Linseed Oil on Fence – Here’s What You Should Consider

Like wooden decks, you can treat your garden fence with linseed oil. Keep in mind that fence panels can turn gray over time. They also lose their protective properties and natural color tone. Therefore, you need to protect and heal them with this therapy.

If your home has a wooden fence, you need to maintain and protect it. Use high-quality linseed oil as a preservative to extend the life of your fence.

Both softwood and hardwood are excellent candidates for this decking treatment. Make sure that the linseed oil you buy is genuine. You can maintain the condition of your hardwood fence all year round.

Before you apply this treatment, you need to clean the surface from debris, mold, and algae. You can use a wood cleaner to do this. Before applying the treatment, ensure that the wood is completely dry. This will ensure that the treatment gets well absorbed into the wood. When you treat your fence, you protect it from decay and damage caused by UV rays. Besides, linseed oil also reduces the risk of wood warping and cracking. But most importantly, it prevents the formation of mold and fungi.

How Often to Apply Linseed Oil on a Fence?

Your wood will determine this. You can reapply the natural beauty of the wood if you see it fading. In most cases, you’ll need to apply it twice a year. If that’s not possible, you may only reapply once a year. You must use it on untreated wood as well.

If this is the case, remove any wax or paint before applying the process. Otherwise, the wood cannot fully absorb the oil into the wood. You can use a regular cleaner to remove the paint or varnish. Any deck cleaner you use should be able to clean the wood down to the bare surface to ensure good penetration.

What Types of Linseed Oil Can You Use for Your Fence?

The purest type of linseed oil is raw linseed oil. Still, because of its long drying times – any application of raw linseed oil can take several weeks – it is not always suitable for use. Boiled linseed oil, often used as a wood finish, also contains several potentially dangerous drying chemicals. The best type of polymerized linseed oil is pure, non-toxic, and has short drying times.

The purest and most organic type of linseed oil is raw linseed oil. It is used as a conditioning agent for leather and in dietary supplements (usually mixed with something to speed up the curing time). Raw linseed oil makes an excellent finish for wood fences when used sparingly and with sufficient curing time. However, depending on the thickness of the application, it may take 2-10 weeks to dry completely.

Suppose they do not have the patience or space to allow sufficient time for drying. In that case, many craftsmen resort to polymerized, boiled, or other alternative oil such as tung oil.

Raw linseed oil is heated to about 300°C overnight without oxygen to produce polymerized linseed oil. During this process, a polymerization reaction increases the oil’s viscosity and accelerates drying. As a result, linseed oil does not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its raw or polymerized state.

Boiled linseed oil, often referred to as BLO, does not require heating or cooking (unlike polymerized linseed oil). Instead, craftsmen or manufacturers add drying agents to make boiled linseed oil a more viable alternative for finishing wood fences.

You can mix linseed oil with petroleum-based substances such as naphtha, petroleum naphtha, and di propylene glycol monomethyl to shorten drying time. The two most common metal additives discovered in boiled linseed oil are cobalt and manganese.

Heated linseed oil contains desiccants, making it the least safe and releasing some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it dries.

How to Apply Linseed Oil on a Fence?

Here are the steps to follow when applying linseed oil to your wooden fence:

  1. Put on a protective mask or respirator before using sandpaper. The size of your project will determine whether you produce a lot or a little dust. Take a minute to cover your mouth and nose with a respirator to protect yourself. You can purchase respirators or safety masks at your local hardware store.
  2. Use 60-grit sanding disks or sandpaper to smooth the wood. Start by sanding the surface of your wooden object with a piece of coarse sandpaper. Then, move the sandpaper toward the wood grain to make your piece as smooth and attractive as possible. If you are working on a larger fence, using a drum sander or a polisher with sanding disks is easier.
  3. Always start with coarser sandpaper. This way, you will remove the initial bumps and then use finer sandpaper to smooth the surface. Make sure to remove all the garden furniture from the area before using a sander or polisher to avoid dust buildup. If the wood is already oiled, you do not need to sand it down. Only an existing coating, such as wax, varnish, or paint, will be removed.
  4. Repeat the sanding process using 80- and 100-grit sanding disks or paper. Continue sanding the surface with finer-grit disks or sheets. Keep the sandpaper in line with the grain as you move slowly and evenly over the surface of the wood. Use 100-grit sandpaper as the final sanding layer to completely smooth the surface of the wood. Feel the surface of the fence after each sanding. The wood should appear smooth and flawless after sanding with the 80-grit. Do not bother with the 100-grit paper or disk. Using a polisher, you can access a broader range of sanding disks.
  5. You can use ammonia or methylated spirits to soak a rag. Put in enough methylated spirits to thoroughly soak the surface of a clean cloth or rag. If you do not have methylated spirits on hand, mix ammonia and tap water in a 2:8 ratio. Whichever product you use, ensure the cloth is damp but not leaking. Ammonia can change the color of your wood’s finish. Wring out the cloth before wiping the wood surface if it is soaking wet.
  6. Scrub off any dirt from the fence. Wipe your wooden fence with long, even strokes. Pay special attention to areas you have recently sanded or areas you plan to treat with boiled linseed oil. Continue wiping until the surface is thoroughly clean.
  7. Place a fresh towel on the wood to dry it. Rub the freshly cleaned surface with a clean cloth. While doing this, rub and wipe away any excess petroleum ether or ammonia with small, circular motions. Polish the surface repeatedly until it is dry, spotless, and smooth.
  8. You may need more than a clean towel to finish drying a wooden fence. Use a store vacuum to remove excess sawdust. To avoid clogging your regular vacuum cleaner, do not use it to remove sawdust from your workspace. Instead, vacuum up as much dust as possible with the connecting hose to avoid inhaling debris.

Benefits of Using Linseed Oil on a Fence

Linseed oil has several advantages when applied to wooden fences. These advantages are:

  • Linseed oil is generally safe and can be used easily by beginners. It doesn’t form a film, unlike many varnishes
  • In addition, the coating is elastic, wear-resistant, and waterproof
  • Reasonable choice
  • Linseed oil finish is maintenance-free in the long term
  • You can let it dry naturally by evaporation without any special precautions. Any application of boiled linseed oil is completely dry in 12 to 24 hours and dries very quickly
  • It helps bring out the natural beauty of the grain of the wood you are working on
  • It protects more than just the surface layer of the wood by penetrating deep into the wood
  • It doesn’t significantly alter the original color of the wood

How Long Should Linseed Oil Last on Your Fence?

Linseed oil is a temporary solution that may need to be refreshed from time to time. Where you apply the linseed oil determines how often it needs to be touched up. For example, high-traffic areas where your pets touch the fence need to be touched up more often than low-traffic areas.

You should maintain your wood fences coated with linseed oil should ideally be done at least once a year, so you will need to arrange for maintenance every twelve months.

You have two options. Either schedule a day for maintenance or observe the color tone of the wood. Since the linseed oil finish brings out the natural color of the wood, it’s good to reapply the oil if the surface appears dry or faded.

While you will need to apply at least 2 to 3 coats of oil initially to ensure your wood fence has a nice finish, a light coat will suffice for maintenance. Then, wipe off the excess oil and allow the surface to dry thoroughly.