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Restoring Vinyl Siding with Linseed Oil

April 24th, 2012

Several years ago I discovered the wonder of organic linseed oil. I’m not talking about the linseed oil you find at the hardware store, most of that has petroleum additives to make it dry faster. I’m talking about 100% organic boiled linseed oil like the kind I buy from Allback. The stuff is a worthy investment and definitely worth having a quart on hand. It’s valuable for refreshing and protecting a wide variety of surfaces (remember I used them to refresh my metal outdoor lights?)

Since we first moved to Chiot’s Run the siding on the front of the house has been really faded, almost to white. It’s always looked really bad and I’ve always wanted to do something about it. I tried a few different products, none of which worked. Since we’re hoping to sell this summer, I wanted to do something to make it look better than it does. After some research I found a few different products, all of which were going to cost around $300-$500 for the front of the house. Then I remembered I had some boiled linseed oil was and thought I’d give it a shot.

I tested a small square and it worked beautifully. Not only did it refresh the siding and make it look like new, it helps protect it from the sun and from further damage and fading. It also creates a nice finish, which helps keep the siding from getting dirty as quickly as it used to.

I scrubbed the siding with castile soap and a stiff brush and let it dry. Then I used an old cotton sock to rub a light coat of organic boiled linseed oil onto the siding. I used less than a pint of boiled linseed oil for this task, so it cost me around $5. While I was at it, I scrubbed and cleaned the lights and the window casings as well.

This amazing product has many uses. I use it as a wood protector on our decks, I gave my thermometer a light coat to bring back the color that had faded in the sun, I used it to seal the cork on the interior of the tiny travel trailer, I rub a light coat onto my old antique furniture for added protection, all my wooden handled garden tools get a coat every so often, as to my tomato stakes. The best part of all is that it’s an all natural product, no VOC’s and no petroleum additives (make sure you buy this brand).  You don’t need to worry about wearing a respirator or the fumes.  It does have a smell, but it’s not offensive and it doesn’t give me headaches like other latex and oil products do. If you’ve been looking for a great all around refreshing product for your home organic boiled linseed oil* is what you need.

Even though it looks fantastic, I still hate vinyl siding with a deep passion. I’d much prefer having cedar shakes or painted wooden clapboard. Perhaps in my next home I will, until then at least the vinyl on the front the cottage looks like new and that makes me happy!

What kind of home exterior is your favorite?

*Make sure you get the BOILED linseed oil and not the raw which won’t harden to a strong finish.

Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Homemade Whitening Scouring Scrub
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come

21 Comments to “Restoring Vinyl Siding with Linseed Oil”
  1. whit on April 24, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Wow! I’ll have to remember that this summer now that we have a wrap around deck. :) I remember one of my chores as ankid was helping linseed oil our fence…

    Favourite exterior has to be brick…no painting! We had a brick house ,again when i was growing up, and the only maintainence on the exterior was painting the eves of the house and washing windows. Perfection!
    whit´s last post ..A Girl Could Get Used to This

    Reply to whit's comment

  2. Allison on April 24, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Whoa – amazing! I need to bookmark this!
    Allison´s last post ..Decoding: Beef

    Reply to Allison's comment

  3. amy on April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Wow, what a difference the linseed made. I have used linseed oil in my house on our wooden beams. It does make such a difference and I like the smell:) I am waiting to see your butcher block counters! We live in a 200 yr. old brick federal. That I love. We have had to add bits on and we cedar shaked them:) So the look I guess I like most is…..old:) Blessings.

    Reply to amy's comment

  4. Texan on April 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Big difference! Good Job!
    Texan´s last post ..Give Away Winners!

    Reply to Texan's comment

  5. Maybelline on April 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    F A N T A S T I C!
    Is this type of linseed oil just as flamable as the other?
    Maybelline´s last post ..Garden Fest @ BC

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on April 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Since this is an oil it is flammable (like olive oil, etc), but not as flammable as the kind of linseed oil that has petroleum thinners added to it, which evaporate and have flammable fumes. Nothing evaporates from this kind of pure boiled linseed oil.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Sincerely, Emily on April 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Wow! your siding looks fantastic after you coated it. So do the lamps. NICE!
    Sincerely, Emily´s last post ..A Culinary Evening: Focus on Oregano

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  7. Gail on April 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I am going to order this! it sounds like a great product to have around the house…gail
    Gail´s last post ..It’s A Purple Sensation!

    Reply to Gail's comment

  8. Laura on April 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I’m going to remember this tip. It sounds great and I have lots of metal fixtures around the house I could use it on. My house is cedar shake shingles (say that 5 times fast) and I love it. Everyone keeps telling me I should put vinyl siding on but no way!

    Laura´s last post ..Happiness is…

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    • Susy on April 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      UGH – I can’t believe people are telling you to put vinyl siding on your house instead of your cedar shakes – people have lost their minds!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. tj on April 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    …Such fantastic advice! I did not know this and will definitely be using this soon. :o)

    …Thank you Susy!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  10. Allison on April 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Good morning!

    I just found your site yesterday and have spent a crazy amount of time reading all your posts and catching up on all things Chiot’s Run! Question – I just moved into a house in Cincinnati built in 1979 and covered in LOVELY (note the sarcasm) faded aluminum siding. Do you think the boiled linseed would work on this as well? If nothing else its worth a shot, just thought I would ask first!

    Love your posts!

    Reply to Allison's comment

    • Susy on April 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

      I have used linseed oil with success for restoring original color/shine on a wide variety of surfaces with great success. It’s definitely worth a shot on the aluminum sidings, not too expensive and if it works you’ll save a bundle!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Steve Fleming on July 17, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Remarkable! I think I must find online to revive the beauty of my vinyl fences and my wife will surely appreciate this one.

    Reply to Steve Fleming's comment

  12. Tom Wolfe on May 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I’d like to know how it looks after a year or two. Linseed oil doesn’t protect against UV unless it has added pigments, and I wonder if anyone has ever thought to put it on vinyl… organic linseed oil on vinyl is an oxymoron I’d never considered.

    Reply to Tom Wolfe's comment

  13. Patrick on September 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I’d also like to know how it looks after a year of wear. I’m thinking of trying this and although it’s not too expensive, it’s a lot of work to apply it to all of my siding.

    Reply to Patrick's comment

  14. Gary Sweeney on September 24, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Any updates on how the Allback organic boiled linseed oil holds up on Vinyl siding? Where can you buy it? I found it on internet for $20 a quart and $20 shipping. Does it have to be Allback?
    Thank you,

    Reply to Gary Sweeney's comment

    • Susy on September 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

      We actually sold the house and moved, so I can’t really give much of an update. You could probably try to buy another brand, though it won’t be petroleum free.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. Rich on October 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Linseed oil is an excellent idea for a low cost environmentally friendly option for restoring color to faded surfaces. Depending on where you live it may last for only a few months on north facing sides and possibly less on southern exposures. There is another environmentally friendly (low VOC) option for restoring siding/metal and other surfaces that will last for years (the website says 7+). The product is Vinyl Renu. They also make a product for shutters called Shutter Renu. It is not paint so it is easy to apply and very little clean-up.

    Reply to Rich's comment

  16. Kathy on March 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I’ve heard of Vinyl Renu. My friend told me its results have lasted 6 years so far on her townhouse.

    Reply to Kathy's comment

  17. Elizabeth Dunbar on May 31, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Any thoughts on using this on a wood floor that has some leftover paint on it? Just for added luster and looks, not paint removal.

    Reply to Elizabeth Dunbar's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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