Why are barns red?

I ordered up a little home improvement t-shirt last night.  It’s totally cute – I think.

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Actually, I was searching for two different t-shirts I had seen on the TV show Elementary – the character, Watson, has the best t-shirts.  I didn’t actually find those two t-shirts (both were sold out everywhere – so sad!)  I did, however, stumble upon this little red barn t-shirt.  It got me thinking about barns – why are barns red?

I thought the answer would be to some sort of long locked away mystery.  It’s not.

Barns are red (or more accurately used to be red) – simply out of necessity and resource availability.

You can easily google the answer yourself, but I thought since I was curious and already did a bit of research – I would just go ahead and tell you.

According to www.farmersalmanac.com

Farmers would protect the barn wood with linseed oil, milk, lime, and ferrous oxide – or rust as it is more commonly known.  Rust was known to kill fungi and mosses – so it was very effective as a sealant.  Without the rust, the sealant was white – that is why white barns were also popular.

These days, paint is readily available in any color, but many people still choose red for their barns simply because it is a tradition.

There you have it.  A little home improvement history tidbit.