Why We Love Barns
The recognizable structure of a barn is part of our history, part of our culture, and was part of our way of life long before today’s generations took their first steps. Historical barns have many recognizable characteristics. Most of the older barn designs began with thick fieldstone foundations. Large rocks were mortared together creating a solid base for the massive barn beams. Once the structure of the barn was complete, long wooden planks were added as flooring and rough hewn logs were applied to complete the exterior. These barn structures were built to last, and that they did. A typical barn could last decades - several generations, in some cases.
Between the creation of structures larger than life and the intelligent engineering of generations long past, barns are undoubtedly more than big red structures built to look good next to a white picket fence. These buildings were built with purpose, and every aspect was a tweak or modification until the giant red structures became a part of sustainable life.
Why are Barns Traditionally Painted Red?
When you think of a traditional farm, it can be easy to imagine the house with the white fence, or long rows of crops and dirt fields. It is also most common to think of the farm animals all gathered in a big red barn. In fact, if you search barns on the internet, a majority of the pictures all display a large red structure. Even in children’s books, barns are red.
Painting structures is hard work and very time-consuming. Most people have to hire a professional to help to get the job done and get it done correctly. Painting a structure as large as a barn can be an even more daunting task. It’s safe to say that barns aren’t painted just for the fun of it.
Painting a barn will help protect the structure from damage over time. That damage is most commonly from water or rain; however, insects can damage a structure as well. It is important to remember that anyone willing to put the time and money into building a barn would want to protect that barn as best they can. The better protected the barn, the better protected the animals and harvested crops inside.
Obviously, painting a barn is extremely beneficial, and a part of barn construction that is never overlooked. So what makes the barn color red so incredibly desirable? The only true desire early farmers had was to protect the structures they worked so hard to build. It was, in fact, their livelihood, and the ability to provide for one’s family depended on it.
Looking back to the birth of paint stores, you’ll find that Sherwin-Williams didn’t begin selling paint until the late 1800s. Quite understandably, this was long after barns became the norm on farms across the country.
In the beginning, barn structures were plagued with mold and rotting wood. That’s when the idea of using a sealant was born. Farmers began to use oils to seal the barn boards from water damage and prevent mold issues. The use of linseed oil was an extremely popular option. This oil was a readily available product extracted from seeds of a flax plant. The linseed oil was common enough that large amounts could easily be procured to cover a barn structure.
The farmers started to use this orange-colored oil on a regular basis. Like any good product, farmers had the foresight to make it better. Somewhere along the line, rust was added to the orange-colored linseed oil. The rust, or ferric oxide (a chemical in rust), was an excellent mold killer and fungal deterrent. Not only was rust a great additive to the linseed oil because of its qualities, but it was readily available and very inexpensive.
Adding rust to the orange linseed oil turned everything red. This mixture was applied in large amounts to barn structures and worked like a charm. Any great product finds success by word of mouth, and that is exactly what happened with the new barn sealant. The information about how to best protect your barn had spread from farmer to farmer and became common knowledge long before the first canned paint products were sold. That being said, once the first paint manufacturers began making paint products on a larger scale, the paint color for barns was predisposed to being red by the established common knowledge between farmers.
Common Barn Design
There is rhyme and reason as to how barns are constructed. Just as barns are red, they are also shaped specifically for a reason.
A barn is a dome-like structure to help with rain runoff. These structures are often very tall because they house many things. Most barns are built tall to include a loft area for hay, which is best kept high up off the ground to avoid moisture.
The barn is built with both ends being similar, unlike many structures that maintain a definite front and rear. A barn’s structure has similar front and rear for functionality. This way, animals entering and exiting the barn can be released out either side. The same concept applies to farm machinery.
A barn interior is most often an open area. The inside of a barn is regularly kept clear to allow maximum access to animal stalls and feed. The typically open concept allows for little room for clutter. Historically, barns were built with huge structural support beams, which can withstand the test of time. These beams are still sought-after items for repurposed modern design today.
Texas Quality Structures Barns
At Texas Quality Structures, we offer barns from 8 feet up to 16 feet in width, with the largest size typically 16-foot by 40-foot. We offer as much customization as possible, from different color stains, single and double doors, flower boxes, shutters, and windows. You can find lofted barns, as well as lofted barn cabins. In fact, we’re sure that if you shop with us, we’ll be able to offer you the exact type of barn you need. Get in touch with us today!