I have doors, patio furniture and windows which all need constant attention in terms of varnish and wood sealers.

I have recently found a good contact for raw linseed oil, and would like to use something like this to preserve my wood.

What is the better choice between raw and boiled linseed and should I rather use the polywax sealers that you get in stores?

Essentially I would like to retain the lustre of the wood.

  • I've never used linsoid oil on any of my outdoor projects, so I am looking forward to seeing if anybody has an answer. Feb 17, 2013 at 22:38
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    From the resources on the internet, it says that linseed (flax oil), has excellent sealing properties, applying it to my wood really makes it look good and healthy, the only negatives i can see are that the coat needs to be re-applied quite frequently, and that the boiled oil can become sticky after a few coats.
    – Hightower
    Feb 20, 2013 at 7:06
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    And store any rags/applicators in an airtight fireproof container. The oxidation/polymerization that lindseed oil undergoes is exothermic and can set things on fire. A thin layer on a rake handle ok. A thin layer on multiple layers of fabric wadded together = disaster. Aug 18, 2013 at 22:13

12 Answers 12


I've used linseed oil on deck furniture. It gave a beautiful finish (brought out all the natural colors), and looked great for the whole summer. But by the next year it needed doing again, which I'll be doing soon. It's cheap deck furniture, so I don't mind if it degrades a little while I pretend it doesn't yet need to be retreated. Personally, I wouldn't do that with window/door trim.

IIRC, I mixed it with turpentine, which I believe helps it soak into the wood.

Elsewhere on my house I'm testing a toner product called Penofin, on some redwood. That's holding up great so far, and I'm expecting to only have to re-apply it every few years. (it contains micro metalic elements, which reflect/block some of the harmful UV light) There are plenty of Penofin competitors / alternatives too. Personally, I'd use something like that on doors/windows, or paint them.

  • Linseed will protect redwood but not stop the graying of the redwood and it will need a coat every year to do what commercial chemical products with uv inhibitors may last for 5 years outside or that has been my experiance.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2018 at 22:36

Two notes:

  • Indoors or outdoors, you want to use only boiled linseed oil (not raw).
  • Neither Home Depot nor Lowes sells genuine, boiled linseed oil. They sell only "boiled" linseed oil. What's the difference? Well, the purpose of boiling is to oxidize the oil. It is vastly easier and cheaper to add metallic or other oxidants to the oil to oxidize it; this is such a profitable issue that manufacturers successfully lobbied congress to allow them to label the containers as "boiled linseed oil" when in fact no boiling ever took place. Further, they usually do not mention, or mention only in tiny print, that chemical oxidizers were used. The chemical oxidizers do influence the color of the linseed oil, which becomes apparent only over a long time, unfortunately. They have other concerns, as well. Use only actual, boiled linseed oil. Two manufacturers are Allbäck and Ottosson, both from Sweden. I have been unable to find any others. (No, I am not Swedish and I do not own stock in either company.)
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Sep 9, 2020 at 20:46

About 35 years ago, I build an Adirondack Chair using pressure treated wood. To preserve the wood I used an old farmers recipe using Linseed oil, which follows...

Apply oil, after time to soak in, wipe excess off... | Once a day for a week | Once a week for a month | Once a month for a year... | After that, as needed

My chair as I said, is about 35 years old and it has been outside since I finished the project. enter image description here

  • I haven't seen linseed turn a wood this dark but you said it was pressure treated so the oil was just an additional protection layer.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2018 at 22:23
  • I've seen it once before. I had a butcher blocks that someone had coated in a dark varathane. I sanded it down to what appeared to be Hawaiian oak (which is almost white, and has an incredible glistening grain). I applied raw linseed oil, and the moment the oil touched it, it turned almost black. Most incredible color change I've ever seen, 15 years later the block is a very deep red colour. Apr 10, 2021 at 23:55

I have always used boiled linseed oil on the handle of my garden equipment. Wooden shovels, rakes, pickaxes, and such. That's what I thought it was for. It lasts a long time and doesn't get slick or gummy. I just get a rag wet with it and wipe it on. It should look great on some outside furniture.


We built our log cabin about 10 years from recycled logs. We wanted to protect our logs from rot, boring beetles, and carpenter ants. Originally we made a trough and soaked our logs in boiled linseed oil and kerosene, like they did in the days of yore. It is much less expensive than polyurethane and paint thinner. Linseed oil is thick so it must be thinned out to enter the pores. We are extremely satisfied with the results, especially since log homes are high maintenance. If you are considering building a log cabin from scratch. Talk yourself out of it and stick build it! Ha ha, and good luck

  • The kerosene thins it out yes but that also helps it dry without additional heat.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2018 at 22:32

