Linseed Oil vs. Teak Oil: Comparing Wood Finishes

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Linseed oil and teak oil are both popular wood finishes used to protect and enhance the appearance of wooden surfaces.

Linseed oil, derived from flax seeds, is a natural, slow-drying oil that penetrates deeply into the wood, providing protection and a subtle sheen. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications and requires regular maintenance to maintain its effectiveness.

Teak oil, despite its name, is not derived from teak wood but is a blend of oils, varnishes, and solvents. It is specifically formulated for dense hardwoods, like teak or mahogany, and is ideal for outdoor furniture, as it provides water resistance. Teak oil dries faster than linseed oil and usually requires less frequent maintenance.

Choosing between the two oils depends on the type of wood, the desired finish, and the intended application. In this post, we take a closer look at these popular types of oil.

Wood Oil Explained

Wood cleansing and manteinance

Applying oil forms one of the most popular ways of finishing wood. You don’t get as effective protection from other wood finishes such as varnish or polyurethane. However, the character of some woods comes out better by rubbing them with oil.

Wood oil does not come from wood but is the oil that we apply to wood to enhance its appearance and add protection.

Wood oil is a combination of different oils, but you may use a single oil as well. For instance, linseed oil comes from flax seeds and tung oil comes from nuts of the tung tree. Wood oil occupies prominence because we extract it naturally. They are also quite easy to apply and maintain. Let’s now move on to the discussion of linseed oil vs. teak oil.

Linseed Oil

Klean Strip Boiled Linseed Oil 1 Quart with Centaurus AZ Paintbrush, Protects, Seals Unfinished Wood, Produce Beautiful Finish, Waterproof Wood, Improves Flow, Gloss, Pure, Non-Toxic, Quick Drying
Boiled Linseed Oil (Amazon)

Linseed oil is a natural oil extracted from the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).

It is a drying oil, meaning that it hardens upon exposure to air, making it ideal for use as a wood finish.

Standard linseed oil and boiled linseed oil (BLO) take a long time to dry. You may have to wait for two to three days for a single coat to dry. Considering that you need to apply at least three to five coats and maybe even as many as twenty coats it is not practical.

By adding solvents to linseed oil, we create “boiled” linseed oil, it refers to oil that has been chemically modified, not actually boiled with heat.

Boiled linseed oil, however, will dry within a day. But you cannot use either form of linseed oil for outdoor purposes. You will find BLO easy to apply by wiping it onto the surface of the wood and rubbing it in. Allow a day to pass between coats. You can buff the surface once the oil has dried to get a lovely sheen.

Teak Oil

RUST-OLEUM Watco A67141 Teak Oil Finish, Quart
Teak Oil Finish (Amazon)

Teak oil contains either tung oil or linseed oil with a few added resins and varnishes to enhance durability. It may contain mineral oil as well.

Many manufacturers claim that their brand of teak oil offers ultraviolet (UV) protection. But this is seldom the case. UV absorbers cannot absorb all of the UV radiation that the wood surface may receive. An extent of UV radiation penetrates the surface.

Because of this, hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS) are added to the teak oil. But even HALS do not directly block UV radiation. They have an action on the free radicals that cause damage to the coating on a molecular level. Rather complicated, but it is sufficient to say that even if a manufacturer claims that they have added UV absorbers it is unlikely that you will get any particular benefit as claimed.

Many brands advertise their product as specially formulated for teak and other similarly oily woods. However, these oils do not dry any better than regular wood oil Also, manufacturers may claim that their product “feeds” the wood or replaces its natural oil. Teak produces a natural oily resin, for which there is no substitute.

Teak oil plays a prominent role as a finish for outdoor furniture. It replaces depleted oil and imparts a rich honey color to the wood. Teak oil also makes the wood moderately weather-resistant and reduces the chances of the wood warping or splitting.

However, after a few weeks, when the oil begins to evaporate, the wood will start to become dull. The evaporating teak oil also causes some of the natural teak oil to evaporate. Due to these reasons, we consider teak oil as a temporary solution. You will get better results if you use some other form of finish like a wood sealer.

Boiled Linseed Oil vs. Teak Oil

hand painting oil color on wood floor use for home decorated ,house renovation and housing construction theme

If you want to apply a finish to furniture or flooring, you need to understand the available products. You can use linseed oil in paint, stains, and varnish.

Teak oil is a combination of different oils and can provide temporary protection to your woodworking projects. Here are some fundamental differences between boiled linseed oil and teak oil:


Linseed oil, even if boiled, takes a long time to dry. If you don’t allow it to dry enough, the surface of the wood will remain tacky. Teak oil on the other hand dries swiftly and becomes hard. It soaks into the wood, but it may tint the wood, making it slightly darker.


Both of these oils have good penetration power. But you will find it difficult to remove linseed oil from wood surfaces. Linseed oil retains its luster longer than teak oil, but it is not easy to refinish when required. Teak oil becomes hard on drying and you will find it easy to refinish after scraping off the old coating.

Indoor and Outdoor Use

wood exterior

You are best off using boiled linseed oil indoors on wooden flooring and furniture. It also has good preservative properties, but you shouldn’t use it outside because it doesn’t offer protection from UV radiation.

