Problems (& Solutions) with Allback linseed paint
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jefinch



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Elverson, PA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:19 am    Post subject: Re: Noticed.. Reply with quote

Renaissance Restorations wrote:
I recall there are mildew/mold additives that can be added to paint to prevent this from happening.
JoeF

You are correct about the additives. However using them is introducing an ingredient that is specifically not recommended (or needed) by the manufacturer of this paint. And now that there's a problem the only explanation offered by the distributor is that the problem must lie with previous conditions and can be no fault of the product. All well and good but at this one site why do we have a single wall half of which exhibits serious issues while the other half has lesser issues and at the same time a building close by has minor or no mildew issues? I'm just looking for answers so that I can continue to use the product and prevent this in the future. I'm not confident that just washing with the linseed soap before painting is a sufficient remedy because we have issues on areas that were brand new wood that are equal to areas where only good scraping prep was done.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting related reads:

http://www.calcitesunoil.com/UnrefinedFlaxOil.html go about 3/4's of the way down the back and read about allback linseed oil

http://www.calcitesunoil.com/WashingLiinseedOil.html

http://www.linseedpaintcompany.co.uk/

http://www.puuvene.net/phuhta/artikkelit/linseed.html

...jade
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jefinch



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Elverson, PA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jade wrote:
interesting related reads:
http://www.calcitesunoil.com/UnrefinedFlaxOil.html go about 3/4's of the way down the back and read about allback linseed oil

Very interesting. I would not call what I see in his photographs "sterilized." It is probably a whole lot better than off the shelf paint store boiled or raw oil but to me sterilized is more of an absolute rather than a relative descriptor

Quote:
http://www.linseedpaintcompany.co.uk/

I've seen this site before. I wonder what their stance is on the chances of mildew on their product. They apparently do recognize the need for a measure of more toxicity in the paint to improve its properties.

Quote:
http://www.puuvene.net/phuhta/artikkelit/linseed.html[

This site is suggesting that a blend of linseed oil, turpentine and preservative are necessary to kill pre-exisitng mildew and to use this as a first coating. I think my colleague's organization is doing some experimentation with additives. I'm confident that this would serve as a point of blame for the distributor to point at in cases of failure or problems. However if the mildew is growing on the surface of the paint itself and not through the paint from the substrate then modifying the oil coat may not help that much.

...jade[/quote]
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
All well and good but at this one site why do we have a single wall half of which exhibits serious issues while the other half has lesser issues and at the same time a building close by has minor or no mildew issues?


Considering these facts, formal problem solving techniques suggest that the mildew is less related to the paint and more related to the application method (appearance of brush strokes, and light/dark areas) or the building (some with mildew and some without), and variable moisture conditions (the post and diagonal brace ghosts, which to me suggests different wood moisture levels where the board siding laps over the posts and braces. While the building may "seem dry" the way to know for sure is to measure and monitor moisture in the building materials.)

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have sent an invitation to Sonja and Hans Allback to join in this discussion. I hope they do.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i too sent an invite via the holkham site to hans and sonja along with a link to this conversation...

i look forward to reading their feedback AND finding a resolution to jeff's paint/mildew issue.....

...jade
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 660
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jefinch wrote:


Quote:
http://www.linseedpaintcompany.co.uk/

I've seen this site before. I wonder what their stance is on the chances of mildew on their product. They apparently do recognize the need for a measure of more toxicity in the paint to improve its properties.



they are mixing a varnish with the paint. tung oil + white spirits + phenolic/formaldehyde resin all heated up together is in essence what waterlox varnish is.

such varnishes behave in a very similar way to BLO. they penetrate very deeply, build a slight but flexible film, with a very strong bond to the wood, so it would be interesting to hear their take on this mixture, whether it's simply a matter of reducing drying time, or whether it has some other benefit (maybe a toxic barrier as we were talking about).

anyone email them yet and invite them to register and talk to us?
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sswiat



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 231
Location: Cambria, New York

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point, I have to agree with John seeing that the mildew is not on everything painted with Allback. If I am understanding the details correctly, the mildew should have spread to all the painted areas. Once again, mildew needs a food source and has the spores spread they would start growing on all linseed painted areas.

I have so far a 2+ year track record of Allback linseed paint and have not seen any signs of mildew growth.

As for the case on the new wood in Texas, I have seen that the new wood that we just framed my shop with came disappointling covered with mildew/mold for which I had to mildecide and bleach treat. I imagine if that were painted with linseed paint without cleaning, the mildew would have worked its way outward as the paint soaked inward. I may try a to paint some with linseed paint to see what occurs.

