Why Are Barns Painted Red?

Ever wonder? We have the answer and it may surprise you!

Ever wonder why are barns painted red in color? Red is (or, perhaps, was) a popular color for older barns due not to its color shade but for its usefulness.

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, it 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.

Why are Roosters on the weathervanes of many barns? 

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I agree with you Rick my great grandpa never painted his barn and it is still standing today weathered but in excellent shape


I do not agree that barns were painted red for the protection of the barn barn boards were never painted if not treated the boards would be harder then it painted and better protected that’s why you see barn boards over 100 years old that are gray in color because they have never been touched

David A Raun

Right. Mostly Hemlock was used for barn siding . It is very impervious to weather.

Shirley Staudacher

To honor the roosters some have beautiful colors and I believe they attract all animals for feed and Love and confront and shelter! Thus they picked the color Red!


Did people honour animals of any kind, at any time? N.A. Aboriginals and people from India are the only peoples I’m aware of who honour animals. Along with some other tribal peoples whose very existence relies on them for food. We whites have shown repeatedly through history to be quite cruel to livestock.

Cindy Saylor

My barn is red, it needs new paint, but I’m thinking of something different. I love the look of the tabacco barns in the south. Kentucky is my husband’s birth place. We live in Webberville mi.

Ruth DeVine

There are several painted black barns north of Howell, MI and around lower Genesee Co. I think they look beautiful!!

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