The Comprehensive Guide to Using Linseed Oil on Cedar

Are you looking to upgrade your outdoor living space with a cedar deck or consider a sturdy cedar fence for added privacy? You’ve made an excellent choice! Cedar is a top-tier wood for these purposes.

But, just like any other wood, cedar needs maintenance. Enter linseed oil—a tried-and-true solution for wood treatment that breathes new life into cedar.

This comprehensive guide will explore the intersection of linseed oil and cedar wood, revealing the secrets of their perfect symbiosis.

Understanding Cedar Wood

Cedar—its name alone brings images of stately trees and a truly unparalleled scent. But there’s more to cedar than meets the eye.

The popularity of this wood spans from the warmth of its rich red-brown hues to its robust resilience against harsh weather and damaging insects. Whether you’ve chosen cedar for siding or decking, it’s a choice that marries aesthetics and longevity.

However, even with these natural protective properties, cedar isn’t invincible. Over time, exposure to the elements can lead to discoloration and degradation.

Here’s where linseed oil comes in, ready to protect your cedar fence, cedar deck, or cedar siding from time and weather’s relentless onslaught.

The Role of Linseed Oil in Wood Treatment

If you’re not familiar with linseed oil, let’s change that. Linseed oil is derived from the seeds of the flax plant. Not only does it boast a rich history in painting and nutrition, but it has also been a go-to for wood treatment since immemorial.

Linseed oil penetrates deep into the wood, replenishing natural oils lost over time or through harsh weather conditions. Its use doesn’t stop at merely offering protection; it also enhances the wood’s natural beauty.

The wood grain becomes more pronounced, and the color is enriched, especially in a beautiful wood like cedar.

What about boiled linseed oil, you ask? Well, ‘boiled’ is somewhat of a misnomer—it’s not boiled traditionally but treated with solvents to speed up drying time. This version offers a quicker application process, making it a preferred choice for larger projects.

In the following sections of this guide, we’ll delve into how you can use linseed oil to treat your cedar, revealing expert tips for the best outcomes. We’ll show you why, when it comes to preserving cedar, linseed oil is a frontrunner in the race. So, if you want longevity for your cedar installations, stay tuned!

Benefits of Linseed Oil on Cedar

Now that we’ve covered what cedar wood and linseed oil are let’s unveil why these two are a match made in heaven. The benefits of linseed oil on cedar are manifold, spanning from aesthetics to durability and protection.

Why does that cedar deck look so attractive after a linseed oil treatment?

Here’s the secret: linseed oil penetrates the wood fibers, highlighting the grain and lending the cedar a rich, lustrous glow. It’s a beauty treatment for your cedar installations, whether it’s decking, fencing, or siding.

However, the linseed oil isn’t just a pretty face. It’s tough on the inside. It forms a protective barrier on the wood surface, shielding it from rain, sun, and wind ravages. Furthermore, it keeps your cedar installations from drying out, preventing splitting and cracking, the common banes of any outdoor wood structure.

Treating your cedar wood with linseed oil is akin to providing it with a protective suit of armor while enhancing its natural beauty—a win-win, wouldn’t you agree?

How to Apply Linseed Oil on Cedar

Alright, we’ve talked up linseed oil quite a bit. Now it’s time for action. Let’s go through how to apply linseed oil to cedar.

  1. Preparation: Start by cleaning your cedar wood. Remove dust, dirt, or any loose particles. Make sure the wood is dry. Consider lightly sanding it for better oil absorption if it’s a previously treated or older surface.
  2. Application: Stir the linseed oil before applying it with a brush, roller, or rag. Work in the direction of the grain for an even, uniform coat. Remember, this isn’t a race—take your time for a job well done.
  3. Absorption: Allow the linseed oil to soak into the cedar. This could take a few hours, but it’s an important step. The oil needs time to penetrate and fortify the wood.
  4. Wiping: After absorbing the oil, wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth. The aim is to leave a thin, even layer of oil on the surface.
  5. Curing: Depending on the climate, Linseed oil can take 24 to 48 hours to dry. Try not to use or disturb the treated wood during this time.
  6. Repetition: For optimal protection and aesthetics, consider applying a second or even third coat of linseed oil, repeating steps 2 to 5.