I hope we can get some answers on this as I can see it being a serious issue.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, i have also sent an invite to the 'two guys and a dog in an old shed' at the linseed paint company to observe and join in on the conversation...

about 6 years ago i worked on a project where there was an inordinant amount of mildew growing on the painted surfaces within months of a complete window restoration project...a preservationist, who is also a chemist, specified the paint to be used...when we (the town building manager and i) contacted him, he wouldn't respond to our calls/questions...it turns out he was afraid of a law suit coming his way for recommending a particular paint--how sad...we just wanted feedback on how to resolve the issue because, being a chemist, he would have more scientific insight than us...a rep from tue paint manufacturer, ben moore, suggested i must have painted over the putty before it skinned over sufficiently...the mildew was on the exterior wood surfaces only...

i made a site visit yesterday to a building where the architect has specified a 10 year warranty on restored windows and 20 years on replicated windows...the building was covered in mildew--the white color had become gray....my point that i could not, in good faith, offer that kind of warranty 9without a maintenace program, etc.) was well taken...

in reading jeff's initial post, it is clear that he is looking for a resolution and to better understand the origins of mildew on the buildings...since he didn't have the issue prior to painting with allback paints, it makes sense that he would contact the distributor to discuss the possible causes, an affordable and lasting remedy and how to avoid the problem in the future...it appears that that information has not been forthcoming....

even in a situation where the wood is dry and has a low moisture content prior to painting, spores from other sources can land and begin feasting...how does one avoid the problem? one would think that protien (food) free paint would be an obvious choice...do we mix in additional mildewcide (as the epa limits the amount off-the-shelf paint can contain)? will an application of toxic ingredients added to the primer guarantee a mildew free topcoat?

it's all well and good that paint companies have considered introducing products that pose less of a threat to the environment, but if the paint fails in half or a third of the time than the old paint did, where's the 'green' in that??

i think this discussion can go a long way in finding the origins and resolutions to substrate/paint issues...and i think it is incumbent upon paint manufacturers to participate....

...jade
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

see comments under 'mould/algae'

http://www.ottossonfarg.com/en/background-Information.php
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rosssams



Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject: Linseed oil and mildew Reply with quote

While I am an expert at many things, chemistry is not one of them. I would go so far as to say it is magic to me. And, for all that, I make and sell linseed oil paint!

Allback paint is pretty much pure linseed oil. The naptha and manganese that are added are driers. The naptha, hateful as it is, is used as a solvent to hold the metal soap and make it easier to dissolve into the oil. Manganese is used as a much more ecologically sound metal than cobalt, which is a traditional metal drier. These metals act, as far as I understand, as catalysts to help speed up the formation of carbon bonds between the oil molecules.

Many metals act as fungicides. Lead is particularly good at this. The manganese in Allback paint is probably not very useful as a fungicide, although I am really only guessing here, because it is used in very small quantities.

The pigments may hold a key here. Most of the pigments used in linseed oil paints are either natural clay products or they are iron oxide with chemically altered metals which produce the bold colours. I suspect some of the pigments are actually acting like fungicides. In Scandinavia, in government sponsored studies, there has certainly been suspicion that premature failure of linseed oil paints can be ascribed to the pigments used, not the oil.

Solvents are useless as fungicides. They kill germs alright, but are extremely volatile, so they don't stick around for long. As a pre-treatment, turpentine might be good at cleaning the slate. At a push, you might consider wiping or "painting" the exterior with turpentine a few months after painting it with Allback paint, to clean and kill the growing mildew.

I know of a log cabin builder in Scotland who is experimenting with borates -- good, safe fungicides -- and linseed oil. However, the commercially available forms such as Borax are water soluble and mixing the fungicide with oil is not easy. However, it can be added to linseed oil paint in the same way as non-soluble pigment, so it simply hangs in suspension. As a separate pre-treatment to raw timber before painting, it should be a godsend, since it hangs around in the wood for years and years and years killing mould.

Mildew is one of the traditional curses of linseed oil, so the problems with the Allback paint are not really surprising. The problem is not one of correct application (although see below for a disclaimer). I would be most surprised to find that the mildew problems were not exactly where you would expect them to be, namely damp areas and where the wood was already under fungal attack.

