You're outside taking care of some yard work, and you suddenly notice streaking on your roof and siding. You've never really taken a good look before but, yes, it's there. Stains and streaks can show up easily on roofing and siding over time thanks to a whole host of nuisances, including mold, mildew and plain ol’ dirt. Here, we explore what causes those annoying and unsightly streaks on your vinyl siding in Pittsburgh, and what you can do about it.

The Culprits of Roofing & Siding Streaks

Vinyl siding and fiber cement house siding are both durable, resilient and versatile building materials, but they will show signs of staining as the seasons pass and the years go on. Siding and roofing can fall victim to staining due to buildup of dirt and grime, pollen, bird and insect droppings, mold, mildew, spider webs and rust, according to home improvement expert Bob Vila. Siding can also get discolored from anything from insecticides to herbicides to fertilizers, as well as paint, caulking, driveway sealant, tar and oil. With all these outside influences bombarding your house, it's no wonder your home's exterior looks the way it does!

Knowing the Types of Stains

Through a little research and observation, you can easily pinpoint the cause of the staining. Long streaks of brown can come from rusty nails used in the construction of your home's exterior. If it's got a tinge of red to it, the culprit could be an ice dam from the winter. Black or dark green stains are usually caused by algae, mold or fungus, especially on portions that don't see a lot of sunlight. If you have black marks concentrated around your chimney, the likely cause is soot. Yellow staining could stem from insulation that is beginning to break down underneath the siding. Water stains -- stains that appear as the color of your home or roof yet a bit darker -- typically signal problems with the gutter system. Have them inspected for clogs and blockages.

Cleaning off Streak Marks

The good news is you can clean your siding and roofing to look just as nice as the day they were installed. Your best bet is to hire a professional to pressure wash your siding, but you can also do a quick cleaning yourself. You'll need a bucket of warm, soapy water mixed with vinegar or powdered laundry detergent, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute. This will work on all types of siding. To clean mold and algae off your roof, use a garden hose to spray a mixture of warm water and bleach. Let a professional handle any power washing to the roof, as you could damage the shingles if you attempt it yourself.

Routine cleaning and upkeep is important for preserving not just the look, but also the integrity of your roofing and siding. If you are concerned that the streaking on your home is a symptom of damage to those areas, consult a professional. For homeowners in the Pittsburgh area, Legacy Remodeling can help you determine the cause of roofing and siding damage as well as help you find and install the best replacement systems.