Paint Additives Can Provide Some Resistance to Mildew

Question: Many homeowners are beset with mildew attacking inner and outer walls of their abodes. I am one of those. Would you please publish a list of inexpensive paint additives for water-based latex and oil-based paints and how to use them. Practical procedures for treating and painting mildewed walls by a nonprofessional.

Answer: You need to air your problems.

That is, you need better ventilation, because that’s the only absolute cure I know for this unsightly fungus.

Indoors, the installation of overhead fans, adding windows to closed-in areas or leaving doors open may help eliminate the problem. But, keep in mind that you can’t avoid mildew when water is standing or moisture is always present.

On outdoor walls, the cause may be improper ventilation in the foundation or attic areas of the house, trapping in the walls the moisture that manifests itself in the form of mildew on the outside.

Barry Davis, manager of Par Paint Co., 1801 W. Sunset Blvd., speaks frankly about paint additives to reduce mildew and points out that most, if not all, of these products can only add mildew resistance to the paint. Further, if the moist conditions that brought about the mildew in the first place continue to exist, the mildew will return.


One of the additives sold at Par Paint is Super Dial, manufactured by Dial Chemical Co., P.O. Box 1437, Orlando, Fla. It sells for under $2.50 for a one-ounce bottle that can be added to a gallon of paint.

Your local home center or paint and hardware stores will have similar products.

Davis further states that most paints already have a mildew deterrent in them. Manufacturers in areas where moisture and mildew are common, are likely to contain more of the additives than in dry areas. On this theory, Super Dial may be a good product for Southern California because it’s manufactured in Florida where humidity is high.

Q: Some time ago I saw an advertisement for a tool that slides under roof shingles and removes nails as well as the shingle. As I recall, it was shaped something like the head of an ax. I’m going to have my garage re-roofed and would like to save some money by tearing off the old roof myself. Any idea where I can find a tool like that?

A: Yes, it’s called a shingle nail remover, and it’s advertised on Page 64 of the current catalogue of Brookstone Co., 127 Vose Farm Road, Peterborough, N.H. 03458. It sells for $14.50, plus $3.45 in the United States for packing and delivery.