New book lifts the lid on all-natural, sustainable, linseed paint made in Yorkshire, UK

26 June 2023

Environmentally sustainable and used for centuries before it fell out of fashion, linseed paint is fast becoming the go-to product to replace the plastic-based paints that are one of the planet’s most widespread pollutants.

A new book, published this month, details how to use linseed paint – a centuries-old, all-natural and sustainable paint that is now being manufactured in Yorkshire for the first time since the 19th century. Linseed paint preserves historic properties while providing a durable and sustainable alternative to plastic-based paints for modern buildings.

Linseed Paint and Oil, by Michiel Brouns, building conservation expert and founder of Leeds-based natural paint company Brouns & Co, gives an insight into the benefits of linseed paint for architects, professional decorators and restoration professionals, as well as home DIY projects. It provides step-by-step guidance on preparing surfaces and using the paint in the most effective way.


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“It’s the perfect way to treat timber and metal in particular,” said Michiel Brouns. “The usual application of four or five coats of a petrochemical-based paint does the exact opposite of what it is meant to do. It seals the water in and then the timber starts to rot.

“Linseed paint is different because it doesn’t form a film on top of the wood; it allows water to escape again and helps to preserve the timber. It’s also long-lasting – maintenance is just a wipe with some linseed oil once every 10-15 years, so it actually works out cheaper than many brands of conventional paint.

He added: “Interest in linseed paint is growing really fast right, especially given the volume of microplastics now proven to come from plastic-based paints, so this seemed the perfect time to share my knowledge, and hopefully to encourage and empower people to use this amazing natural paint.

“I really hope that my book will act as a guide to those curious about using linseed paint and help them to make the case for using it more widely.”

Linseed Paint and Oil describes in detail the unique role linseed paint plays in the preservation of historic buildings, the ingredients that make up the paint and its production process. Brouns recently moved the entire Brouns & Co linseed paint production to a new site in Sherburn in Elmet near Leeds, not far from where the paint’s main ingredient, oil from flaxseed, is grown and pressed.

Crucially, Brouns explains how linseed paint can play a pivotal role in reducing microplastics pollution and making the building and restoration industries more sustainable. Also included are detailed step-by-step instructions for applying linseed paint to a variety of surfaces.

Founder Michiel Brouns gained his expertise in restoring and renovating historic buildings in his native Netherlands before moving to the UK in 2006 and setting up Brouns & Co in Yorkshire. He has worked on high-profile restoration projects including Woburn Abbey, Chatsworth House and Windsor Castle. He is widely regarded as one of the few experts in linseed paint, and he delivers presentations to architects across the UK and USA, approved by RIBA, AIA, ICAA and ACBA.

Linseed Paint and Oil by Michiel Brouns is available through online retailers and local bookshops. £16.99 paperback.

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