And there you have it—a comprehensive guide to applying linseed oil on cedar. With this newfound knowledge and a bit of elbow grease, your cedar installations will look good as new and stand the test of time.

Comparing Linseed Oil with Other Oils for Cedar

Linseed oil has shown us its mettle when it comes to treating cedar. But it’s not the only contender in the ring. There’s teak oil, for instance, that also packs a punch. So, how does linseed oil on cedar fare against teak oil on cedar? Let’s explore.

Teak oil is famous for treating, you guessed it, teak, a highly durable hardwood often used for outdoor furniture. Its main selling point? It provides excellent UV protection, making it perfect for outdoor applications.

On the other hand, linseed oil boasts a distinct advantage—it penetrates more profoundly into the wood fibers, providing exceptional moisture resistance. Its thick, protective layer means you’re less likely to see cracking or splitting. Linseed oil is also a more affordable option than teak oil, making it an attractive choice for large-scale projects or those working on a budget.

But here’s the clincher. Teak oil is relatively quick-drying, while linseed oil can take up to 48 hours to dry. Teak oil might seem appealing if you’re working on a time crunch. But remember, great things take time; the same applies to linseed oil. Its slightly longer drying time is a small price to pay for the benefits it provides to cedar.

Maintaining Cedar Treated with Linseed Oil

So, you’ve treated your cedar with linseed oil, and it’s looking fantastic! Now, how do you maintain it and keep it looking that way? Here are some practical tips.

  1. Regular Inspections: Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear. Linseed oil will give your cedar a fighting chance against the elements, but it can’t do it all. If you spot any damage, it’s better to address it sooner rather than later.
  2. Cleaning: Over time, dirt, dust, and grime can accumulate on your cedar surfaces. Regularly cleaning your cedar installations can help the linseed oil do its job better and prolong the wood’s life.
  3. Retreatment: Linseed oil isn’t a one-and-done deal. Depending on the climate and exposure, your cedar will need reapplication every 1-3 years. A simple spot test can tell you when it’s time for another coat. If water beads up on the wood, you’re good. If it doesn’t, it’s time for another round of linseed oil.
  4. Preventative Measures: Consider additional protection, like shades for your deck or a gutter system to prevent excessive water exposure.

By following these steps, your linseed oil-treated cedar will continue to wow and withstand for years to come. With a little bit of maintenance, you’re ensuring your investment stays strong and beautiful—just like the cedar it’s preserving.

Safety Considerations When Using Linseed Oil on Cedar

Before we immerse ourselves in the world of wood treatment, it’s crucial to bear in mind some safety considerations. Applying linseed oil to cedar is generally a safe process, but as with all things, precautions should be taken. After all, a well-informed woodworker is a safe one.

Here’s a point worth noting – linseed oil can generate heat as it dries, potentially leading to spontaneous combustion if left unattended. Scary, right? But no worries, here’s the trick to keeping safe. Always store used linseed oil rags in a sealed, water-filled metal container. Dispose of them according to local regulations, and you’ll nip any fire risks in the bud.

Additionally, ventilation is your friend when working with linseed oil. While the oil doesn’t pack a potent chemical fume, it’s always a good idea to ensure fresh air flow. Open a window or work outside, and you’re ready.

Cost Implications of Using Linseed Oil on Cedar

When it comes to treating cedar with linseed oil, you might be wondering what it will mean for your wallet. Let’s break it down.

Firstly, the cost of linseed oil can vary based on its quality and container size.

A gallon of good quality linseed oil typically ranges from $20 to $30. But here’s the cool part. A little goes a long way with linseed oil. For a small to medium-sized deck, for example, a single gallon could be more than sufficient for a couple of coats.

On the flip side, cedar is a premium wood, and it comes with a price tag to match.

Using a high-quality product like linseed oil to protect it is an investment in the wood’s longevity. By preserving the cedar with linseed oil, you’re saving yourself from future replacement costs—effectively, it’s penny-wise, pound smart.

There’s also the cost of your time to consider.

Applying linseed oil isn’t a quick process. You’ll need to factor in the time for prepping the wood, applying the oil, and letting it dry. But considering the beauty and durability treated cedar provides, it’s a labor of love that pays dividends.

To wrap it up, the cost of using linseed oil on cedar is an investment in preserving and showcasing the beauty of the wood. And isn’t that what woodworking is all about?

