Just a Random Question

This is kinda like why are barns painted red? I was taught that barns are painted red because that was the cheapest color paint… Anyway, I’ve noticed that the majority of planked up vacant houses/buildings use red planks. Does this just help preserve the wood? Does anyone know why this is the case?

10 Comment

  • i believe that in days of yore, red paint had the highest content of lead. as such, it was a deterrent to insects and other vermin. not sure how much truth there is to that nowadays…

  • While I doubt red is the cheapest paint (I would think the cheapest is “crap brown,” since you can just mix any leftovers you have together to get that). But either way it’s certainly not the easiest to paint with.

    It takes about 27 coats before anything light behind it doesn’t show through…

  • I always thought it was a way of marking which properties were owned by Shiloh Baptist Church.

  • i always thought the red was used by dc.gov when they’ve secured an abandoned building. thats been what i’ve witnessed anyway.

  • Barns are traditionally red because farmers would would coat the wood with a mixture of linseed oil and ferrous oxide (rust). Rust was plentiful on farms and deterred mold and fungi. The color was much oranger than today’s barns are usually painted.

    And red dye is actually very expensive to produce.

  • How much rust would you have to scrape off your pitchfork to color enough paint for a barn? This answer, (despite being found verbatim on every google site)just doesn’t really make sense if you think about it. For one thing, wouldn’t a good farmer try to keep his tools rust-free? The use of animal blood makes more sense, but I think there is more research to be done here. . .

    • As said above–they weren’t vivid red. So no, they didn’t need to scrape a lot of rust off their pitchforks. Get off google and read some books. The words of Francis Henry Taylor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and William Wurster, Dean of the School of Architecture at UCLA should be sufficient evidence of the reasons behind red paint.

      As to why DC uses red for their boarded up windows–I would suspect it was intended to blend in with red brick, which is so predominant in this city. Obviously as this photo demonstrates, it doesn’t work for every building, but it is the most common denominator.

      • If you want to reference books – please reference books, but you posted word for word the most common explanation on at least 11 websites. I just think there is more to it than that. Perhaps it had something to do with the popularity of red barns among farmers of Germanic origin, and Germany being the center of dye/chemical production in mid 19th century as well as the importation of natural red dyes from Peru along with the guano trade which was also predominant in the 1850s and heavily concentrated on Germany and England.

        Maybe people just longed for some color other than green or brown. I don’t know! I’m asking questions. Meanwhile, I still don’t imagine how a few teaspoons of rust is going to color enough linseed oil & milk paint – rust or red or whatever color – for a doghouse, let alone a barn.

        • Damn, now you people have gotten me curious. I never thought much about why barns are red. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.

  • Anonymous at 9:15 is right — red signifies that the city boarded it up.

Comments are closed.