Why Are Barns Painted Red In Washington State?

There’s something so classic and charming about a red barn. If you've driven through rural Washington State, you'll see plenty of red barns across the horizon.

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Here Are Three Reasons We Believe That Red Is A Popular Barn Color

Whether you live on a farm or in the city, you most likely know exactly what I’m talking about - the iconic red gambrel roof, the white-painted windows, and that unmistakable deep shade of crimson.

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But have you ever wondered why so many barns are painted red?

Historically speaking, there is no definitive answer as to why barns are traditionally painted red. However, there are several theories that have been suggested over the years.

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One popular explanation is that farmers used to use red paint because it was relatively cheap and easy to make, especially compared to other colors available at the time.

In fact, during the 19th century in America, some of the ingredients for making paint included boiled linseed oil mixed with iron oxide (aka rust) which created a deep shade of red.

Another theory suggests that farmers chose to paint their barns red in order to protect them from wood rot and insect infestations such as termites or carpenter bees. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that certain hues of paint can actually repel insects - including red.


This makes sense considering that many insects are attracted by light colors (such as white) but tend to avoid darker shades like black and deep red.

Finally, some people believe that barns were painted red as a way of connecting with other members of their community - particularly those who lived on nearby farms - by having a recognizable symbol they could all relate to.

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So there you have it - three possible answers as to why so many farm buildings throughout history were painted bright shades of scarlet.

Although we may never know for sure which theory is correct, one thing is certain: red barns will always remain an iconic symbol of rural charm across Washington State for generations to come.

There is a really great classic 100-year-old red barn as you come out of Waitsburg Washington on your way to Dayton Washington that's worth checking out.

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