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Old 07-16-2012, 11:22 PM   #16
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Linseed Oil Paint???


Wow...Kaycee seems to be a believer, a bit fanatical perhaps, but very much sold on the product...and KC makes some really good points about linseed oil paints. I'm gonna show my ignorance here, but I kinda question what has changed in the manufacturing process to change some of the inherent traits of linseed oil though - without it being ladened with specific chemicals.

Linseed oil paints can be very good products that last for many years, and it is true that peeling, at least in the conventional sense, rarely occurs. Linseed oil paints should not be confused with the more modern oil based paints (which are actually oil modified alkyds - often modified with linseed oil)...and linseed oil absolutely is a food source for mildew, but that doesn't absolutely mean that mildew will grow rampantly on a linseed oil paint surface (I'll get to that in a minute). Linseed oil, in contrast to some other commonly used paint-type oils, has a high surface tension that yields a nice viscous body for brush application - and this viscosity can be altered, lower or higher, by solvent reduction, heat, agitation (friction), cool temps and moisture. Linseed oil can be the sole vehicle for paint, or mixed with other resins and solvent - and can be introduced to paint partially cured (oxidized) in "boiled" form or presented "raw" and allowed to oxidize naturally (and each has behavioral advantages and disadvantages). Linseed oil can even be gelled and saponified to create fresh smelling soaps (think Murphy's Oil Soap) - which has nothing to do with paint, but I think it's interesting still the same.

The industry did NOT move away from linseed oil because of cost - fact is, linseed oil is still used in many exterior coatings and even more so today than a few years ago, since products longer in linseed oil helps to make a finish product more VOC compliant...Nor did the industry move away from linseed oil because of any planned obsolesence - that just doesn't make sense in this highly competitive environment as all companies are looking for ways to build a product that is better than their competition.

The primary reason the industry moved away from linseed oil paints was more due to the change in housing and demographics...More people were moving away from rural, agricultural communities and into urban and, ultimately sub-urban neighborhoods. With those changes came a new era of colored trim and more commonly used other-than-wood building products, such as brick and stone. The reason these changes affected paint types is due to how freely linseed oil paints chalked. Color run-off became unacceptable as it would stain red brick, stone and colored trim. This "free chalking" is also the reason that mildew doesn't grow rampantly on linseed oil films - free chalking, then, served to clean the mildew from the surface along with dust, dirt and other surface contaminants. Later on, marketing gurus would label these type products as "self cleaning".

Thus the introduction of alkyds as the primary "oil based" paints - alkyds dried so much faster and are harder films that chalk less and hold their appearance longer than typical linseed oil paints. And, surprisingly, alkyds, with all their advantages over linseed oil paints, also have a distinct and equal number of disadvantages - but that's a discussion for another day.

So...here's where I'm curious how modern manufacturing processes could have altered these particular dynamics of linseed oil - without chemical ladening (I'm not 100% sure if "ladening" is even a word, but it's 11:00 p.m. and hopefully you know what I'm talking about)...why doesn't it chalk anymore? ...and without chalking, how does it thwart mildew growth?...and what processes has enabled linseed oil to maintain it's natural gloss and be more color-fast? ...and perhaps most importantly, if you happen to have cows in your backyard, what keeps them and grasshoppers from feeding on the siding of your home (since they both like to lick and munch on surfaces that have been coated with linseed oil)?

Personally, to finally address GSP's original question, I think linseed oil paints could be a very interesting consideration, especially if the questions of chalking, fading and gloss can be addressed. Interesting debate - sorry for the l-o-n-g, l-o-n-g response.

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Old 07-16-2012, 11:31 PM   #17
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Linseed Oil Paint???


Dunno about the rest but I consider your responses always welcome and information, regardless of the length.. Thanks
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:51 AM   #18
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Dunno about the rest but I consider your responses always welcome and information, regardless of the length.. Thanks

I agree, even if it takes a whole cup of coffee to read
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:57 PM   #19
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Linseed Oil Paint???


Mmmmm. I have enjoyed following debate above....and still not sure which way to go...linseed oil paint or conventional paint. I too am getting ready to strip to bare wood, and then paint my 90 yr old house. (Northern Chicago suburb). House has vinyl siding over top of the original wood boards (bevelled 8" with 6" exposed). The previous owners got sick of painting every 3 to 5 years. We are doing an addition, resulting in the great siding debate!

