Linseed Oil for Outdoor Furniture: The Ultimate Guide

Ah, the great outdoors! A place where we gather with friends and family to enjoy nature, laughter, and – let’s not forget – our beloved outdoor furniture.

But how do we keep our wood furnishings looking their best year after year? The answer, my friend, is oiling. Specifically, linseed oil.

But why linseed oil, you ask? We’ll tell you all about it in this ultimate guide to using linseed oil for outdoor furniture. So, grab a comfy seat, and let’s dive in!

The Importance of Oiling Outdoor Furniture

Maintaining the quality and longevity of outdoor wooden furniture necessitates consistent care, primarily due to the inherent vulnerability of wood to environmental factors. Sunlight, rain, and humidity are among the elements that can cause significant damage to wood, leading to warping, cracking, or even rotting.

Oil application is one of the most effective strategies to counteract these potential issues. This method not only serves as a protective shield against harmful elements but also penetrates deep into the wood, offering resistance to moisture and preventing the wood from drying out and cracking.

Beyond its protective role, oiling also contributes to the furniture’s aesthetic value. It accentuates the natural grain and color of the wood, imparting a rich, warm glow that can significantly elevate the visual appeal of your outdoor space.

Lastly, the practice of oiling can significantly extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture. Mitigating damage and slowing down deterioration helps maintain the furniture’s strength and structural integrity over a longer period. Thus, regular oiling is crucial to outdoor wooden furniture maintenance, offering both protective and aesthetic benefits.

Pros and Cons of Using Linseed Oil for Outdoor Furniture

Linseed oil has long been a favorite among woodworkers and for a good reason. This versatile oil offers protection against the elements, preserves wood, and enhances aesthetics. But before we wax poetic on linseed oil, let’s look at other popular oils to see how they stack up.

The Variety of Oils for Outdoor Furniture

There are many options when it comes to oils for outdoor furniture, but some of the most popular include tung oil, teak oil, and Danish oil. Each oil has its pros and cons, so let’s see how they compare to linseed oil.

Tung Oil vs. Linseed Oil

Tung oil, derived from the nut of the tung tree, is known for its durability and water resistance.

However, applying it can be more challenging and takes longer to dry than linseed oil. Linseed oil, on the other hand, is easier to work with and dries more quickly.

Teak Oil vs. Linseed Oil

Teak oil is a blend of oils and solvents, designed to penetrate and protect dense hardwoods like teak. While teak oil offers excellent protection, it can darken the wood, which may not be ideal for lighter wood furniture.

Linseed oil, conversely, enhances the wood’s natural color without darkening it too much.

Danish Oil vs. Linseed Oil

Danish oil combines oil and varnish, providing protection and a smooth, satin finish. While Danish oil offers an attractive finish, it may not provide the same level of protection as linseed oil, particularly when it comes to outdoor furniture.

Raw or Boiled Linseed Oil for Outdoor Furniture: Which is Better?

Linseed oil comes in two varieties: raw and boiled. Each has its own set of characteristics, pros, and cons, so let’s delve into the details.

Raw Linseed Oil for Outdoor Furniture

Raw linseed oil is the pure, unprocessed oil extracted from flaxseed. It penetrates deeply into the wood, nourishing and protecting it. However, raw linseed oil takes a long time to dry, which can be a drawback for some applications.


  • Deep penetration
  • Excellent nourishment for wood
  • Provides natural protection


  • Long drying time
  • Can attract dirt and dust during drying
  • May not be suitable for all wood types

Boiled Linseed Oil for Outdoor Furniture

Boiled linseed oil is raw linseed oil processed with additives to speed up the drying time. It provides similar benefits to raw linseed oil but is more practical for outdoor furniture applications.


  • Faster drying time
  • Easier application
  • Suitable for most wood types


  • May contain chemical additives
  • Slightly less penetration compared to raw linseed oil
  • Can still take a few days to fully cure

Linseed Oil and Turpentine Mixtures

The purpose of mixing linseed oil with turpentine is to create a thinner, more easily absorbed solution. Turpentine helps the oil penetrate deeper into the wood, providing better protection and a smoother finish.

Application Techniques and Benefits

Mixing Ratio: A common mixture ratio is one part turpentine to two parts linseed oil. However, you can adjust the ratio depending on the desired consistency and penetration.

Surface Preparation: Ensure the wood surface is clean and dry before applying the mixture. Sand the surface to remove any old finish and to promote better oil absorption.

Application: Using a brush or a clean cloth, apply the linseed oil and turpentine mixture to the wood surface. Apply evenly and allow the wood to soak up the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth.

Reapplication: For optimal protection, apply multiple coats of the mixture, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. Typically, two to three coats should suffice.

The benefits of using a linseed oil and turpentine mixture include increased wood protection, a smoother finish, and enhanced penetration.

By following the application techniques and maintaining your outdoor furniture with regular oiling, you can ensure that your wooden pieces remain in top-notch condition for years.

Selecting the perfect linseed oil for your outdoor furniture

Now that we’ve established the benefits of linseed oil for outdoor furniture, let’s dive into selecting the perfect oil for your needs. By considering key factors and exploring recommended brands, you’ll be well on your way to giving your furniture the protection and care it deserves.