Longevity of Linseed Oil Treatment on Cedar

Let’s delve into an intriguing question: how long does linseed oil last on cedar?

After all, your cedar project is a labor of love, and you’d like to know that your efforts will stand the test of time.

Well, the good news is, linseed oil isn’t a one-hit-wonder. In fact, its protective qualities can persist for up to three years. That’s right, your cedar could be strutting its well-oiled glow for years after application. But remember, longevity isn’t set in stone. Variables such as climate conditions, sun exposure, and wear and tear all play their part.

As a rule of thumb, aim to reapply linseed oil every 2-3 years for outdoor cedar pieces. On the flip side, indoor cedar objects bathed in linseed oil can keep their good looks for even longer.

Linseed Oil on Cedar Fence

Now, let’s shift gears and step into the world of real-life application with a case study. Meet John, a DIY enthusiast who used linseed oil on his cedar fence.

John’s cedar fence was the pride of his garden, but after a few years of weathering the elements, it had lost some of its lusters. He decided to try linseed oil, attracted by its natural qualities and durability.

After applying two generous coats of linseed oil, the fence’s color deepened, bringing out the wood’s beautiful grain. John was thrilled with the results. Even better, the linseed oil added an extra layer of protection against the harsh elements.

Fast forward two years, and John’s fence still looks fantastic. The linseed oil has retained its finish, keeping the cedar fence looking fresh and vibrant. Even neighbors have commented on the fence’s enduring good looks!

Linseed Oil on Cedar Deck

Last but not least, let’s take a look at another real-life application. Susan, a home renovation wizard, decided to use linseed oil on her cedar deck.

Susan’s cedar deck was beautiful but weathered. She had heard about linseed oil’s rejuvenating qualities and decided to give it a shot. After a thorough cleaning, she applied a generous coat of linseed oil, allowing the wood to absorb it fully before applying a second layer.

The transformation was stunning. The deck’s color deepened, revealing the cedar’s naturally striking grain pattern. The deck not only looked better but felt better too, with the oil providing a non-slip surface.

Three years later, Susan’s cedar deck still looks as gorgeous as the day she oiled it. Rain or shine, her cedar deck has held up beautifully, proving that linseed oil is indeed a top-notch choice for cedar decks.

Linseed Oil on Cedar Siding

Now let’s take a virtual journey to Oregon, where we meet Maria. She owns a charming cabin with cedar siding that needed some tender loving care. With her commitment to keeping things natural and eco-friendly, Maria turned to linseed oil for cedar siding protection.

Maria applied a hearty coat of linseed oil to her cedar siding, allowing each plank to drink up the oil before adding a second coat. To her delight, the oil awakened the rich, warm hues of the cedar and added a touch of rustic elegance to her cabin. Plus, it served as an effective barrier against moisture and UV damage.

Today, Maria’s cabin continues to turn heads with its vibrant cedar siding. The proof is in the pudding – or in this case, the linseed oil!

Linseed Oil for Cedar Outdoor Furniture

Let’s change the scenery and focus on cedar outdoor furniture. How does linseed oil fare there, you ask? Brilliantly, in fact.

Take a cedar picnic table, for example. This outdoor furniture shows plenty of action – from weekend barbecues to family game nights. It has to withstand the elements, food and drink spills, and the occasional roughhousing.

Treating this cedar picnic table with linseed oil protects it from weather-related damage while enhancing its natural beauty. The linseed oil seals the cedar, repelling water and preventing UV rays from bleaching the wood. Plus, it amplifies the stunning grain patterns unique to cedar, giving your picnic table a visual boost.

So, if you want your cedar outdoor furniture to last while still looking its best, linseed oil is a solid choice.


And there you have it, the ins and outs of using linseed oil on cedar. We’ve explored its many benefits, from enhancing cedar’s natural beauty to providing valuable protection against the elements. And with our real-life examples show the oil in action on cedar fences, decks, sidings, and outdoor furniture.

So is linseed oil a good fit for your cedar project? If you value natural products, appreciate the enhanced aesthetics, and understand the application process, it might just be your cedar’s new best friend.

Remember, wood care is a journey, not a destination. And linseed oil could be the perfect companion for your cedar’s journey. Happy woodworking!