Why Linseed Oil is Not Good for Your Log Home

Chelsea BingamanLog Homeowner Education

Linseed or flaxseed is a natural oil commonly used as a wood finish, but not recommended for log homes. It penetrates deep into the wood grain and protects it from scratches and changes in humidity. It also enhances the color and texture of the wood and gives it a satin finish. However, linseed oil is not the best choice for your log home, and here are some reasons why:

  • Linseed oil is slow-drying, and time-consuming
  • Linseed oil yellows over time
  • Linseed oil requires regular maintenance
  • Linseed oil has no ultraviolet rays (UV) resistance and is not very durable
  • Linseed oil supports mildew growth
  • Linseed oil is susceptible to water rings and stains
  • Linseed oil has a bad smell

We will explain these disadvantages and suggest better alternatives for your log home in this article.

Linseed Oil is Slow-Drying and Time-Consuming

One of the drawbacks of linseed oil is that it takes a long time to dry. Depending on the temperature and humidity, it can take 24 to 72 hours to dry completely. You must wait longer before applying another coat or using the wood surface. Drying involves protecting the wood from dust, insects, and other contaminants. If you have a large log home, applying linseed oil can be tedious and time-consuming. It can be costly and unproductive to use excessive amounts of linseed oil to cover the entire surface.

Linseed Oil Yellows Over Time

Regrettably, homeowners using linseed oil to safeguard their log cabins realize that it turns yellow and darkens the wood. The wood’s natural beauty and color may change, particularly if exposed to sunlight.

Linseed Oil Requires Regular Maintenance

Linseed oil is not a sure way to avoid regular maintenance or reapplication. Since the oil doesn’t form a durable or protective coating on the wood, it can wear off quickly due to weathering, moisture, or abrasion. Most expect linseed oil to last six months to a year with proper maintenance. It’s not practical when compared to other environmentally friendly log home stains that can last up to 3-5 years with proper maintenance.

Linseed Oil Has NO UV Resistance and Is Not Very Durable

Many might need to realize or consider linseed oil’s lack of ultraviolet rays (UV) resistance. Why is this important? UV resistance additives in log home stains keep the logs from sunburning. Without UV protection, the wood can begin to crack and deteriorate. The wood is not shielded from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, which can harm the wood fibers and lead to their drying out and splitting.

Linseed oil on logs
The problem with linseed is the spots.

Linseed Oil Supports Mildew Growth

Unfortunately, many log home owners who’ve used linseed oil discover mildew growth. Tiny black spots that cannot be wiped off are often the first things they notice. The oil can attract moisture and dirt, creating a favorable environment for mold and mildew to grow on the wood surface. The growth of mold and mildew eventually results in logs rotting.

Linseed Oil Is Susceptible To Water Rings and stains

Linseed oil is prone to the development of water rings and stains. Unsightly marks or rings in the wood can be left by oil reacting with water. It’s a daunting task to remove them. Again, why bother when superior products on the market exist?

Linseed Oil Has A Bad Smell

Although some may disagree, the smell of linseed oil is unpleasant and can take some time to dissipate. The oil emits a powerful and disagreeable odor, which may persist long after it has been applied. It can be annoying or disgusting for some people, especially when you have to reapply it frequently.


Need I say more? These are some reasons why linseed oil is not a good choice for your log home. Consider other options that can enhance the house’s protection and appearance, such as water-based or oil-based stains explicitly made for log cabin needs.