How to Use Barn Paint? Briefly Explained

Looking to paint a barn but don’t know where to start? Well, we may have the answer for you.

A gallon of barn paint will be the first thing to get. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it, going from its benefits, its uses, and even its colors.

Apart from that, we’re teaching you how to use barn paint and get the most out of it.

So, are you ready to learn more about painting a barn? Then keep reading and find out!

What to Know About Barn Paint?

Few products are as mysterious as barn paint. But there shouldn’t be much of a mystery, it is just like any other type of paint out there – just made to work on barns.

You could say that barn paint just paints on wood. It boasts a wide array of benefits and offers the chance to give your barn a new look with little effort.

Below we explore barn paint intensely with some interesting questions:

What are the advantages of using barn paint?

The main advantage of barn paint is the flexibility it offers. But it also hardens the wood in a sense. Barn paint helps wood by:

  • Preventing cracking & flaking in temperature changes
  • Reducing the amount of moisture wood absorbs
  • Keeping the wood from drying too fast
  • Staying on the wooden surface for years

These are just some of the advantages of barn paint. Below you’ll find a lot more about it.

How long does barn paint last?

There’s no definitive answer to this. It depends heavily on the type of barn paint, where it is used, the conditions it is used on, and how many layers you apply. But generally, if used well, barn paint can last anywhere from 2 to 20 years.

Can you use barn paint on metal?

It is not recommended to use barn paint on metal because it doesn’t protect it from rust and other types of corrosion. However, it will stick well enough and give a decent appearance to the metal. With the right color, barn paint can make any metal look good enough.

What colors does barn paint offer?

There aren’t as many barn paint colors as there are colors for regular paint. However, you may find a wide array of tones, going from white to black, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and others. Any paint that gives a matte finish, that’s a color you may find in barn paint.

Types of Barn Paint

Now that you’ve learned about the advantages of barn paint and other random stuff about it, it is time to learn about its types. Here are some to consider:

Water-Based Acrylic

The regular type of paint but designed specifically for barns. It is resistant and durable, perfect to cover barns from the inside to the outside. You can apply it on wood as well as metal, concrete, and even plastic. It also comes in a wide array of colors. 


Have you ever wondered why are barns painted red? It comes from Falun paint, a dark-red type of paint that used to protect cottages and barns from humidity in Scandinavian Europe. While Falun color is not used anymore, it was the original and the reason why most barns are red.


In contrast with Falun paint, creosote was black. This was another common type of paint many people used for its ability to protect the wood from exterior conditions and bugs. However, creosote was eventually prohibited as commercial paint. It works well on timber and metal.

Linseed Oil

If you want to paint your barn in a way that lasts, then you will consider linseed oil as your best option. It comes directly from linseed oil but with a water-soluble formula. This makes it dry super-fast while increasing its durability and climate resistance.


Lastly, you will find pottery paint. It refers to the acrylic paint that gives barn and furniture a chalky finish. People used it on most wooden furniture as well as buildings, including barns. Nowadays, it is sold as chalk paint, but it is usually not the most resistant to exterior factors.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use Barn Paint

After learning everything you need, it is time to learn how to paint a barn using barn paint.

This process is relatively easy (just like painting a house). But because it uses barn paint for the whole project, you will need to consider a thing or two that you wouldn’t with regular paint.

Follow these steps to get the job done:

Preparing the Barn

If you’re using barn paint, it’s very likely because you’re painting a barn. But because barns can be messy, you’ll need to prepare the wood before starting. These tips will help you out:

  • Start by making sure the barn structure is ready to tackle the paint. If you see any algae, fungi, moss, or similar stuff on the wood that may prevent the paint from sticking, you’ll have to clean it off. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to heal or repair the wood.
  • If the barn is painted already, then you’ll have to get rid of the old paint. We recommend using a fungicidal wash. This will clean not only the paint but also any type of fungi growing. Follow the instructions of the fungicidal wash.
  • To remove dirt, dust, grease, and flaking paint, you can use a power washer. It should get rid of most of the things hanging from the wood by using just water.
  • Lastly, try using a soap-like solution that doesn’t stick to the wood when cleaning. Anything that leaves a film behind may eventually make it hard for the barn paint to stick.

After leaving the barn 24 to 48 hours drying, you should be ready to start painting.

Painting the Walls

With the barn ready, you should start gathering all the painting items. This depends on how you want to paint the barn. Follow these tips for a better idea:

  • Barn paint doesn’t need any priming. So you can start painting almost right away. A roller brush or spray machine is ideal if you want to save some time.
  • Before applying any paint, though, be sure to stir it well enough. If not, the paint may not stick properly or form lumps that you won’t like. The same happens if you’re painting in temperatures below 50-degrees Fahrenheit (10-degrees Celsius).
  • Once you’ve assembled the items, then you can start painting. The first layer should be diluted at about 70% paint and 30% water. This should be enough to give a “priming” effect on the wood, so the second layer sticks well.
  • After applying the first layer, you need to wait 2 hours to apply the second. This layer will be pure, so you won’t have to mix anything.
  • If the wood has many imperfections, you may want to apply at least 2 or 3 coats of undiluted paint. This will cover any defect and make the barn walls look neater.

After covering the whole barn, you should wait about 12 hours for the paint to dry up completely. Then you can start with other parts of the barn.

Painting the Doors

Having painted barn doors leaves a more pleasant effect, perfect for people who want the best-looking barn. Here are a few tips for painting doors:

  • You can follow the same instructions as with the walls. However, consider that metallic and plastic parts like handles, knobs, and other hardware may need several extra layers.
  • Try not to apply paint on instrumental crevices like keyholes and on metal mechanisms that may get stuck later. Be extra careful with sprayers and rollers.

Once you’ve painted the walls, then you should let them dry for about 10 hours. Then you can proceed to paint the roof.

Painting the Roof

The roof is just like the walls. However, some people like adding extra paint because it tends to receive the most direct damage from environmental effects. Here’s how to paint it:

  • Most barn roofs are made of wood, just like the walls and doors. However, some of them may come with metal construction. In that case, you may need a different paint for the job.
  • If the roof is made of wood, you can follow the same process as with the walls. For an even more effective result, however, add at least 3 layers of paint for it to stick.
  • Just add a layer every 12 hours within 2 days. That should be enough to give you the roof color you’re looking for.

Once you’re done painting the roof and the rest of the barn, you can you’ve successfully learned how to use barn paint.

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