You can use teak oil on outdoor furniture and various wooden structures. It makes the wood resistant to water and provides limited protection from the wind and sun.

But as we mentioned above, applying teak as a wood finish is only a temporary measure. You will need to either apply a teak sealer on top of the oil later once dry or refinish the surface with more teak oil regularly.


Although linseed oil in its purest form contains only natural substances, adding toxins such as arsenic, chromium, and cadmium forms part of the manufacturing process.

Linseed oil is also a fire hazard, as rags soaked in linseed oil if left alone are prone to spontaneous combustion. Teak oil also contains toxic substances and you can consider neither of them as food-grade coatings.

Given in the table below are the comparative characteristics of linseed oil vs. Teak oil:


Linseed Oil

Teak Oil

Drying Time 24 hours to several days A few hours
Color Darkens the wood considerably Minimal darkening
Usage Indoors only Indoors and outdoors
Cost Cheaper than teak oil More expensive than linseed oil
Coats required More coats required Fewer coats required
UV Protection No No
Combustibility Highly combustible Less combustible than linseed oil

Linseed Oil FAQs:

What are the types of linseed oil?

There are two main types of linseed oil: raw linseed oil and boiled linseed oil. Raw linseed oil is the pure, unprocessed form, while boiled linseed oil has been treated with additives to speed up the drying process.

How is linseed oil used?

Linseed oil is commonly used as a wood finish, providing a protective, water-resistant layer. It can also be used in oil painting, as a binding agent in the production of linoleum, and as an ingredient in some natural paints and varnishes.

Is linseed oil safe?

When used correctly, linseed oil is generally safe. However, rags soaked in linseed oil can spontaneously combust if not properly disposed of, as the oil generates heat as it dries. Additionally, ingesting raw linseed oil can cause digestive issues.

How long does it take for linseed oil to dry?

The drying time for linseed oil depends on the type, temperature, and humidity. Raw linseed oil can take several days or weeks to dry, while boiled linseed oil typically dries within 24 to 72 hours.

Can linseed oil be used on food-safe surfaces?

Food-grade linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, can be used on surfaces that come into contact with food, such as cutting boards and wooden utensils. However, do not use boiled linseed oil for this purpose, as it contains additives that may be harmful if ingested.

How do I apply linseed oil to wood?

Before applying linseed oil, clean the wood surface and remove any dust or debris. Using a clean cloth or brush to apply a thin, even layer of oil. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for 20-30 mins, then wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. Repeat the process for additional coats, allowing the oil to dry between each application.

Can teak oil be applied over existing finishes?

Teak oil is best applied to bare wood or previously oiled surfaces. Applying teak oil over existing finishes, such as varnish or paint, may result in poor adhesion and an uneven appearance. To achieve the best results, remove any existing finish before applying teak oil.

How do I remove teak oil from my skin or clothing?

If teak oil comes into contact with your skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. For clothing, blot the affected area with a cloth soaked in a solvent like mineral spirits or acetone to remove as much oil as possible, then launder the garment according to its care instructions.

Teak Oil FAQs:

What is teak oil?

Teak oil is a blend of oils and solvents, typically containing linseed, tung, or soybean oil, along with various additives. It is designed to penetrate, protect, and enhance the appearance of teak and other dense hardwoods.

How is teak oil used?

Teak oil is commonly used as a finish for teak and other hardwood furniture, both indoors and outdoors. It helps protect the wood from UV damage, moisture, and dirt, while also enhancing its natural color and grain.

How often should teak oil be applied?

The frequency of teak oil application depends on the environment and usage of the wood. For outdoor furniture, it is generally recommended to apply teak oil once or twice a year. For indoor furniture, applying teak oil every couple of years should suffice.

How long does teak oil take to dry?

Teak oil typically takes about 12 to 24 hours to dry under ideal conditions. However, drying time can be influenced by temperature, humidity, and the specific product used.

Can teak oil be used on other types of wood?

Yes, teak oil can be used on other hardwoods, such as mahogany, rosewood, and walnut. However, it may not be suitable for softwoods or woods with high oil content, as it may not penetrate or protect as effectively.

General FAQs:

Can linseed oil be used as a substitute for teak oil?

While linseed oil can be used on hardwoods like teak, it may not provide the same level of protection and color enhancement as teak oil. Teak oil is specifically formulated for teak and other dense hardwoods, offering better penetration and protection against the elements.

How do I dispose of linseed oil and teak oil-soaked rags?

To prevent spontaneous combustion, lay oil-soaked rags flat to dry in a well-ventilated area, away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Once fully dry, the rags can be disposed of in a sealed, non-combustible container, or according to local regulations for hazardous waste disposal.


Linseed oil and teak oil are two versatile oils that you can use to finish teak wood. Either one of them will enhance the look of the wood and offer a certain degree of protection. You need to be aware of the characteristics of both these wood oils to be able to get the best out of them.

In our discussion on linseed oil vs. teak oil, we covered the pros and cons of each type of oil. When you know the advantages and drawbacks, you know what to expect out of each one, and you will be able to use either of them in your woodworking projects for the best results.