The linseed oil theory is logical and the thought of not having peeling paint is appealing! All the contractors and builders suggest ripping off the old siding and putting up cement board. Somehow that seems silly when there is nothing wrong with the original siding, except the paint issue and having to fill some nail holes. Any additional opinions/thoughts on this are welcomed.

First question: if we went with linseed oil paint - the detached garage is sided in MDF composite type boards, currently painted and holding up surprisingly well. We would simply have to repaint to match the house. Can we use linseed oil paint on this type of siding?
Second question: timing of this project - the addition will start in September and take about 6 weeks to complete. Would that be too late to start a linseed oil paint job..in terms of dry time and weather??
Final question: I was told that if the old paint being removed with silent paint remover is really dry, we may need to apply raw linseed oil on it first to make it easier to remove. If we decided to go with conventional (acrylic) type paint would it adhere to the wood where the linseed was applied? For some reason I seem to remember from my fine art school college classes that one can do oil on top of acrylic, but not acrylic on top of oil...surely the same logic should apply here?

Thanks so much!
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #20
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Linseed Oil Paint???


Nobody should have to paint every 3-5 years unless the surface was badly prepped and cheap primer (if used it all) and paint were applied!

I paid for my first fine arts degree working with crusty old master painters in the trades that taught me more things you could do with lindseed oil than most will ever know. I think, processed lindseed oil mixed with a decent solvent is still one of the best NEW WOOD sealers out there.

I am not buying this new lindseed oil paint hype though and I fear you are about to be had. Again read the posts. The OP brags not having to paint in 4 years? As also posted a good paint job should last a decade or more unless subjected to very extreme conditions.

You are correct. You still cannot mix oil and water and you certainly do not want to put lindseed oil based paint over waterbased vinyl or acrylic paint remnants. As mentioned, alkyd is the great equalizer and because usually suspended in solvents it is what most people know as oil based paint. Not so. Discussion for another time though. You can lay an alkyd film over almost anything nicely prepped and put just about any sort of paint over it. The alkyd adheres nicely to surfaces and provides a great base to which paint over it can adhere.

Let me hug you for getting rid of the vinyl siding!

If yours were my house or a client's. I would do just what you are doing and sand it all down nicely. I would then apply a nice alkyd primer like Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start---to everything. I would then put on two coats of quality paint store, not WalMart or a box store, waterbased acrylic house paint. And mark my calendar to touch it up if necessary but budget for repainting in 10-15 years. If intent on trying the liindseed oil paint you can put it over the alkyd primed surface and see. Maybe it is the Holy Grail of non-peeling paint.

Your other option for the wood siding is to consider a quality solid color stain product you can tint to match anything. I know Sherwin Williams Woosdscapes Solid Stain Acrylic. You might not get ten years out of it without annual attention but it is great stuff on wood.

As for timing? If you finish the renovations to the point the painters can get at your place late September you should still be alright. Consistent 50s temps was my exterior cut-off point but paint will cure---albeit quite more slowly---down into the 40s. Check the can for lindseed oil paint though!

As you know, it can be 100 with matching humidity in our part of the world in September and even 60-70 shirtsleeve or sweater weather with snow on the ground at Christmas. The winters, where windchills sink to -100 and make us the quality, robust and amazingly pretty women and handsome men we MidAmericans are happen in January and February. Beyond not painting in obvious temperature extremes outside, there is some weird midpoint with lots of dew in between day and night temps where paint cannot cure from the moisture. Respect your painting contractor. He/she probably wants to get the job done for you but if the recommendation is to wait for spring? Take the advice.

Prep is key perhaps more on exterior surfaces than interior? I don't think so but my clients used to get nervous that it never seemed like I was going to get around to painting. With good prep, painting goes fast and lasts long. Without it?...

Last edited by user1007; 08-01-2012 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #21
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Linseed Oil Paint???


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Originally Posted by lfield View Post
Mmmmm. I have enjoyed following debate above....and still not sure which way to go...linseed oil paint or conventional paint. I too am getting ready to strip to bare wood, and then paint my 90 yr old house. (Northern Chicago suburb). House has vinyl siding over top of the original wood boards (bevelled 8" with 6" exposed). The previous owners got sick of painting every 3 to 5 years. We are doing an addition, resulting in the great siding debate!

