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When I drive into Kentucky, I notice that most old barns and many fences are black. Is there a particular compound they are using, such as coal oil?

That is the color that weI want to paint our wood fence posts, for that Kentucky horse farm look, that we love.
 

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I can't answer your question, but I love that look too, I think it looks much classier than white fence.
 

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I am just curious:

Why is it used?

Why are some fences black, and some white, on the same field/pasture/farm?

Clove
 

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Seems to be a cultural thing. We noticed that too on a recent trip to Russell County to visit our ancestors' homeplaces and burial grounds (circa 1805). Seems that all the barns there are black. Couldn't figure out why except it is regional preference, just as the red barns are up north. Around here nobody paints barns, they let the siding weather naturally (except for the yuppy transplants who go all out red and white, then are stuck with repainting every 5 years!). Farmers using good poplar or oak know that that siding will outlive them! Cedar posts also are allowed to weather naturally here('cept again those new-fangled plastic (excuse me, "vinyl") fences that are fashionable on "ranchettes").

As to how to get that black look, creosote(used as a preservative by railroads and power pole companies) would do, and would last longer than paint, but is bad for leaching into the soil. Black paint would work too, but an oil based "stain-sealer" would stick and endure weather longer than paint which would tend to peel off rather fast. Creosote would be the best bet for the fence posts, treated before being put in the ground, and they'll last 30 years or more. Siding would be best in a oil based stain, that would soak into the grain rather than sit on top like paint does. There's a black metal roof paint made by "Koolseal" called "koolseal onyx" that is a great roof paint, good for old rusty metal roofing.
 

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The black paint helps a tobacco barn get warmer and sweat the leaf more. The black fences don't show the paint missing/chipping as much as white does. Black fences also match up with the black barns better. Me and the Mrs. prefer red buildings (fades slower) and black fence/trim. I always figured they used white up north so's that the building would match the snow you have most of the year.
 

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A lot of the farmers in my area use a mixture of creosote and used motor oil, brushed on or thinned with a bit of diesel to spray their barns. It leaves the wood pretty dark, and is a great preservative, gets rid of the used oil from the tractors. It also keeps the termites and other wood destoying insects out of the wood.
 

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I used Asphalt paint on my board fencing, very nice black and soaks into the lumber nicely. Added bonus is that horses hate the smell and won't chew the wood.

Not easy to apply and you cannot spray it on fences unless you have a commercial sprayer made for that type of paint. I think I went through about 100 gallons of that paint this year but got everything except one new fence line painted. Have to wait until spring for that.

That paint lasts a LONG time without reapplying if done properly the first time (stir the carp out of that paint so that the asphalt/tar mixes properly). Apply when the weather is between 65-85 degrees, but I have done it when it was a bit cooler (not much or the paint is so tacky it won't spread and if too hot, it is too thin).

Great stuff though - runs 34.99 a five gallon bucket. Since I use all rough cut oak lumber, it really preserves the wood. I even coated the pressure treated 6 inch posts with it..lol..I don't want to mess with this riding arena again for the next 10 years!

Regular black fence paint just doesn't last that long..and horses will still chew it to bits if they have that tendency. White paint is great, except that every speck of dirt shows and when it starts peeling, well..you sure can tell it.

I got so tired of painting that I hired a couple of guys to finish up this year. Next year I hope to have the rest of fencing done and then can "forget about it" for a few years.
 

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In my childhood there used to be a man that traveled around in an old pickup that did barn tarring. I remember that Dad had this man tar our tobacco barns, but only recall that it was done once this way. I don't remember any other times, but our barns were always kinda ugly. We had 4 and 5 tier barns and these were difficult to paint because of the height. The farm I grew up on is still a tobacco farm, just more of it than we used to grow. The man that now owns the farm grows tobacco on all the upland, probably around sixty acres.

In Kentucky, we have what's called a Kentucky Quilt Trail. Old barns have painted quilt blocks on them.

Here's the Marion County site:
http://www.visitlebanonky.com/attractions/quilts.htm
 

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prior to 1950-- In the midwest--

Red barn was ferrous oxide for the less rich. (was home made)

White barn was zinc oxide for the rich who could afford paint.

Black barn was the tobacco drying shed.

Black fence was creosoted to keep the horses from chewing/eating the fence into a million splinters.

No paint meant the farmer was lazy and had no chillens'.

Remember that paint was used to preserve the wood not for just decoration. (no treated lumber)
 

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I used Asphalt paint on my board fencing, very nice black and soaks into the lumber nicely. Added bonus is that horses hate the smell and won't chew the wood.

Not easy to apply and you cannot spray it on fences unless you have a commercial sprayer made for that type of paint. I think I went through about 100 gallons of that paint this year but got everything except one new fence line painted. Have to wait until spring for that.

That paint lasts a LONG time without reapplying if done properly the first time (stir the carp out of that paint so that the asphalt/tar mixes properly). Apply when the weather is between 65-85 degrees, but I have done it when it was a bit cooler (not much or the paint is so tacky it won't spread and if too hot, it is too thin).

Great stuff though - runs 34.99 a five gallon bucket. Since I use all rough cut oak lumber, it really preserves the wood. I even coated the pressure treated 6 inch posts with it..lol..I don't want to mess with this riding arena again for the next 10 years!

Regular black fence paint just doesn't last that long..and horses will still chew it to bits if they have that tendency. White paint is great, except that every speck of dirt shows and when it starts peeling, well..you sure can tell it.

I got so tired of painting that I hired a couple of guys to finish up this year. Next year I hope to have the rest of fencing done and then can "forget about it" for a few years.
I have a horse coming to stay with us for awhile that is a horrible cribber. Do you think the ashphalt paint would deter him from putting his teeth and lips on the stalls rails to crib??
 

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all of the outbuildings around here (southern pa)were normally whitewashed with lime. it lasts much longer than any paint i have seen and it preserves the wood. i think white was used a lot on poultry buildings up my way because lessening the heat in the summer was probably more important than soaking up heat in the winter.
 

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Here I whitewash the inside of the chicken house before we get our spring chicks.
 

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While it doesn't always hold true, I've heard many times that black barns/fences indicate a working farm, while white barns/fences indicate a show farm. Red generally goes to the working side as well. Black does help sweat tobacco, yet most fire cured barns here & in northern TN are red. If you want a good guage of a working barn, look at the roof. Without adequate paint on the roof, the rest really doesn't matter.
 

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We have rough-cut oak fence, painted white for years before we bought the place. It shows dirt and any peeling is very obvious. We'll be changing to black before long.

Where DH is from, in the northern Virginia horse country, fence is rarely painted white. Instead you see miles of rolling hills and four-board black fence. It's prettier than white, IMO, and much more practical. Even when it's worn it looks better than white.
 

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my horses can't stand the smell of the asphalt paint nor the taste so they rarely get near it. Might not help with a dedicated cribber, but it's worth a shot. A muzzle is about the only thing I've seen that stops the cribbing as the horse can't latch on to anything. I boarded a cribber ONE time, never again. That horse could chew and pull down a board rail overnight. Ended up muzzling him and treating him for ulcers. He eventually got less inclined to crib, but whenever he got nervous, he would return to it.

I won't buy nor board another cribber, too rough on my fences and barn.
 
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