Why doesn’t everyone use linseed oil paint?

Why doesn’t everyone use linseed oil paint?

Pure, natural and beautiful or complicated, yellowing and takes ages to dry? There are many different opinions on linseed oil paint. In order to get some clarity, we have talked to Mikkel Selder, CEO and founder of Selder & Co. With 35 years in the industry, Mikkel Selder is an expert on linseed oil paint..


Why do you advocate linseed oil paint over other types of paint?


– Linseed oil is a natural product and a living paint, says Mikkel Selder. It’s free of chemicals, with only a small amount of solvents, making it environmentally friendly. In addition, the only smell it gives off is a faint, pleasant scent of linseed oil.


Linseed oil paint has an long history and today it used extensively when restoring buildings. It comprises a mixture of refined linseed oil and colour pigments which are milled together – a method for mixing oil and pigments.


The paint, which can be used on almost any surface, penetrates into the pores of the surface, has a strong adhesive qualities and protects well against moisture.


Is there anything you can’t use linseed-oil paint for?


– Well, it’s not ideal for ordinary indoor walls. If you walls are newly skimmed and absolutely smooth it will be fine but on older walls, areas that have been filled in will show up.


Is painting with linseed oil paint as compicated as many think?


– No, it’s actually not that difficult, but there are variations in how thick each coat should be and the recommended drying time depending on which brand you are using brands (see recommendations for Selder & Co in box below).


– In order to get the best possible results we always recommend that you use a primer. Some materials absorb a lot of paint in which case you should treat the surface with oil first. Then apply the paint with a good synthetic brush, aiming to make your layers as even as possible.


– If you working on large, smooth surfaces, you can apply the paint using a short-pile roller for gloss paint and then go over it with a paintbrush. You can also use a spray gun.


With proper priming, two coats of paint should give you the finish you are looking for. Brushes should be cleaned with coarse soap – remember to never put them in water as it destroys the brushes.


– One idea is to have a couple of brushes on the go so that you always have a dry brush to use if you are working for a long time.


“Used indoors, the paint will last for between 30 and 40 years without maintenance.”


Is it true that the paint yellows over time?


– Well, what happens is that the paint yellows in dark rooms and brightens in daylight, but this process takes a long time and is nothing you need to worry too much about.


When exposed to bright daylight UV rays break down the adhesive in the paint, which contributes to it losing its shine. A coat of oil will solve this problem. Indoors, the paint retains its appearance for 30-40 years without maintenance, provided the room receives normal daylight.


How sensitive is the painted surface?


– Surfaces painted with linseed oil can withstand most things except strong alkaline solutions – liquids with a high pH value of 10 and higher, because this causes corrosion. Linseed oil soap should definitely not be used as it dissolves the paint.

– All soap is alkaline in nature and it should not be used. Instead, you can clean the painted surfaces with a mild detergent that has a low or neutral pH value. The Ph value should be on the packaging.


“It was the paint industry that taught consumers that it is normal to have to re-paint every five years.”


If linseed oil paint has so many advantages, why doesn’t everyone use it all the time?


– We ask ourselves the same question! When synthetic paints started being produced due to a lack of raw materials, the result was paint that was easy to paint with, which was appreciated by many people.

– What they didn’t consider was that this was a transition from paint that penetrated to paint that just sat on the surface. This means that the surface cannot breathe which can cause it to rot.

– It was the paint industry that taught consumers that it is normal to have to repaint every five years and to wash their facades regularly to keep them looking good. If they had tried this in the 20s, people would not have accepted it.


Facts: Selder & Co

  • Selder & Co’s linseed oil paint is Swan eco-labelled and has the highest rating in the Building Materials Assessment.
  • Selder & Co’s linseed oil paint is available in all NCS colours.
  • Selder & Co’s linseed oil paint should be painted in a slightly thicker layer than is often advocated by other brands.
  • If the paint is used indoors drying time is about 24 hours. Outside, drying time is somewhat longer depending on the conditions.