The rusty reason barns are red

Have you ever wondered why barns are traditionally painted red? The reason… is rust.

  • Farmers Almanac: 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, and it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color.

So, I take full credit for those insta-worthy pops of color in the peaceful countryside. I might be a super villain, but I’m not all bad! You’re welcome.

Rustically yours,
Rusty

(image credit: m01229 on flickr)

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