What follows is not based on any concrete scientific knowledge. It is, I hope, a good hunch:

In my experience, linseed oil will go black with mildew if it is slow drying. Once linseed oil reaches a critical hardness/dryness, it is more or less free from visible fungal attack, which will continue at a very slow, microscopic level. (Since two thin coats of linseed oil will harden faster than a single thick coat, in this respect correct application will indeed help to prevent mildew.) Over the counter "boiled" linseed oil differs from raw linseed oil only in the addition of metal driers. The former is far less prone to mildew than the latter but then it dries quicker. In well protected dry conditions, I have had raw linseed oil dry over many months without any mildew, but on the inside of a barn door (on the outside of which mushrooms are growing!) it started turning black almost immediately.

There is no real chemical difference between dry and wet linseed oil, except the latter has carbon atoms with a free bond. In dry oil that carbon is attached either to an oxygen or carbon atom. Perhaps this is what makes it so difficult for fungus to get its teeth into it. I certainly find it easier to eat soft food.

One difference that may not be chemical is that the longer it takes for an oil to dry, the more it picks up airborne contaminants, which are mostly organic and quite tasty to fungus. My own paint happily catches mosquitoes and small moths!

Without trying to make this sound like a commercial for my paints, I would say that the main "natural" paint competitors to Allback all use quite a complex mixture of materials aiming to make the linseed oil dry faster and harder. Some use such heavily modified materials that it is debateable whether they are still natural. I use other plant oils, tree resins and plant solvents as well as heavily oxidised linseed oil, desperately trying to get the stuff to dry quickly. I've even toyed with using ground up recycled glass!! Allback seem to stick to straightforward linseed oil, which may dry more slowly than that of their competitors.

So, I suppose my suggestions would be:
First, the mildew is probably a sign that there is fungal attack within the existing timber, which you may wish to investigate/dry out/kill.
Second, you could try adding small quantities of dry powder borates to your paint before applying (powdered silver would probably work too, but cost fifty times more).
Third, look to see if some colours are performing better in similar conditions and use them.
Fourth, try an alternative paint.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just heard from Sonja Allback. It appears the Allbacks will not be joining the discussion here. She says they are working on a paper on this topic and it will be available through Soren. I look forward to the paper, but am disappointed that they will not join in here.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
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Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rossams...thanks for taking the time to share your input...i'll respond more later....

i'm glad that you received feedback john...bit i've gotta say that i'm disappointed the allbacks are choosing not to take part in a discussion to help find a resolution to jeff's paint/substrate issues...sounds a little like 'big business' as usual to me...

timing is everything and we know that keeping a customer is preferable to trying to get one back...i'm sorry our invitation was not reciprocated...i do look forward to hearing from soren...

...jade
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jefinch



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Elverson, PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnleeke wrote:
It appears the Allbacks will not be joining the discussion here. She says they are working on a paper on this topic and it will be available through Soren.

I don't know if this is the paper referred to by the Allbacks but in this morning's email I received the attached document. It's pretty much a codification of what Soren has been telling me via conversation and email. I just had another pre-bid conference this morning for a project that originally specified Allback paints. I am debating at this point if I should try and issue an addendum now or just wait until the project is awarded to remove the linseed paints from the work.

I agree with John that the evidence I am seeing doesn't universally point to the paint, which is one reason I am asking for help in solving the mystery. But as can be deduced from what Jade said, if the problem is only showing up on areas where linseed paint was used it may be more efficient just to fall back to tried and tested methods and products until the issues can be solved. I'm certainly not willing to put my neck on the line and do more whole building "experimentation" until that time comes. It may be that the process suggested by the attachment will result in a problem-free, long lasting paint job but getting a contractor to correctly use the new paints is hard enough without adding an extensive unfamiliar preparation process.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeff, you refer to the 'attached document' but i'm not seeing the document...i'd be interested in reading it....

ross...thanks again for taking the time to respond...your comments will take time to digest but what i am now taking away from it is 'to every action, there is reaction' as in slow drying, deep penetrating oils availing themselves to unintended visitors like bugs and mold...

i'm seeing that people sharing on this thread are looking for answers/discussions that lead to resolution for today and down future's road...my understanding is that allback's treatment of their linseed oil removes the food source from the oil thus rendering it unappetizing to mold and mildew...if the wood in the photos that jeff submitted contained spores, why would they be feasting on paint that lacked nutrition? again, i don't think we are finger pointing at one product or another but, as folks who are seeking a long lasting paint finish (the least unhealthful), we seem to be caught up in the never ending search for the perfect product...perhaps none exists now that lead has been found to be so toxic...

i'm willing to forgo the easy 'can be re-coated in 4 hours' water based paints for paint that is a bit fussy and takes 48 hours to dry if only the results will prove long lasting and protect the surfaces beneath...

...jade
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