I see this has an accepted answer but it depends on the type of wood redwood can last 20,30,40 years outside with no treatment at all. We used to install redwood decks around pools when I was a kid. After my Dad died and I was in the service mom had the pool filled in. After over 25 years mom wanted the side yard back and the deck removed. Prior to my dad's passing he had started a master suite on the house, mom asked me to demo the foundation and I talked her into letting me use the deck materials to make a deck on the " new" foundation in case some day the house could be expanded, that was over 20 years ago and the deck is still there I think it was sealed a few times prior to dads departure but not since and the only maintenance has been to the support beams and replacing some (many nails with screws). So it depends on the type of wood. Linseed oil will need a solvent or it will be two thick and turn the wood dark plus annual reapplication, varathane will yellow over time and needs to be stripped and reapplied we used to use clear Thompson's water seal but that had to be reapplied every 2 years in northern California but it had uv inhibitors that slowed the redwood from turning gray, again with most popular natural deck materials the wood will change color but the amount of change can be slowed, and the type of wood can make a difference, I love using linseed on inside projects with some solvent it makes a nice finish (note raw oil needs to be refrigerated or it will go bad, it is also a super natural oil for seasoning cast iron cook ware no solvent needed there). But the basics are to add a solvent to help it dry I think we used touline? Or turpentine as dad said why pay 4x for boiled that was just old flax oil with some solvent flow.


Boiled linseed oil as original treatment. At the boatyard I saw people laboring constantly to remove and repaint with numerous and sundry paints, etc. I simply spray mine with baby oil every now and then. It sheds water and does not peel and look awful like the commercial coatings. I couldnt figure out why everyone doesnt do this. If you want a 'color' or stain, mix shoe polish of your desired color in with the baby oil. Strain after mixing if you are using a sprayer as there are almost always tiny bits of the shoe polish which are hard to get to dissolve. Problem Solved! PS: I also used this mixture on leather projects! Keeps the leather soft and pliable and prevents rot/mold....beautiful. You can include boots and shoes in that use also.

  • You are welcome to edit your post to explain your first sentence which doesn't seem to fit with anything else you've written. While you're there, feel free to break your long stream of consciousness writing into some logically organized paragraphs. That will make it easier for readers to mentally digest it.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 23, 2020 at 11:14

We used linseed oil on an outside door. Big mistake as it promoted mould as the doors got the sprinkler spray. Better to use one of the commercial outdoor furniture oil as it is non-organic.

  • 1
    Not the fault of the oil but the person that set up the sprinkler, linseed hardens once cured, if raw (flax oil) it can take months, if boiled it has solvents but still takes time other than the solvents it is one of the few organic, edible, finishes and spraying with a sprinkler is the fault of the dumb azz that set the sprinkler up not the oil. It works fine on wood outside but doesn't have all the harmful stuff that is in other finishes that's why its still in use after hundreds of years if not longer.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2018 at 22:27

Boiled linseed oil does not contain and UV preventatives. The darker "oiled" color attracts and holds sunlight/heat. If you seal a piece with a higher moisture content (if you do not let it dry a day or two after last rain) you can promote decay of the teak cellular structure, like boiling it alive from inside. Its probably OK for a once a year treatment, but multiple coats may make it dark and also, it attracts bugs that feed on the oil. An older man in a boatyard shared this with me which I use with success: I use a 50/50 boiled LSO/Listerene on teak deck furniture (original medicinal flavour). The alcohol in the Listerene helps penetration, and not only does it make the oil less bug tastey, it has the added advantage of repelling mosquito's. I also make a tincture of Listerine, lemon tree leaves, lavender, a Listerine cap full of lemon juice and a small sliver cut from an Irish Spring soapbar. After sitting for a week with the botanicals in a jar, I place the small soap piece in, add 40% tap water and strain it into a spray bottle, that I use to remove tree sap, and Honey dew from my deck and patio furniture. The Irish spring keeps Spiders at bay and the other ingredients do a quick job of cleaning the sticky mess on my deck chairs and table with a spray on, wipe off ease, and... You guessed it. No mosquito's on the deck anymore. Without the soap you can spray on your person instead of OFF.


I used very old indoor wooden gates from a cattle farm ....and made small swinging gates for my miniature horse pastures. I heavily apply boiled linseed oil with a paint brush in the spring and again every fall. They look fabulous and have held up so far. The oil does darken the wood considerably.


It's better to have a first coat of boiled linseed oil with some sort of iron oxide colourant in it. I usually use a mix of red/a tiny bit of brown/a tiny bit of black, to either make a solid paint, or a stain in varying strengths. Then I apply clear coats on top. The oxide provides some uv protection, as well as pest deterrent properties. It comes in a lot of earthy colours.

You can boil raw linseed oil yourself, however it can be a dangerous process, make all enquiries and do your research if you want to attempt it.

I follow the "once a day for a week, once a week for a month, and once a month for a year" practice. The only caveat being that the first week, I do all the coats thinned with turpentine. About 70% BLO to about 30% turps, but I just eyeball it.

I have outdoor furniture of varying woods, all treated this way. Have lasted for years! I re-oil them every year on Halloween, that's in spring here in Australia.


We use it on actual tow behind trailer decks, it needs done once a year but prolongs the life of the treated wood that's on there.

  • This doesn't answer the question.
    – Tester101
    Jun 16, 2015 at 12:00

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