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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm looking for feedback on using linseed oil paint (like Allback), but haven't exactly found a wealth of information on experiences with it as an exterior house paint.

Thanks.
 

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Used to put linseed oil in oil base paint to give it more of a "soak into the wood" ability, but I can't say I have heard of the paint brand of which you speak.
 

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Yeah, I was wondering why in G*d's name you'd want to do that in the first place?!?!?:huh:

Linseed oil IS very old-school, takes FOREVER to dry, and can be very mildew-prone.

There's a REASON info. on it is hard to find....

I'd rather side my house with CARDBOARD than use Linseed oil:whistling2:!!

Faron
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. Just looking at options, and the lack of first-hand experiences wasn't building my confidence.
 

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Are ya planning an exterior re-paint soon?

What kinda siding, age of home, state, climate, etc. are ya talkin'??
What condition is existing siding in?

Faron
 

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I'd still give thought to using a mix of mineral spirits and processed lindseed oil as the first coat for some soft wood interior trim like pine that was to remain clear finished. I cannot think of any use for raw lindseed oil. I guess some fine artists still use it in their work. I do see it in quarts at the paint store.
 

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jschaben
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used to mix linseed oil and paint thinner as a first coat or two over old weathered barns before topcoating with an oil based paint. Took in the neighborhood of 3 weeks between coats. Still use boiled linseed oil. Great treatment for MDF jigs and fixtures. Just keep putting it on till it doesn't soak in anymore, then wipe off the excess. When it dries, about two days, the MDF has a smooth, hard, wear resistant "shell":whistling2:
 

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Well, the OP is either playing catch-up to modern times - or ahead of the game, on the paint curve; your choice...

There are not that many practicing painters who have experience with linseed oil paints because that common practice went out before WWII; the paint industry came of age around then and has become a giant along with the (related) oil industry. They're connected at the hip because the oil industry is where resins and solvents come from. The poor paint industry is under some pressure to remove solvents (which it can) and resins (which it can't), so it is basically stuck.

So, consumers who wonder why the heck am I painting my house again after 5 years with acrylics are stating to look elsewhere. Ergo: linseed oil paints. You got 30 years out of a paint job way back when, so how come we're only getting 5-10 years now?

Trouble is farmers are encouraged to sow almost anything but flaxseed in order to keep the likes of MacDonalds hamburger buns on the menu; but Northern Sweden and Saskatchewan are 2 areas of the world who do grow crops of flax - the required indredient for linseed oil paints - so that's where you'll find linseed oil paints.

I think the regular consumer gets duped into thinking "my house should be painted every 5 years". Know what's better? start looking around for better ways to accomplish your objectives. IMO linseed oil paints are one possibility I know I am interested in.
 

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I hope you are correct and we do see exploration into paint alternatives. And perhaps a look at the past is a place to start. As mentioned in a prior post, because they are highly organic, things like lindseed oil tend to be prone to things like mold and mildew. Processing them helps but adds inevitably to the cost.

Comparisons of paints used in the US and with its type of construction to elsewhere in the World are interesting. Lime finishes come to mind that have managed to stay on exteriors (and interiors) for hundreds of years without redoing them every five. And how about Venician plasters and wallpapers that have been in place for ages.

You know, we get so motivated to use low VOCs but every five years we forget the other environmental impacts that come with needing to finish that often.

On the other hand, we are blessed with incredible access to vibrant color never before possible in older chemistry suspensions.
 

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Agreed. I forgot to mention lead pigments...I am sure we can come up with something that improves the older paints, too. The colour pallette may not be what we are used to.
 

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Linseed oil paint

I know I am a few years too late for this forum question but I am a user of linseed oil paint and I can tell you from a preservation AND green point of view that this paint is INCREDIBLE. I have a clapboard home built in 1863 and I have been using linseed oil paint in the restoration of the exterior of our home. The paint on the front has been there for four years and looks as though I painted it yesterday. The initial labour is great- not in the painting but in the prep work. The paint was removed back to bare wood, then, I applied a coat of organic, boiled linseed oil ( no pigment) as my primer, then two coats of linseed oil paint. I have never seen water bead on paint like it does on this stuff. I will not have to paint again for 50 years, and at that time, I will not have to scrape or sand, just apply more paint. In 5-7 years I simply brush on linseed oil-straight up- no pigment-to refresh the paint. I have seen no mildew at all and my home is very shaded and sees minimal sun. I live in Canada and experience all seasons. For all those naysayers out there who would rather clad their homes in cardboard, I will never change their minds, but for those of you who are looking for a viable alternative to scraping and sanding your home every 5 years or so, and a great extension to the life of your exterior wood-this is definitely IT!!! I will never, ever buy Chemical laden paint again. Nor, will I buy pressure treated fencing or decking. This paint will do it all. And while I'm at it, I recently spent about an hour reprinting my cast iron urns that sit in front of my home and they look spectacular too. One coat of paint and all the rust is gone!!! You can even undercoat your car with this stuff! I am a convert and for those of you who think I'm crazy, feel free to keep filling the pockets of the chemical laden paint industry-every 5 years or so...I have found a better way! I would love to answer your questions about it.
 

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From what I have read we got away from Lindseed oil paints because of price. Lindseed oils act more like a stain so they flake off and you never really see them peel and you used to get 20 years out of a paint job. It only made sense for manufacturers to switch to cheaper ingredients then had people coming back after 5 or 10 years rather than 20.
 

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Times are changing

Linseed oil paint is no more expensive than a high end exterior paint that will fail in a short time 5-7 years. It is pricier by volume, however the linseed oil paint goes way further. Especially if you prime with boiled linseed oil. when we did the math we found that linseed oil paint was the same cost as a Benjamin Moore which I would have to paint over again in a few years. AND SCRAPE! I won't ever have to scrape again. Having used the paint on my own house I can tell you unequivocally that it is not at all like stain, in fact the paint is so thick that it actually stands in peaks when stirred. If you wan to use it as a stain, all you have to do is cut the paint with 50/50 linseed oil to paint. I will admit that if using linseed oil paint you have to be patient with the drying time. You have to wait about 48 hours between coats and it will be wet for days. That being said, the reason for this is because there is no off-gassing, only absorbsion and hardening. it expands and contracts with the weather. The troubles with old-school linseed oil paint have been solved with modern processing techniques. I have tried it and I will never paint anything outside with anything else EVER! My house has been standing since 1863 and with this paint it's good to go for another 100 at least. There is a reason that historical societies everywhere are ordering it in droves. Please understand that I am not a dealer of this paint. There is only ONE guy in all of Canada who is licensed to sell the stuff here, and that guy isn't me. I just love the stuff, I can't say enough about it and I just want to spread the linseed oil gospel. I want to help other restoration junkies like myself who have undertaken the responsibility of restoring a historical home do the best thing for their homes, and anyone who has exterior wood on your home- this is the answer to avoiding plastic as a solution to not painting every 5 years. Really exciting stuff. I shall post some photos of the front of my home so you can see how it looks 4 years after painting. I am also in the process of stripping the side of my home so that it will match the front-I can show you that also.
 

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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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jschaben
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Dunno about the rest but I consider your responses always welcome and information, regardless of the length.. Thanks:thumbup:
 

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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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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! :furious:

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?...
 
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