Why are barns red?

Red barn and sunset

If you asked a child, or anyone for that matter, to describe a barn to you-- they would describe a wooden, two-story structure that is red in color with white trim. That would be correct but have you ever wondered why most barns are red?

It is not for decorative purposes we can tell you that. While painting structures does help with its aesthetics, paint was originally used as a way to protect and seal the wood from Mother Nature and the elements. Early American farmers first attempted this by using linseed oil, lime, and milk. However, it did not help with the moss and fungi. Eventually, producers added ferrous oxide, aka rust, to create a more effective sealant. The rust gave the mixture a burnt orange/red color.

Once this “paint” became mass-produced in the 1800s, most farmers stuck with the red because of the abundance of ferrous oxide and tradition.

It is important to note that early, colonial farmers did not see painting barns as necessary; in fact, some saw it as a symbol of vanity.


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Rural Lifestyle & Entertainment Shows
Dailey & Vincent are BACK ON RFD-TV for another great season, brought to you by Gus Arrendale & Springer Mountain Farms. Join them as they welcome scores of fabulous bluegrass, country, and gospel music acts as special guests!
Join popular polka performer Mollie Busta as she hosts the weekly “Mollie B Polka Party” on RFD-TV! The one-hour program features the nation’s top polka bands and a wide variety of ethnic styles produced on location at music festivals from around the country.
Starring award-winning artist Perley Curtis, anyone who enjoys the classic sound of real Country music will love “Perley’s Place.” Filmed live at the iconic Nashville Palace, near Opryland in Nashville, TN, with a live audience, it’s one classic County hit after another.
The affable and unassuming international singing star Daniel O’Donnell is one of Ireland’s best known performers – from Australia to Alaska.
“The Marty Stuart Show” is a must-see during RFD-TV’s Saturday Night Music Row. Each exciting episode features Mr. Stuart and his band “The Fabulous Superlatives.” Episodes also feature his wife — “Country Queen,” Ms. Connie Smith—who has helped make the show a celebrated success.