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Why painters and decorators use natural linseed paint

Why painters and decorators use natural linseed paint

Commercial decorator and director of Nouveau Decor Ian Stokes specialises in heritage properties and period homes. Here Ian explains why linseed paint has since become his unique selling point and transformed his decorating business.

A realistic heritage-property finish

Ian said: “I have always been interested in using natural paints on period properties because natural paint was used back when the period homes were built; not modern synthetic pigments and plastic-added paints. The natural ingredients and colour pigments used to produce linseed paint create a more realistic finish in keeping with the heritage of the homes we decorate.

"The natural colours are also very strong and intense because the pigments are ground extremely finely allowing the pigment to be totally oil saturated,” says Ian.

Upon discovering Oricalcum linseed paint three years ago Ian decided to take a visit to the factory in Sweden. “Meeting the small dedicated production team at Ottosson gave me an insight into the care and commitment that goes into the production. It helped me appreciate their sourcing of the best quality natural ingredients and the sustainable practices employed.

linseed paint factory

Preserving a period property 

“I find modern conventional paints form a soft skin over the top of the surface you are painting. Linseed paint soaks in.” Oricalcum linseed paints are made from a high-quality oil in which the molecules are smaller than water so they penetrate deeper into wood than water.

Linseed paint's wicking capabilities draw moisture out from under the surface. “Being a breathable finish, linseed paint allows for moisture to exit the timber. The penetration of the paint alongside the removal of moisture prolongs the timber lifespan from the decaying process.”

linseed paint

Long-lasting paint

“My most recent project is an old stable barn conversation. Weather was hitting the back of the house and the owner was struggling to find paint that would last even a year without flaking and peeling.” Linseed paint works at its best when applied to bare timber. Therefore Ian stripped the old paint off using a Speedheater and applied linseed paint, confident it would easily cope with bad weather.

“It’s been two years and the paint is still as it was when we first painted it. We’re now going back to the property to paint the adjoining farmhouse in linseed paint because the owners are so pleased with the outcome. And future maintenance on the barn would only require a fresh coat or the oiling of existing coats.

"The public have become used to cheap, synthetic paints. I am trying to educate my customers on the benefits of natural linseed paint. ”

Delay the decay of period properties

Ian recommends using linseed paint to combat damp or decay as it allows moisture to be drawn out of the surface to evaporate. “Using modern synthetic paints creates a high-gloss sheen that may look attractive but it is actually filled with plastic. It’s like wrapping your house in a polythene bag. You lock the moisture in, which will result in problems with rot, damp and rust.” 

Wooden beams waxed with linseed oil wax

Healthier working environment

“As a decorator working with paint all day long, I have struggled with my chest. Using natural linseed paint has stopped that. The oil exudes a mild but inoffensive odour that is not disagreeable to work with. Alongside this, its ethical credentials are reason enough why I prefer to specialise in working with linseed paint.”

“My next project is three weeks long, working on Victorian properties in Harrogate. I will definitely be using linseed paint throughout.”

Find out more about linseed paint with our top ten reasons to use linseed paint or trial it today with a linseed sample pot.


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10 Reasons to Use Linseed Paint

10 Reasons to Use Linseed Paint

1. Long Lasting 

Linseed paint is steeped in history; traditionally used to colour and protect Swedish houses. Original coats of linseed paint still survive on these houses, which are well over 500 years old.

Linseed paint doesn’t flake or peel over time and needs little maintenance. After about 10 years it’s appearance will be slightly more matte. Many people prefer this look but you can wipe the paint with a little linseed oil which dries quickly and restores the linseed paint to its original sheen. Linseed paint also holds its original vibrant colour fantastically.  

Find out how linseed paint helped with colour confusion at Chatsworth Estate 

2. Easy to Apply

There’s no need for primers or undercoats when working with linseed paint. Therefore it’s both cost and time effective.

Unlike conventional paints, one coat of linseed paint on most surfaces is enough. By adding additional layers you can then build up an attractive satin or semi-gloss sheen. As with all paints, some wooden surfaces my lend themselves better to two coats as wood tends to soak up the initial layer. 

For best effects apply linseed paint to bare timber. A Speedheater is a phenomenal way to strip old paint.

Find out more about Speedheater

3. Stops Rot

Although linseed paint’s rich colours can transform your project, it's designed for much more than home deco. Linseed paint not only acts as a protective film over its surface, it cleverly transforms a two-way transfer of humidity to stop moisture from becoming trapped under the surface of the paint, therefore combatting rot and decay. Ultimately wood won’t rot, iron won’t rust and plaster won’t crumble. 

Beware, there is a host of paints produced using a mixture of various oils. These don’t offer the same protective properties or effects as pure Oricalcum linseed paint and should be avoided.

4. Versatile 

Wood, masonry, plaster, metal, uPVC; linseed paint will paint and protect any surface. While most brands market a range of paint products for different situations, a tin of linseed paint will paint your wooden fence, iron gate, window frame, wall, wardrobe and kitchen cupboards. 

There’s no need for matt emulsion, satinwood, eggshell or gloss versions as one linseed paint pot can transform matt into a gloss sheen simply by adding more coats. 

Check out our range of linseed paints here  

5. Cost Effective

Linseed paint is a thin, oil-based product. One tin of linseed paint will cover anything from 15-22m2 per litre. In comparison, that’s one litre of linseed paint to 2.5 litres of conventional paint. And because it doesn’t require multiple coats, linseed paint works out even cheaper.

Using your pot of linseed paint as an exterior paint and interior paint to colour and protect various surfaces means there’s less waste. Plus there’s no need for primers, undercoats, gloss or emulsion variants; it’s a one-pot-for-all paint. 

Linseed paint is so long lasting it doesn’t require reapplication every few years, making it a long-term investment.

Compare the price of Oricalcum Linseed paint to other paint brands

6. Eco-friendly

So, what is linseed paint? Basically it’s flax seeds pressed to make raw linseed oil which is then boiled. The only material added is natural powdered pigments to produce a varied colour palette. Linseed paint is made through natural, eco-friendly processes using raw, natural materials. What’s unique about linseed paint is there’s no solvents, binders or emulsifiers added, unlike conventional paints.

Linseed paint pigment

7. Odour free

Because linseed paint is such a natural product the absence of solvents, binders or emulsifiers makes it safer and more enjoyable to apply both at home or in the work place. If you’re applying linseed paint on furniture or interiors there’s no need to take your work outside or keep the windows open. Therefore you can get DIY done on the most miserable of days. 

8. Quick drying 

Linseed paint dries naturally when under the suns UV rays in 24 hours. What’s more, you can accelerate the process using a UV light. Linseed paint isn’t oily or sticky and dries to a hard finish. 

9. Vibrant colours

Forget sage and sea green. Linseed paints defy your average colour palette of exterior paints. You can transform your projects using a huge range of rich, deep colours which hold their vivid finish over time. 

What’s more, Oricalcum provides a colour match service. If you want your favourite Farrow and Ball shade transforming into a linseed paint just contact Oricalcum today.

If you’re unsure of the shade to choose that’s where Oricalcum sample pots come in.

Order an Oricalcum linseed paint sample pot

10. Tackle mould

Linseed paint contains an active ingredient called zinc white oxide which combats mould-growth. Therefore there’s no need for additional anti-mould paints or products which could effect the colour of your original paint.

If you'd like advice on using linseed paint on an upcoming project contact Oricalcum today to discuss your project needs.

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