative that stains wood while preserving its veins while ensuring its protection. There are also outdoor, indoor, and universal glazes that also have relevant differences, such as UV protection, in-use emissions, and toxic content. We also distinguish between water-based and solvent-based glazes, the former having a significantly shorter drying time, but a very low brightness. In addition, dark-colored, high-pigment glazes provide protection for longer than light ones with less pigment. There are important differences between thick and thin glazes:

  • Thick glaze: forms a waterproof film on the surface that provides protection as long as the top layer is intact. As the wood begins to expand under the influence of heat or moisture, the film layer cracks and the wood protection ceases, so it is primarily recommended for the treatment of dimensional surfaces such as doors and windows.

  • Thin glaze: forms a thinner layer, it is more absorbed into the wood, emphasizing its grain. It is also recommended for the treatment of non-dimensional surfaces, such as fences, beams, garden furniture.

Prepare the surface before glazing

Most glazes need a primer before application, and it doesn't hurt to use some wood preservatives against mold, fungi, mites, and insect attacks. In addition, it is important to take into account the condition of our wood, as the primer and glaze are absorbed most effectively into completely dry wood surfaces. Before each glazing, whether it is a previously treated or untreated surface, it is necessary to carry out complete sanding and cleaning, the glaze can only adhere to a dust-free, slightly rough surface. Be sure to correct surface defects during sanding before surface treatment.


It is advisable to apply the first layer of glaze with a brush, then sand it over after drying and apply another layer. It is recommended to perform these operations 2-3 times for a proper end result. In the case of solvent products, do not attempt to treat heated surfaces in any way, such as painting a fence in the middle of summer, as at higher temperatures the solvents will evaporate from the glaze and a uniform and beautiful surface will be impossible. In addition, at the edges of wooden surfaces, e.g. the edges of the table tops, the wood absorbs the glaze better, these parts look darker if we do not pay special attention to them. It is advisable to leave the smears on the edges at the end and rub them with a Pad or sponge rather than working with a brush dipped in a glaze to minimize the difference between the surface and the edges.

Maintenance of a glazed surface

The basic property of thick glaze is that it forms a film of different thicknesses on the wood surfaces, which protects the wood until the lacquer layer is damaged. As soon as this topcoat cracks, the glaze breaks off and its protection becomes ineffective. This can only be remedied by sanding and re-surface treatment. Also, it should not be forgotten that the wood may change due to temperature and humidity, increase in size or, on the contrary, decrease during drying, these processes can also cause the protective layer to crack and then the protection to disintegrate. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to check the condition of the glazed surface annually and to renovate the surface if necessary. However, during renovations, the glazed surface will become darker and darker as the layers are stacked on top of each other, so that in the long run the glazed surfaces will become more and more stained. Renovation of the surface can only be done without a complete sanding.

What is (wood) oil?

A wood preservative made of natural materials that does not form a film on the surface of the wood, since after applying the oil, the excess is removed from the surface by wiping back. Surfaces treated with wood oil are extremely easy to maintain, as full sanding is not required before refreshing and renovating the surface, it is sufficient to clean and re-oil the surface. Because there is no film layer that could crack, they are less susceptible to surface damage, scratches, and are more durable and can be used on both dimensional and non-dimensional surfaces. Usually two coats of oil need to be applied to the surface, but there is also a more cost effective oil that does not treat the wood surface based on saturation so it is sufficient to apply one coat. The oil can be colored or colorless, indoor or outdoor. It preserves the natural appearance of the wood, makes the veins of the wood visible, while providing UV protection thanks to the pigments, and makes the wood surfaces wear-resistant and water-repellent.

Surface preparation before applying wood oil

As with all surface treatments, a dust-free surface is important before using wood oils, it is advisable to sand up to a grain size of 120 (outdoors to a grain size of 80-100). In the case of surfaces previously treated with another material, the remnants of the previous treatment must be completely removed by sanding. If you want to refresh an oil-treated surface, it is not necessary to sand the surface.

Application of wood oil

It is recommended to apply the oil with a Pad, a spatula or a Pad placed on an eccentric sander. Due to its texture, it is very simple and easy to distribute evenly on the surface. It is important to wipe off excess oil from the surface after application and allow it to dry completely. There are wood oils that do not contain solvents, volatile organic compounds, so no harmful substances are emitted during their application. Depending on the product, they can even be used to treat kitchen surfaces or children's toys.

