Painting On Different Surfaces With Linseed Paint


1. Prepare Surface:

The first step is to prepare the surface. Like any surface this needs to be clean, dry and free of dust. Sand down the surface with sandpaper, ideally 120 grit. For the most long-lasting results paint onto untreated/bare timber or remove all previous plastic paint. (You can paint on top of existing plastic paint, but it is likely that Linseed Oil Paint will not last as long and there may be a reaction. Go to step 5 if painting onto existing paint.) Old existing linseed or lead paint does not need removing as it is the perfect substrate.

2. Apply Knotting Primer:

If there are any knots these need to be treated with shellac knotting primer, especially on new timber where there is usually more sap. This will seal the knot. When doing this use a cheap brush as the brush will go hard when you have finished. You can use it over and over again with the shellac knotting primer but you can’t clean it for painting with after use with the knotting primer. Apply two coats of knotting primer and allow 30 minutes between coats for drying.

3. Applying the Primer Coat:

3.1 Ready Mixed Primer Coat:

To be used with our Exterior Linseed Oil Paint when painting on exterior timber. Now there is no need to mix your own primer coat of paint, raw linseed oil and balsam turpentine. Made from natural ingredients and pigments, our Primer is already mixed to the correct ratios and, after a thorough stir, ready to use. One coat of this Primer is the perfect base for any of the colours in our beautiful Exterior Linseed Oil Paint collection.

It comes in three shades:




3.2 Mixing your own Primer Coat:

Should you wish to mix up your own primer coat then follow the instructions on the 'mixing a primer' page.

4. Applying the Primer:

The mixture is thinner than the paint and we are not trying to get an even coverage of colour with this coat just for the oil and pigment to be absorbed into the wood. Use long brush strokes to gently work the paint into the timber. The area will be very patchy when finished, with some areas being very matt and others having more of a sheen. The matt areas are where the oil has soaked into the wood, the more glossy where it is sitting on the surface.

5. Applying Topcoats:

The two topcoats can be applied using paint straight from the tin. Stir thoroughly. Always apply in thin coats. Apply the paint when the surface is dry to the touch. This will vary according to the conditions, the amount of UV (sunlight) and how thickly it has been applied but we would say allow 24 hours between coats. A second topcoat of linseed oil paint should be sufficient to give you an excellent finish.



We often get asked if you can paint linseed oil paint on top of existing paint when painting exterior substrates. Our strong advice is to remove all existing paint, primers and varnishes (unless it is linseed paint) as this will impede the wicking properties and longevity of linseed oil paint. If you cannot remove the existing paint, clean and sand the surface and apply two coats of linseed paint straight from the tin as per step 5 above.



You can use Exterior Linseed Oil Paint on interior woodwork (e.g. doors, skirting, window and door frames, flooring, staircases). No need to prepare a priming coat when using Exterior Paint on indoor woodwork. Stir thoroughly before applying, then as per step 5 above, just apply the paint in thin coats straight from the tin - two coats should be enough. Drying times may be longer indoors as there is less UV light. 



For bare MDF apply as for exterior woodwork steps 3-5.

For laminated MDF clean, degrease and lightly key. Then apply a couple of thin coats straight from the tin as per step 5.



Make sure the surface is clean and dry with no flaking rust. Use a wire brush to prepare the surface if necessary.

Stir thoroughly before applying two coats of Linseed Oil Iron Oxide Metal Primer (straight from the tin, no need to add any other products) on untreated or un-primed metal. Finish off with two coats (straight from the tin) of Graphite or an Exterior Linseed Oil Paint in a colour of your choice. Don’t forget to stir the paint as you are working with it to ensure the pigments are thoroughly mixed in.

If the metal is already treated / primed, then you don’t need to use the Linseed Oil Iron Oxide Primer but be aware that the topcoats will only perform as well as the product they are sitting on. We would always advise stripping back to bare metal and prime with two coats of Linseed Oil Iron Oxide Primer before using Exterior Linseed Oil Paint.



Exterior Linseed Oil Paint can be used on masonry surfaces (e.g. stone, brick, terracotta). Make sure the surface is dry, clean and free from any flaking paint. Just apply two thin coats straight from the tin. Depending on the absorption level, softer masonry surfaces may require a first coat of 50% paint / 50% raw linseed oil to make the paint easier to brush on an absorbing substrate.

(For 100% lime render / lime plaster we advise using a lime wash / lime paint. If there is some cement mixed in with lime render, then you can apply linseed paint as if it is a masonry surface.)



Ensure the surface is clean and dry. Apply two thin coats of Exterior Linseed Oil Paint straight from the tin (no need to thin the first coat down). Make sure linseed oil paint does not touch the rubber seal on glazing units as it may degrade it. For more information take a look at the diagram on using linseed paint with double glazing. Please note that the maintenance cycle on UPVC will differ from timber because linseed paint does not absorb into the substrate in the same way.



Our paint works best with our Linseed Oil Putty – you can paint over Linseed Oil Putty with thin coats straight from the tin once a skin has formed on the putty and the paint brush doesn’t drag it.

Linseed paint adheres to most substances, but it is always advisable to do a test first on chemical/plastic fillers. When applying over other fillers always build up in very thin coats – do not overcompensate by applying thickly if it doesn’t look as though it has adhered with the first coat.