The linseed oil theory is logical and the thought of not having peeling paint is appealing! All the contractors and builders suggest ripping off the old siding and putting up cement board. Somehow that seems silly when there is nothing wrong with the original siding, except the paint issue and having to fill some nail holes. Any additional opinions/thoughts on this are welcomed.

First question: if we went with linseed oil paint - the detached garage is sided in MDF composite type boards, currently painted and holding up surprisingly well. We would simply have to repaint to match the house. Can we use linseed oil paint on this type of siding?
Second question: timing of this project - the addition will start in September and take about 6 weeks to complete. Would that be too late to start a linseed oil paint job..in terms of dry time and weather??
Final question: I was told that if the old paint being removed with silent paint remover is really dry, we may need to apply raw linseed oil on it first to make it easier to remove. If we decided to go with conventional (acrylic) type paint would it adhere to the wood where the linseed was applied? For some reason I seem to remember from my fine art school college classes that one can do oil on top of acrylic, but not acrylic on top of oil...surely the same logic should apply here?

Thanks so much!
Linseed oil paints have a long history to back up their many, and bold claims. Unfortunately, the dis-advantages of Linseed Oil Paint aren't mentioned quite as often as the advantages. According to Allback, their products are made of organic, cold pressed linseed oil, simple driers and natural pigments - and claim these products can last 50 years or more - and virtually no peeling.

I asked in my earlier posts, that without chemical modification, how is it possible for linseed oil to behave in a manner antagonistic to it's natural tendencies...which is to chalk (freely) and provide a food source for mildew?

The answer is, it can't. To put a "maintenance" coat on every 3 or 4 years is really kinda the same thing as repainting, isn't it? But it'd be necessary to apply this maintenance coat every few years to bind in all the chalk that will be released from the linseed oil film (not to mention refreshing the color and gloss that has faded in a very short period of time)...plus, and again, what about the mold and mildew issue? If painted on the sunny side of the house, where there's little shade - and if, over time, the film is allowed to chalk (freely), there really shouldn't be a mildew problem. But what about the north side of your home, or painted siding that is protected from sunlight by shrubs and plants? ...and btw, the presence and proximity of those shrubs and plants will also contribute to probable mildew growth on a film already pretty much defenseless against mildew growth.

There are plenty of advantages to Linseed Oil Paints...unfortunately, there are as many (or more) disadvantages. To say a paint film won't peel, or that it could last 50 years or more, is not the same as saying it won't need re-painting periodically, or that it is gonna look good for those 50 years...In an earlier post, KC claimed to be a convert and commented on the chemical laden products from conventional paint manufacturers, but (and trust me on this one), if Linseed Oil Paints performed in the manner they claim, without the issues I've questioned, every manufacturer in the world would have these products in their offerings...Paint manufacturers are not evil entities because they use solvents and chemicals in their products, they use solvents and chemicals 'cause they are necessary to provide long lasting paint films, that perform to the standard that the market has demanded...

To answer your other q's...Linseed Oil Paint must penetrate to adhere. So, it'd work fine on MDF board...Painted MDF board may be a different story. There'd be a fair amount of surface prep to ensure that kind of penetration. If the coating were removed and linseed oil were applied to a dry MDF board just to kind of re-hydrate the board, you could still use an acrylic system, but the oil should probably be allowed to dry a few weeks first.

Finally, the previous owner applied vinyl siding 'cause they didn't like to paint every 3-5 years...re-read SDS's comments. Paint doesn't peel on it's own. There are many reasons why paint may peel (as mentioned by SDS), but almost without exception, peeling is the result of poor or inadequate surface prep (and, yes, I expect a few arguments from that comment).

Hope this info helps in your decision...But as the saying goes "if it sounds too good to be true...."
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #22
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Linseed Oil Paint???


Thank you SDS and Ric for responses. This brings up more questions...and pardon my ignorance here..
When you say chalking do you mean fading, and fine dusty residue coming off on hand when paint is touched? This stuff doesn't literally wash off the walls, I hope? Charcoal rain run-off doesn't sound fantastic. But it is the no peeling aspect that I like about it. Re-applying oil every 5 yrs I think I can live with...Not having to scrape and patch every 5 years I like that too.

Considering I am not originally from the US, I have never encountered mildew? The Allback folks said the zinc white should counter that?

