Why Are Barns Painted Red?

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Posted by Karyn Moyer
Barns Painted Red

Have you ever wondered why most barns are painted red? 

Barns were not just painted red because it was the color of choice.  It was not just because red matched well with the green color of the tractor or land.  There were not a lot of color choices hundreds of years ago but the farmers chose red because it was cheap, easy and useful.

In the late 1700’s farmers were seasoning their wood to act as preservation.  It was discovered that skimmed milk, lime, and red iron oxide made a plastic like coating that hardened and lasted for years.  When they added Linseed oil derived from flax plants to the recipe it provided the necessary absorption and turned the mixture to a red (or rust) color.  Using this mixture on barns killed fungi and moss and it became a very popular sealant to protect the wood.  In the winter, the red color also attracted more sunlight keeping it warm.  As time grew on and paint became more readily available, red was the color of choice for barns to honor the tradition.

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This crimson color was chosen for more than just good aesthetics!
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Client Success & Marketing Manager at AgHires. Karyn enjoys learning and discovering new ways to help job seekers and clients to reach their goals. AgHires helps agricultural and food production companies find the employees they need to run a successful business.