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About exterior linseed paint

Forget everything you knew about paint.

Linseed oil paint will transform the way you paint. It lasts pretty much forever without needing to be reapplied, and doesn’t flake or peel. It’s environmentally friendly, doesn’t have a strong smell, dries in 24 hours, and is extremely cost-effective. It doesn’t even need primers or undercoats. How amazing is that? Plus, it comes in a rich palette of beautiful colours.

We now also have an interior range specifically for walls. This has a different composition to the Exterior Range and works in a slightly different way. For more information on this range, please have a look on the Interior Range page.

For reference, all info below relates to the 'exterior' paint.


What’s linseed paint made from?

Flax seed is pressed to make raw linseed oil, which is boiled to make it more durable and quick-drying. We then add a small amount of drying agent and  powdered pigments – which are all entirely natural. That’s it: no solvents, binders or synthetic emulsifiers. 

What’s the history of linseed oil paint?

In Sweden, Denmark and many other parts of Europe, there’s a long tradition of painting the interiors and exteriors of buildings with linseed oil paint. Original coats of linseed paint have survived perfectly well on houses which are well over 500 years old.

How does linseed paint work?

How linseed paint works is not rocket science. Let us explain in a short animation.

Which surfaces can you apply linseed paint to?

Linseed oil paint can be applied to any surface, including wood, masonry, plaster and metal. It’s especially popular for exteriors because it’s so durable and strong, and doesn’t need reapplying after a few years (so it’s ideal for difficult-to-reach and high places). It’s not sticky or oily in any way, so you could even use it to paint the inside of a wardrobe.

How well does it protect the surface?

Linseed oil paint really does protect against all weathers: once painted, wood won’t rot, iron won’t rust, and plaster won’t crumble. It has fantastic wicking properties, permitting the two-way transfer of humidity instead of trapping moisture under an impermeable film.

What can you paint with linseed oil paint?

Virtually anything. That includes timber, masonry, plaster, metal – and even uPVC, should you want to! 

How do you apply and dry linseed oil paint?

Just apply linseed paint directly onto your clean surface – no need for primer or undercoat. You don’t need loads of layers; one will often do, although wood may take two coats as the paint tends to soak in a little. You can apply additional layers if you want to build up a satin or semi-gloss sheen. Linseed oil paint dries by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, so it will dry naturally in about 24 hours (but you can choose to accelerate this with a UV light source). The paint dries to a very hard, durable finish.

Is linseed paint expensive?

Far from it. Not only is a tin of linseed paint fairly inexpensive (especially compared to some of the heritage paint brands in the UK) but it’s a thin paint, so you’ll cover anything from 15-22m2 per litre, depending on the material you’re painting. We don’t know of any other paint which offers such cost-effective coverage. And there’s less waste, because the same tin of paint will paint any surface (no need for different versions). And on top of all that, you don’t need to repaint every few years!

Amount of paint needed to apply 3 coats to 10 windows

Linseed oil paint

1 litre

Conventional paint

2.5 litres

Which finish of linseed paint do you need to buy?

There’s just one kind, and it paints anything. So you can use the same paint for timber, masonry, metal and plaster. The same paint lets you build up a glossy sheen simply by adding more coats, so there’s no need for matte emulsions or satinwood, eggshell or gloss versions.

Why is it so environmentally friendly?

Linseed paint only contains oil from natural flax seed plus natural pigments. There are no smelly or toxic solvents, binders or emulsifiers. And with such simple ingredients, no big, dirty refineries are needed to manufacture it, either!

Why is linseed paint nicer to use?

Linseed oil paint has a rich but gentle odour. If you’re painting indoors, there’s no need to keep the windows open or to worry about headaches and dizziness.

Does it need maintaining?

That’s up to you. After about 10 years, you’ll see that your linseed paint has become a little more matte. Some people prefer that effect, and wait eagerly for it. Others prefer to wipe the paint with a little linseed oil every few years, which dries quickly and restores the sheen.

“I think I’ve seen something like this before…”

Please be careful! Many inferior substitutes are on offer, some of which are mixtures of various oils. They can’t be recommended and won’t have the same properties or effects.

Is there any technical information?

Please have a look at our technical data sheets and we also try to answer most queries on our FAQs page.