Linseed oil Paint for timber windows

25 Jan 2011
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United Kingdom
Does anyone have experience of linseed oil paint? In my search for new windows I came across this product:

My dilemma is as follows: I am renovating and extending a house built in 1920s, built in red brick/slate roof and would have originally have had timber casement windows painted white (some neighbours still have the originals in place). A lot of people (including my builder) recommend pvc windows for reasons of cost and alleged low maintenance.

Personally I don't like them and find them out of keeping with the property. I am keen to have timber windows but put off by the idea of frequent repainting. I had ruled out softwood windows (which would be the same price as pvc) because everyone tells me they will be rotten in 3-5 years and are a waste of time.

If I had hardwood windows I would be painting them white - the repainting would be a big job around every 3 years I'm told.

The upside of softwood would be cost (same as pvc) and environmental (sustainable resource).

So imagine my surprise when I came across linseed oil paint, apparently a product used for generations but abandoned in the post war period for our modern paints which allegedly are responsible for rotting windows due to not allowing the wood to breathe, trapping moisture and aiding the rot.

According to Holkham even softwood will require a coat of linseed oil then 3 coats of paint, then only a coat of linseed oil 7 years later and a single coat of paint a further 7 years later.

Does anyone have experience of this, and can it really make softwood windows a viable low maintenance option?
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See my thread on Holkham oil paint vs Bedec Barn vs Dulux weathershield.

Windows rotted in 5 years? Bit of an exaggeration eh?
I have seen them rot in less than 1 year, mind customer never put any topcoats on as they were supposed to.

If your having double glazed windows made bare in mind linseed oil is one of the worst things for breaking down the seal on DGU's.

Pvc has come a long way since the old days, Have you seen Residence 9 windows?
The main site seems to be down at the moment but there are some good pic on google:
Having looked again at the OP's post date, I'd hope this matter were now settled.

But thanks for that link. Though the windows might not compete environmentally (depending on how long they last), they look dead good from what I can can see.

Can you get them in other colours, or only brilliant white?
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As for environmental issues PVC is now recyclable many times and is more thermally efficient than wood due to the multiple chambers. The R9 windows are 100mm thick with 9 chambers.

I cant see why modern PVC windows cant last for ever really. All the locks and hinges are pretty standardized nowadays so future replacements shouldn't be a problem like some old windows.
The PVC windows in my house are about 25 years old now with no problems, I haven't had to replace a single hinge, handle or DGU yet and they are still clean and white.
To be frank, I wonder how truthful the claim is that PVC windows fall apart really is.

In a sun-trap, my own ones have served since (I believe) 1990, so that is 25 years. They are showing their age, but could probably be refurbished if the sill end-caps were available.

And, although A+ rated timber windows are available, I do wonder how widely available, affordable, etc.

I suppose sometimes you just have to do the best you can rather than worry about the nth degree. I do know people who have solar PV, and thermal, and a condensing boiler, but then have to heat water using electricity all summer because their heating system has no separate pipe runs for the water cylinder. Mad!

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