HowStuffWorks "Why are barns usually painted red?"


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** Why are barns usually painted red? **

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Why are barns usually painted red?

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*Red barns are common sights throughout rural America.*

Photo courtesy National Parks Service

If you've ever driven through a rural area, it's likely that you've seen
the red barns that speckle the farming landscape. There are several
theories as to why barns are painted red.

Centuries ago, European farmers would seal the wood on their barns with an
oil, often linseed oil -- a tawny-colored oil derived from the seed of the
flax plant. They would paint their barns with a linseed-oil mixture, often
consisting of additions such as milk and lime. The combination produced a
long-lasting paint that dried and hardened quickly. (Today, linseed oil is
sold in most home-improvement stores as a wood sealant). Now, where does
the red come from?

In historically accurate terms, "barn red" is not the bright, fire-engine
red that we often see today, but more of a burnt-orange red. As to how the
oil mixture became traditionally red, there are


why are barns red

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