Why are Barns Painted Red?

As I was preparing this post I wondered, “Why are barns usually painted red?”. A quick google led me to this article on the Farmer’s Almanac website where it says,

Many years ago, choices for paints, sealers and other building materials did not exist. Farmers had to be resourceful in finding or making a paint that would protect and seal the wood on their barns. Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color. When paint became more available, many people chose red paint for their barns in honor of tradition.

So, there you have it!

Red Barn

Mark Iocchelli is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada fine art photographer specializing in images of the Canadian prairies, urbex (urban exploration), rural decay, homesteads, abandoned farm houses, barns, automobiles and machinery. Signed, limited edition prints of the images you see here are available upon request.

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