Key Factors to Consider

When choosing the ideal linseed oil for your outdoor furniture, keep these three key factors in mind:

Wood Type: Different woods may react differently to various oils. Ensure the linseed oil you choose suits your furniture’s specific wood type.

Climate Conditions: Your local climate can impact the linseed oil’s performance. For instance, if you live in a particularly humid area, you may need a more water-resistant oil.

Desired Finish: Linseed oil can provide different finishes, from matte to semi-glossy. Consider the look you want for your furniture before selecting the oil.

Recommended Linseed Oil Brands

While many linseed oil brands are available, some stand out for their quality and performance. Here are a few recommendations:

Tried & True Wood Finish: This brand offers a range of linseed oil-based finishes, made from natural, renewable ingredients. Their products are environmentally friendly and provide a beautiful, long-lasting finish.

Sunnyside Corporation Boiled Linseed Oil: Sunnyside’s boiled linseed oil is known for its high-quality formulation and ease of use. This brand offers an excellent balance of protection and aesthetics.

Old Masters 100% Pure Tung Oil: Although not a linseed oil, this tung oil product is worth mentioning for those who desire a highly water-resistant finish. This 100% pure tung oil offers exceptional durability and protection for outdoor furniture.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Linseed Oil on Outdoor Furniture

Ready to give your outdoor furniture the royal treatment? Follow this step-by-step guide to properly apply linseed oil and enjoy the benefits of well-maintained wood furniture.

Prepping Your Furniture

Before applying linseed oil, you must prepare your furniture to ensure the best possible results. Here’s how:

Cleaning the Furniture: Remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the furniture using a soft brush or cloth. You can use a mild soap and water solution for stubborn stains, ensuring the furniture is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Sanding the Surface: Sand your furniture with fine-grit sandpaper (120 to 220 grit) to remove any old finish and open up the wood grain for better oil absorption. Be sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain, and don’t forget to wipe away any sanding dust with a clean cloth.

The Linseed Oil Application Process

Now that your furniture is prepped, it’s time to apply the linseed oil. Follow these steps for a successful application:

How to Apply Linseed Oil Correctly: Using a clean, lint-free cloth or a natural bristle brush, apply a thin, even layer of linseed oil to the wood surface. Work in the direction of the wood grain, and ensure full coverage.

Removing Excess Oil: Allow the linseed oil to soak into the wood for 30 minutes. Then, use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess oil, ensuring a smooth and even finish.

Reapplication and Maintenance Frequency: Depending on the specific oil and your furniture’s exposure to the elements, you may need to reapply linseed oil every 6 to 12 months. Regular maintenance will help keep your outdoor furniture in tip-top shape and looking its best.

Linseed oil for specific types of outdoor furniture

Different types of outdoor furniture may require unique approaches when it comes to applying linseed oil. Let’s explore how linseed oil can be used for various types of outdoor furniture.

Linseed Oil for Garden Furniture

Often made from hardwood or softwood, garden furniture can benefit significantly from linseed oil application. It provides a natural finish that enhances the wood’s appearance while protecting against weather-related wear and tear.

Regular application of linseed oil will ensure your garden furniture remains beautiful and functional for years.

Linseed Oil for Teak Outdoor Furniture

Teak is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability and resistance to decay. However, teak can still benefit from linseed oil application.

Linseed oil nourishes the wood, maintaining its natural color and preventing it from turning gray over time. Clean and prepare the teak surface before applying linseed oil for the best results.

Linseed Oil for Exterior Wood

Exterior wood, such as decks, fences, and other wooden structures, can also benefit from linseed oil application.

Linseed oil protects the wood from moisture, UV rays, and temperature changes while maintaining its natural appearance. Regular maintenance with linseed oil will help prolong the life of your exterior wood structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s address some common questions about linseed oil and its use on outdoor furniture.

Does linseed oil waterproof wood?

While linseed oil does not completely waterproof wood, it provides water resistance by repelling water and preventing moisture absorption, consider adding a few coats of spar varnish for increased water resistance on top of the linseed oil.

How long does linseed oil last on wood?

The longevity of linseed oil on wood can vary depending on climate, exposure to the elements, and the type of linseed oil used. Generally, linseed oil can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months before needing reapplication.

How many coats of linseed oil are needed for outdoor furniture?

Two to three coats of linseed oil are typically recommended for outdoor furniture. Applying multiple coats will help ensure optimal protection and a beautiful finish. Be sure to allow each coat to dry before applying the next.

Can I use linseed oil on all types of outdoor furniture?

While linseed oil is suitable for most types of wooden outdoor furniture, ensuring that the oil is compatible with the specific wood type used in your furniture is essential. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or test a small, inconspicuous area before applying linseed oil to the entire piece.

Final Tips and Recommendations for Linseed Oil Application

To make the most of linseed oil, keep these final tips in mind:

  • Always prepare the wood surface by cleaning and sanding before applying linseed oil.
  • Apply thin, even coats of linseed oil, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
  • Regularly reapply linseed oil to maintain optimal protection and appearance.
  • Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or test a small area before applying linseed oil to your outdoor furniture.

Following these tips and recommendations ensures your outdoor furniture stays protected and looks its best for years. Enjoy your outdoor living spaces with the confidence that your furniture is well-maintained