Linseed oil based paint

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

Linseed Oil Paint is manufactured from the oil pressed from the seeds of the flax or linseed plant. It has been used for this purpose for hundreds of years before the advent of chemical paints.


Advantages over chemical paints are:

  • Linseed oil paint last up to 3 times longer than modern paints (10 years is not unusual).
  • Not only will the subtle paint colours decorate woodwork, but the linseed oil in the paint gives protection and nourishment to the wood itself.
  • Linseed oil paint requires less costly maintenance than other paints. Linseed oil paint does not peel or flake so it does not need burning or extensive sanding back to remove steps between flaked and none flaked paint areas. Flaking paint can also lead to decay if not addressed immediately as water is held in the flakes.
  • When the time comes to redecorate, all that is required is a light sanding and one and sometimes two coats of the original colour of linseed oil paint depending on the level of exposure and weathering of the paint finish.
  • Linseed oil paint requires no primer on bare wood and no undercoats. All that is needed in the first application of paint on bare wood is three coats of raw linseed oil. This soaks deep into the wood and the resins which remain after the water in the oil has evaporated serve to protect the wood against decay.
  • With their dramatically longer life span, linseed oil paint will yield significant cost savings over time when compared with other paint systems.
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Linseed oil paints are made from natural 100% pure linseed oil, derived from renewable and sustainable resources. Only natural paint pigments are used and no added solvents.
  • Tested by several generations
  • Linseed oil paint has been used in Scandinavia since the 18th century. Initially only valuable buildings like churches and mansions were painted with linseed oil paint. In addition to exteriors,
  • Best raw materials
  • Genuine Linseed Oil Paint is made in the traditional way from cold pressed and boiled linseed oil and colour pigments. People often think that "oil" paints smell strongly of and contain solvents. A genuine linseed oil paint, however, contains no solvents but smells of delicious linseed oil. You can almost smell the goodness in linseed oil paint. A traditional linseed oil paint contains no plastic or alkyd binding medium.
  • Linseed oil paint works naturally with wood
  • A surface painted with Linseed Oil Paint breathes; therefore the wood does not decay or rot under the paint. Repainting is easy as Linseed Oil Paint can always be applied on top of previous coats of linseed oil paint without difficult and expensive paint removal.

Linseed usage has declined considerably during the last decades as the petro-chemical and paint industry giants have combined to drive prices down and spend millions on marketing their modern paint. Modern polyacrylate dispersion paints have replaced them to a large extent. Their sole advantage is a rapid application rate and short drying time hence why they are favoured by painters and decorators who can often apply two or three coats in one day and get into the next job.

But for outdoor use polyacrylates have turned out less favourably due to their diffusion resistance to water vapour and poor adherence to the surface to which it is applied, particularly to wood.


In the outdoor paint market an increasing volume of well-formulated linseed oil paint is expected. The main drawback of such paints is that a good result requires the application of three thin layers with intermediate drying and ideally a prior application of our purified raw linseed oil. There is also a perception that the paint is expensive. 1 litre of linseed oil is significantly more expensive than to 1 litre of gloss. Also the application of linseed oil paint takes more labour time than gloss equivalents. However, what this comparison does not take into account is the longevity of the paint system and the protection that it provides. That 1 litre of paint will go much much further than the gloss because it is applied in far thinner coats. Not only that but the linseed oil paint system will not require renewal for at least twice as long and depending upon the degree of exposure maybe three times as long.

In modern times with cheap materials and expensive labour costs, linseed oil paints are not the first selection of the cost orientated builder. Decision makers would be advised to use Life Cost Analysis as selection criteria when making their choice of paint as there are real cost in use benefits.


One firm that makes the paints is the Swedish firm Allback (or Allbäck with Swedish spelling).[1] The transporting of such paints to the UK may seem less than sustainable but the sustainability of the paints in use and the CO2 when compared with chemical paints sets off the CO2 used in transport.


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