Why Are Agriculture Metal Buildings Painted Red?


Metal barns have been a staple of American culture for centuries. They’ve graced almost every hillside in every county of every state. And yet, most individuals have never stopped to consider why barns have traditionally been painted red. The term ‘red barn’ is almost as natural sounding as a blue sky, but there’s a very real reason why farmers throughout the ages have turned to that deep color we all know so well for their agricultural buildings.

In this blog, we aim to explore this subject in greater detail and shine some light on why farmers throughout America have chosen red as their preferred color, from its origins to the reasons it’s still used today. Stick with us for a great drive through the history of American agriculture.

Why Most Barns Are Painted Red

There are many reasons why farmers chose red as their main color for barns and agricultural buildings. But the origin may surprise you!

In years past, farmers were often left struggling to find a way to protect their wood barns and structures from harsh sunlight, moisture, and pests. Paint was not easily affordable, especially for large-scale projects, and finding a supplier nearby was even more of a rarity.

But farmers of that era, being the pragmatic folks they were, came up with an ingenious solution: Oxidized metal, or rust, from nails and equipment mixed with milk obtained from their cows. These farmers would shave down rust from items around the farm into milk to create what was known as “red wash” or “barn wash.” This wash was incredibly affordable and went a long way toward protecting barns from the elements.


Other Reasons Red Was the Chosen Color for Barns

Now that we’ve discovered the origin of the color red being used in agriculture buildings, let’s look at a few additional reasons farmers this color has become such a predominant option for agricultural operations around the country:

1. Tradition

One of the primary reasons for the enduring popularity of red barns is tradition. Early farmers in the United States often used readily available materials for their barns, such as a mixture of linseed oil and rust to create a red pigment. Over time, this practice became ingrained in the farming culture, and red barns became an iconic symbol of rural life. Many farmers today continue this tradition as a way to honor their agricultural heritage and maintain a connection to the past.

2. Sharp Contrast

Red is a color that stands out prominently against the natural landscape. Red barns provide a sharp contrast to the green fields and blue skies, making them easily visible from a distance. This contrast not only adds visual appeal but also serves a practical purpose. It helps farmers and farmhands locate the barn quickly, especially during inclement weather or when animals need attention.

3. Affordability

Red paint, specifically red oxide, was a cost-effective option for early farmers. Red oxide was derived from iron ore, a readily available and affordable resource. This paint helped protect the wood from moisture and decay, extending the lifespan of the barn and eventually becoming a cultural mainstay.

The Rise of Metal Barns

While wooden barns have enjoyed a long run in American culture, a newcomer has made waves in the agricultural space in recent years. Steel barns are praised for their remarkable durability, adaptability, and resistance to the elements and offer farmers significant advantages over other construction options.

For one, they’re far more capable of handling heavy snow, high winds, and even fires. They’re also naturally resistant to pests, mold, and mildew, making them highly effective for protecting crops and equipment from decay.

And then you have customizability. Steel barns can be customized in a virtually endless variety of ways, from the footprint to the doors, windows, and accessories. So, no matter how you like to work and play, you’ve got a building that can keep up.

Contemporary Color Palettes for Barns

In modern times, metal barns and steel farm buildings have risen to the forefront of agriculture due to their affordability, strength, and incredible resistance to the elements. They’re a great option for a wide range of applications on and off the farm. And thanks to modern engineering, they’re available in an array of colors. Let’s look at just a few color options available to you.

• Barn Red
• Black
• Burgundy
• Clay
• Earth Brown
• Evergreen
• Pebble Beige
• Pewter Gray
• Quaker Gray
• Rawhide
• Slate Blue
• White
• Sandstone
• Galvalume
• Copper
• And more!

You can even mix and match trim and wainscoting to make gorgeous, coordinated designs that stand out from the crowd.

Looking for Your New Metal Barn? Contact AA Metal Buildings!

Whether you’re searching for small steel farm buildings or one of our larger metal barns for sale, we have a wide range of structures to meet any need or application. Our buildings are engineered using modern techniques and high-quality components, so you know you’re getting a structure that’s in it for the long run.

We back our steel barns with industry-leading warranties and certifications for an added level of assurance that you’re getting a quality product.

Contact AA Metal Buildings today at +1 (877) 244-4470 and let our team of building experts help you find a structure that works for your way of life.