I believe the problem with the paint failing every 3 to 5 yrs originally is because the old paint was never removed/scraped properly. Maybe, if they had removed the paint to bare wood, they wouldn't have had the problems. That being said, a neighbor stripped all the paint off his house using a heat gun, to bare wood, about 5 years ago. For the most part it looks fantastic, BUT there are a few areas (soffits) and some windows where the new paint is peeling again. Funny how it is always the most inaccessible areas that go bad first...maybe short cuts taken on prep, because of the inaccessibility

I can assure you, if I take the time to strip the siding to raw wood and have paint failure in a few years, I will NOT be a happy camper!!!

It seems I will have to use acrylic paint on the handiplank type boards on the garage anyway, seeing as they are currently painted.

Yes Ric I am wary of the too good to be true thing....
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by lfield View Post
Thank you SDS and Ric for responses. This brings up more questions...and pardon my ignorance here..
When you say chalking do you mean fading, and fine dusty residue coming off on hand when paint is touched? This stuff doesn't literally wash off the walls, I hope? Charcoal rain run-off doesn't sound fantastic. But it is the no peeling aspect that I like about it. Re-applying oil every 5 yrs I think I can live with...Not having to scrape and patch every 5 years I like that too.

Considering I am not originally from the US, I have never encountered mildew? The Allback folks said the zinc white should counter that?

I believe the problem with the paint failing every 3 to 5 yrs originally is because the old paint was never removed/scraped properly. Maybe, if they had removed the paint to bare wood, they wouldn't have had the problems. That being said, a neighbor stripped all the paint off his house using a heat gun, to bare wood, about 5 years ago. For the most part it looks fantastic, BUT there are a few areas (soffits) and some windows where the new paint is peeling again. Funny how it is always the most inaccessible areas that go bad first...maybe short cuts taken on prep, because of the inaccessibility

I can assure you, if I take the time to strip the siding to raw wood and have paint failure in a few years, I will NOT be a happy camper!!!

It seems I will have to use acrylic paint on the handiplank type boards on the garage anyway, seeing as they are currently painted.

Yes Ric I am wary of the too good to be true thing....
Are you painting your house white? Zinc Oxide is a popular primary pigment to use by paint manufacturers, for exterior use, as it naturally inhibits mildew growth...and speaking of such, where are you from that you've never encountered mildew? Mildew has shown to be able to grow even on the North Pole...Anyway, mildew does grow here in the U.S. - especially in the south. If you're painting with any other color than white, back comes the issue of non-impeded mildew growth (...and zinc ox cannot stave off mildew indefinitely).

Yes, chalking is the release or previously bound pigments within a paint film. Chalking occurs as the resin (in this case, linseed oil) systematically breaks down due to UV light exposure - As it does so, those pigments (in this case Zinc Ox) are freed from the paint film but remain on the surface as a chalky, powdery residue. Some of this chalk may wash away rain, but usually run from the surface to areas not intended to be coated with a fine powder, such as brick, trim, plants, small children and slow moving animals. As I mentioned earlier, this chalk helps to keep your paint film clean as it takes mildew spores, dirt, dust etc. from the surface as it washes away. Unfortunately though, it's not easy to remove chalk from surfaces you don't want chalk on (see pic) and it often wreaks havoc when repainting a surface that has chalked freely.

I'm not trying to talk you into or out of painting with Linseed Oil Paint - nor Acrylic Paint...just be sure to measure both's advantages against their disadvantages as you decide.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #24
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yikes!! picture is pretty bad....small children and slow moving animals huh? that was good.

we were thinking of a charcoal- ish color with white trim. the house is currently paint white, with stucco on second floor. white stucco becomes grubby though (i think), plus we are ready for a change. the stucco guy said he could match whatever paint color i choose for the wood.

i come from south africa - grew up there and didn't own my own home...only lived in my parents homes Pretty much brick and mortar construction there, wood is not as common a building material except for rafters and trusses and particularly not for siding.
and i don't remember mildew. they probably have it but call it something else. my husband used to oil his cricket bats with linseed oil. the first homes i have owned have been in the US.

so i understand correctly: the chalky stuff helps inhibit the mildew?
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #25
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yikes!! picture is pretty bad....small children and slow moving animals huh? that was good.

we were thinking of a charcoal- ish color with white trim. the house is currently paint white, with stucco on second floor. white stucco becomes grubby though (i think), plus we are ready for a change. the stucco guy said he could match whatever paint color i choose for the wood.