Maintenance of oiled surfaces

The oil is absorbed into the wood, it does not form a film on its surface, so we can expect a longer service life. However, to clean oiled wood surfaces, we need to use soap concentrate sold for this purpose, because the use of conventional cleaning agents can damage or fade the surface. It is a simple solution, a cleaning agent available in a spray form for furniture or a water-soluble concentrate sold for larger surfaces. The surface can be updated with care oil as needed up to a year. Spray or other care oils are also available for this purpose. If the surface shows signs of wear and drying, it is recommended to refresh the surface with care products or care oil, if the color starts to fade or turn gray, re-oil the surface with the oil of the same color used for the surface treatment. The great advantage of oil-treated surfaces is that it is not necessary to sand the surface beforehand for the renovation, it is enough to clean it of dust and dirt. So it is worth taking care to regularly clean the surface from grease stains and deposits with cleaning agents developed for oiled surfaces.

Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C – the new generation of wood protection

Colours and protects your wood in one single layer

Rubio Monocoat has also brought two revolutionary changes in the field of wood oil production:

  • production of wood oils based on molecular bonding technology

  • in addition, these products are 100% solvent-free, so they do not contain any harmful or toxic substances, volatile organic compounds that could be released into the environment during the use of wood oils.

Let's take a closer look at these processes, learn about the special properties and advantages of Rubio Monocoat wood oils over other products on the market:

1. Molecular bonding technology: this means that we do not treat the wood surface by saturation, but when the wood oil comes into contact with the wood surface, the oil particles and the wood fibers form a molecular bond with each other. Due to this, only the top layer of the wood surface is able to absorb oil, which means that it is outstanding and, on the other hand, means that it can be worked on and repaired without staining. If we have to take a break during the application, resuming the surface treatment after a few minutes, no overlaps will appear on the treated surface.

2. 0% VOC content - solvent-free: Rubio Monocoat considered it important to take environmentally conscious steps in the production of wood oil even before the introduction of the current, stricter regulations, so from the very beginning it worked to make its products completely solvent-free. Thanks to molecular binding technology, it has succeeded! Harmful substances have become completely unnecessary, while the undisputed quality is guaranteed.

3. Fit for food - food safety certificate: the certificate awarded by Eurofins shows that RMC Oil Plus 2C can also be used safely to treat wood surfaces that come into contact with food. According to this, it can even be used to protect and paint the surface of wooden spoons, wooden shovels, other kitchen utensils and worktops.

4. Toy standard - toy safety certificate: this European directive regulates the presence of certain substances in connection with children's toys. Our Rubio Moonocoat Oil Plus 2C and Hybrid Wood Protector indoor and outdoor wood oils meet this standard, so they can be used on any wooden children's toys, such as outdoor climbing frames, swings, children's furniture or indoor wooden toys, mats, children's cots.

5. Wet - can also be used to protect wooden surfaces in contact with water: as the wood oil adheres to the wood during application and does not form a film on its surface (as opposed to thick glaze) but remains open, its effectiveness is not affected by moisture reaching the wood surface. The two-component solution is excellent for the treatment and protection of wooden kitchen and bathroom surfaces, wooden floors and counters.

6. VOC-free fast drying: we are all aware of the nasal-squeezing solvent odors and many inconveniences associated with prolonged but absolutely necessary ventilation during home renovations and remodeling, and we all want to prevent harmful substances from penetrating the entire home. These annoyances can be forgotten with Rubio Monocoat wood oils, as they dry out without emitting volatiles and are extremely fast, so they can be used with confidence in any season, even indoors.

7. Unique colors, color combinations: one of the biggest advantages of Rubio Monocoat wood oils, and what makes it really unique on the market, is that our colored oils not only protect the wood in a single layer, but also provide a beautiful, intense color to the surfaces. In our wide range of colors, you can easily find the right one or even mix it up as a combination of several colors. Moreover, with the help of our unique waxes, you can add natural aging, smoky color effects or other exciting effects and contrasts to your wood surfaces. With the help of our samples, you can easily and quickly perform tests on specific surfaces.

In addition, the Rubio Monocoat product family offers many options for treating outdoor wood surfaces, such as our increasingly popular Rubio Monocoat WoodCream product. It is a hydrophobic wax cream wood paint developed primarily for softwood, outdoor surfaces that do not require abrasion resistance (eg facades, fences) and has a unique color palette. With a wide range of colors, everyone is sure to find the shade that suits their needs. Thanks to WoodCream's special technology, it protects your outdoor wood surfaces with a pearlescent effect, increasing their water-repellent ability. Self-cleaning, its use reduces the spread of microorganisms (algae, molds, fungi) and the risk of frost damage.

More information about our products is also available on our webshop.


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