Farmhouses in the Midwest/everywhere?

Why are farmhouses white with a green roof?

Theories: So the farmer can find their way home better, ie. the house is more visible in a field of wheat etc… The winter question: Still, has a green roof.

OR Cheaper materials.

I know, I know… amateurs

I’ve heard the very same question. Some people began asking why barns were red, so they asked some farmers, after all, they should know. Their answer was that it was because that was the cheapest paint. “Why is that?” they wondered. They then asked at the stores where the paint was sold and asked why the red paint was the cheapest. You can guess the answer: because they sell so much to the farmers. You’re better off asking these people if their chicken came before or after their chicken’s eggs.

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

I know nothing about the farmhouse question. The red barn business was supposedly because the chemical for that pigment (which I don’t remember) was actually cheaper than alternatives. Presumably that changed over time but the habit didn’t. But I certainly don’t know that that was not an UL.

I’ve never see a white farmhouse with a green roof. I’ve seen plenty of white farmhouses*, but then white is a pretty popular color for houses in general.

Shouldn’t this topic be in GQ?

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

Why is this in “about this message board?”

I’m kicking this over to GQ. Bombs away, Nickrz!

your humble TubaDiva

Before the days of Glidden and Dutch Boy, red paint was made with common, everyday rust. Therefore, it was cheap and readily available. My source: This Old House.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

And now I have. We happened to be driving through a farmhouse-infested area today and I took a look, just because I’d read this topic. The first few were white with greyish shingles, just like many I’ve seen before up in WI. Then there were some with brownish roofs. Then the green roofs started showing up, and quite a few of them. I wonder what was up with the yellow farmhouse with the green roof though.

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

I live in a 100-year-old farmhouse that was barn red, but the roof is multi-shingle. It’s truly hidious. It was concocted under the influence of a bijillion beers and a few guys that knew nothing about roofing (my husband and his cohorts). The reason was… it was dirt cheap. Thankfully, the hops and barleys no longer accompany our home improvement projects!

I just want to know if there are any barns around that are actually * standing *. They always look as if one strong wind will knock 'em over.

Oh yeah, we got barns. They’re still standing and they’re over a century old. Not painted and haven’t been in quite some time. As for farmhouses having specific color schemes, I have no idea.

Not to change the topic, well, not much anyway.

But FunneeFarmer (or anyone) – I’ve always wondered why dilapidated, deserted farmhouses are left standing. Assuming the owner has to keep insurance on it, wouldn’t it save money to tear/burn it down?

Is nostalgia at work here? Shelter for rodents? A retirement fix-up project? Just something picturesque to look at?

I do love exploring them though.

most the old farm houses i see are faded weathered gray. somebody waved a paintbrush at um back in the harding administration maybe. Yeh Dice , the rust is iron oxide which is what makes some clay red, mix fine clay with some milk and you got a long lasting easy to make cheap paint. ( I’ve tried to strip some of that milk paint in my biz, caint be done) Pun, out on the high plains they BUILD the barns leaning to the west figuring the wind will straighten um up.
Funee does the bull durham company still paint barns for free? Used to they would paint your barn,IF it was close enough to a road and they painted the side towards the road as a bill board. I used to see a few barns painted by the “Roller Cone Co.” up in the panhandle. ( always wanted my dad to stop there, what ever a “roller cone " was, it sounded fun to a 9 yr old boy, some kinda hay bailer or somethin, i was disapointed to learn.
Auntee, if you hadn’t changed the subject I would have. They don’t keep up any insurance on those things, less the bank still owns it and makes um. I used to wonder about the farmer who finally got out of debt ( I heard of ONE once, Funee)and built a new home on the old place. Usually a brick ranch style right on the highway with all its noise and traffic. and back over there on the horizon at the top of the hill you could see the old picturesque clapboard house at the end of a winding country lane, and think " why would they replace that great place with this out of place suburban tract house?“Then i pictured the winding lane in a thunder or ice storm, the wind howling through the batten boards. And those old houses are getting hard to find , furniture makers like me can sell a crudley cobbled table made of " old Pine” for 4 5 time the amount of new pine. OK tree was ten years old, cut down, made into a house, stood 50 yrs , made into an intentionally wobbly table. $500. Nother table 100 year old tree, cut yesterday, made into a square tight table, $200. Ehh… Now to really change the subject, Happee , how come when I am driving on a paved highway I can see the farmer coming along the intersecting section road, doing about 95, a plume of dust a mile high and three long. I am doing 70, I know what is gonna happen ,it always does, i watch and try to judge distance and time for 5 minutes , but no matter what i do he pulls right out in front of me just as a semi is passing me and then drives towards town on the highway at 45?
(”… and the farmer is the one who feeds um all…")- W Guthrie

As for faded grey, our barns were once painted a grey. My father claimed it was a popular paint at one time for barns.

Yes, I do own a dilapidated old farmhouse and have insurance on it, I think you pretty much have to for liability reasons. Since I put a new roof on it about 8 years ago thinking that I might get around to fixing it up, they list it with $10,000 worth. Now that I’ve moved into the ‘old family farmhouse’, which is old but much better looking, I’ve been dumping money into there. My guess is you could dump the insurance but if someone gets hurt while in it, even if they have no permission to be there, you could probably get sued. As for the color of our barns, faded brown with a little faded grey under the eaves where the paint was protected from the elements. As for the leaning bit, even a sturdy old post and beam barn will sag after the water leaks onto the beams or the foundation starts to bow. That’s a shame because I’ve always been more impressed with post and beam construction than other types.

The classic Maine color for farmhouses is yellow. I have been told this is because of an old milk-based paint.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

I love the classic farmhouse style – folks are building new houses around here now with some of the old features – and sitting porches are making a big comeback in new construction.

Every time the county assessor asks for extra help, I’m tempted to apply, just for a chance to walk around barnyards and check things out.

There’s nothing prettier than a well-kept farmstead, and nothing more interesting than a dumpy one with lots of little old falling down buildings and sheds.

John W. Kennedy: The classic Maine color for farmhouses is yellow. I have been told this is because of an old milk-based paint.

What is that? Cheese.


I know that rust was used for stains and paint at one time. I actually used rust from an airline too stain an equipment stand at work. It matched the trim perfectly. They also used toobaco for a atain too. Then there’s the good old white barn lime sprayed on the barn walls.