i come from south africa - grew up there and didn't own my own home...only lived in my parents homes Pretty much brick and mortar construction there, wood is not as common a building material except for rafters and trusses and particularly not for siding.
and i don't remember mildew. they probably have it but call it something else. my husband used to oil his cricket bats with linseed oil. the first homes i have owned have been in the US.

so i understand correctly: the chalky stuff helps inhibit the mildew?
Well...the chalk by itself doesn't do anything for, or to the mildew...as the pigment breaks free from it's host (linseed oil) in the form of chalking, it takes anything (dust, dirt, mildew spores, etc.) away from the surface with it...That's why these type of paints were called "self-cleaning"...The pic showing the brick beneath chalky aluminum siding, is a pretty common sight around "self cleaning" paints - the aluminum siding is clean, but everything below is covered with stubborn chalk. Now, look at the earlier pic again... imagine the aluminum siding being your white painted trim, and the brick as your charcoal-ish painted siding...what happens when the white trim chalks?

Again, I'm not trying to talk you out of Allback's products, but I'd be curious to know how they achieve the charcoal-ish color - Do they tint a white with universal colorants (black, and most other universal colorants are made from organic matter and are considered a food source for mildew)? ...or are these colors factory ground (which means less Zinc Ox used in mfg.)? These same universal colorants are used in acrylic systems as well, the only difference is that acrylics do not provide food source, while linseed oil does.

Having said all these things, mildew does not have to be a death knell for a painting system...if mildew grows on a surface, it's relatively easy to remove by washing with a detergent and bleach solution (which would help to remove excess chalk also), but that may become an on-going maintenance issue.

Last edited by ric knows paint; 08-02-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by ric knows paint View Post
Linseed oil paints have a long history to back up their many, and bold claims. Unfortunately, the dis-advantages of Linseed Oil Paint aren't mentioned quite as often as the advantages. According to Allback, their products are made of organic, cold pressed linseed oil, simple driers and natural pigments - and claim these products can last 50 years or more - and virtually no peeling.

I asked in my earlier posts, that without chemical modification, how is it possible for linseed oil to behave in a manner antagonistic to it's natural tendencies...which is to chalk (freely) and provide a food source for mildew?

The answer is, it can't. To put a "maintenance" coat on every 3 or 4 years is really kinda the same thing as repainting, isn't it? But it'd be necessary to apply this maintenance coat every few years to bind in all the chalk that will be released from the linseed oil film (not to mention refreshing the color and gloss that has faded in a very short period of time)...plus, and again, what about the mold and mildew issue? If painted on the sunny side of the house, where there's little shade - and if, over time, the film is allowed to chalk (freely), there really shouldn't be a mildew problem. But what about the north side of your home, or painted siding that is protected from sunlight by shrubs and plants? ...and btw, the presence and proximity of those shrubs and plants will also contribute to probable mildew growth on a film already pretty much defenseless against mildew growth.

There are plenty of advantages to Linseed Oil Paints...unfortunately, there are as many (or more) disadvantages. To say a paint film won't peel, or that it could last 50 years or more, is not the same as saying it won't need re-painting periodically, or that it is gonna look good for those 50 years...In an earlier post, KC claimed to be a convert and commented on the chemical laden products from conventional paint manufacturers, but (and trust me on this one), if Linseed Oil Paints performed in the manner they claim, without the issues I've questioned, every manufacturer in the world would have these products in their offerings...Paint manufacturers are not evil entities because they use solvents and chemicals in their products, they use solvents and chemicals 'cause they are necessary to provide long lasting paint films, that perform to the standard that the market has demanded...

To answer your other q's...Linseed Oil Paint must penetrate to adhere. So, it'd work fine on MDF board...Painted MDF board may be a different story. There'd be a fair amount of surface prep to ensure that kind of penetration. If the coating were removed and linseed oil were applied to a dry MDF board just to kind of re-hydrate the board, you could still use an acrylic system, but the oil should probably be allowed to dry a few weeks first.

Finally, the previous owner applied vinyl siding 'cause they didn't like to paint every 3-5 years...re-read SDS's comments. Paint doesn't peel on it's own. There are many reasons why paint may peel (as mentioned by SDS), but almost without exception, peeling is the result of poor or inadequate surface prep (and, yes, I expect a few arguments from that comment).

Hope this info helps in your decision...But as the saying goes "if it sounds too good to be true...."

I cannot imagine whywhat other reason would there be?

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