Comments on Linseed Oil Treatments of Concrete

Report No: 82-R52

Published in 1982

About the report:

Studies by the Research Council and numerous other agencies, as well as experience covering almost forty years, clearly indicate that concrete with good resistance to scaling caused by deicer salts is achievable when the water-cement ratio is kept to 0.45 or less, the air entrainment is proper for the size of aggregates used, and the mixture is properly consolidated. Studies and experience over the same period have indicated that these factors are not consistently given the needed attention. Thus numerous treatments of pavement surfaces with water repellents to prevent deicer scaling have been developed, tested, and, for the most part, discarded, as ineffective. These treatments vary widely in cost. By far the most satisfactory such treatment in terms of the cost/benefit ratio is the application of linseed oil.

On the basis of the 1969 skid study and the 1980 experience in Albemarle County it is recommended that no linseed oil treated or retreated bridge or pavement surface be opened to traffic until skid tests have provided results indicating the pavement to have adequate skid resistance under wet conditions, or unless the surface exhibits excellent absorptive characteristics as evidenced by a change from an oily appearance to a dry-appearance similar to that noted prior to the application of the linseed oil.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Howard Newlon, David C. Mahone

Last updated: January 20, 2024

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