I emailed New Mexico Barbed Wire Collectors Association about the durability of barbed wire outdoors in the elements. If barbed wire lasts a long time in the rain and snow, then it should be even more durable when protected from the elements.
Owen: Our readers would love to hear about the durability of barbed wire. As you know, it’s a crucial part of earthbag buildings. Can you point us to a good source that documents how long barbed wire will last outdoors?
Reply: We can see how barbed wire would work [on earthbag building] and wish you lots of experimentation along this approach. As for durability of barbed wire, it will normally outlast the weathering elements as long as it’s not touching the ground, vegetation or the likes. The earliest patent of barbed wire was in 1868, and it still exists in various parts of the U.S. today.
Dan Sowle, for the Antique Barbed Wire Society