New Windows Installed...Caulk is discoloring in spots?

by Garrett

Had all new windows installed in house in February of this year (2021). Already have some areas where the new interior caulk is discolored, and has gotten worse over the short time it was installed. First picture is of a bedroom window. Has a small area where the new caulk is quite dark. Second picture is of a small bathroom window. Caulk is a lighter color and is discolored approximately half the length of the window. Was just going to recaulk over these areas and then paint, but I am wondering if I have a bigger issue here. Any help is appreciated

Bedroom Window

Small Bathroom Window

  24 answers
  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 05, 2021

    Just to clarify, I had 10 Windows total replaced. Some windows have no issues with the caulk. Doesnt seem to be a rhyme or reason as to which ones are having issues.

  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 06, 2021

    Have had a couple people suggest rust. I am inexperienced at this stuff but the windows replaced were vinyl. Would I still see rust with vinyl windows? Had 3 windows that needed new casing. A different guy did those and we are not seeing any color change on the windows he did. Different kind of caulk maybe? The window with the darkest change is on a side of the house that is fairly protected from the rain. The color change happened immediately. Would rust occur that quickly?

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Oct 06, 2021

    Hi Garrett what it looks to me is bleed through from old rust that was already there when the windows were installed. Rust discoloration is notorious for bleeding through water based paints and caulks etc. I would re-caulk over the affected area using a paintable caulk and then paint it with an oil based paint such as Rustoleum - that should stop the color bleed through :)

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 06, 2021

    Discoloration like this usually indicates a moisture problem, and since these are bathroom windows, humidity maybe contributing to it.

    Here's what you can do:

  • William William on Oct 06, 2021

    Vinyl windows don't rust. I would say the caulk used was old and reacted with the air or cheap caulk was used. Have you called the company that installed the windows?! If they or you plan to remove the bad caulk and apply new caulk should be 100% silicone caulk.

  • I would caulk over them yourself or call the window place and they may come out and do it for free. As long as the windows have a tight seal and no moisture, I would assume they were installed correctly.

  • I would contact the company that installed the windows. My concern would be moisture .

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Oct 06, 2021

    Try cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. It appears you have something that has leached onto your caulking.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 06, 2021

    Just got new windows about 6 months ago so I realize how expensive they can be. Call the company and explain the situation to them. They should stand behind their work.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Oct 06, 2021

    it could be you have leaks in those areas - I would call the folks who installed the windows and ask them about it first to see if they have an answer -

  • Dee Dee on Oct 06, 2021

    I would call the company and have them recaulk those areas with Alex 45 year caulk.

  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 06, 2021

    Hi Garrett, The shims both on the top and bottom are sealed by a silicone caulk. The performance failure of discoloration may be caused by the corrosion of the shims due to the poor durability of materials, a reaction between the shims and the caulk, or poor craftsmanship of panel installation. Either way, you should contact the installer

  • Caulk can change colors for lots of reasons, whether it’s just the caulk itself or there’s an issue. I’d have the installers come back and take a look.

  • Em Em on Oct 07, 2021

    If that is where contractor caulked you bet he would be coming back to MY house. It looks like rust has seeped thru from underneath. Are the frames metal. If you are doing it yourself (AGAIN the contractor should be doing )remove the caulking with a razor knife.

    Remove any exposed rust on metal, cover with a paint specifically made for metal, then add new caulk.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Oct 08, 2021

    Re: the comment about the warranty:

    As William correctly noted, vinyl windows do not rust.

    So, it is highly unlikely that the manufacturer's warranty would refer to any rust.

    Secondly, manufacturer's warranties on new windows do not cover any issues arising from the installation, labour, trim, or finishing.

    This rust-like discoloration is not on the window frame. It is in the caulking, which is a finishing procedure put on after the window is set into place.

    • See 1 previous
    • 17335038 17335038 on Oct 09, 2021

      Window manufacturers warranties vary according to individual companies.

      If the rust issue is arising from the metal flashing under the sill, then the accountability for righting the situation would fall under the category of either the suppliers (not the window manufacturer's warranty,) if one exists, or the degree to which the installer, or installation company, stands behind their workmanship and the particular products they use. The latter is often an undefined area which is open to interpretation and opinion. The extent to which they may or may not be responsible for repairing the discoloration may fall under the particular specific wording of the contract.

      As the installation of the flashing is considered to be part of the installation process, no deficiencies in either labour or materials used in the installation would be covered by the window manufacturer's warranty.

      I concur with Williams hunch that the source of the rusty discoloration may be either poor quality or old caulking.

  • Homeroad Homeroad on Oct 08, 2021

    I would contact the window company and find out what they used on the windows. This shouldn't be happening so quickly. It might be rust.

  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 08, 2021

    Thank you to everyone for taking the time to post answer to my question. I know we are all busy so I do appreciate you all taking time out of your day to comment.

    I have been in contact with the contractor. He is super slooooow moving, but I am supposed to have someone out here today to look at the caulk, and redo. Whether they show up or not only time will tell.

  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 08, 2021

    A little more info as I have run through the entire installation process in my head the last few days. Sorry for the long post. This thing has been driving me crazy...especially with the lack of urgency and returned texts/calls from our contractor. Would love to

    We had several windows installed. There were a few windows where we needed the line and case redone so the installers did not caulk those windows. A month later a guy came out and he lined and cased those windows with new sill, etc. He caulked just as the original installers would have done. He actually was a little light in the amount of caulking he did. None of those windows have any discoloration.

    When the original installers were here I did go in and take a look at the small window in my bathroom just to see how it looked. This was within 10 minutes of it being installed. I noticed that there was a dirty area on a small portion of the new caulk. I assumed it was dirt from the installer so I tried to wipe it away with my finger. This just made it worse and the dirty area was coming from deep within the caulk. More towards the window. I recaulked that area and it looks fine today. I should have investigated further but I just assumed it was dirt from the installer as they were also working on installing new siding.

    I am wondering if the dark area is from dirt or dirty water that was squeezed from the wet plywood that the windows were being attached to??, and then this mixed with the wet caulk to make it look the rust color?? They took the old windows out and immediately put the new ones in. We were having new siding put on too so the only thing on the house at the time was the yellow wrap they use on houses. Maybe there was a lot of moisture on the house. We do live in Oregon and this was in February. Not sure if any of this makes sense but I am trying to figure out why we only have issues on the windows that were caulked immediately. It was warmer and had been an extra month before the 2nd group of windows were finished with line and case, and the caulking. Perhaps that extra month gave the window areas time to dry out a bit more and not have the moisture seep into the new caulk? It was much warmer and dryer by the time the 2nd guy came out.

    Again, thanks to all that posted answers. I do appreciate your time.

    Best, Garrett

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 11, 2021

    Could what looks like rust be where the caulking and the nail heads used to hold the window in place

    DAP caulk is water based, so until it dries it can cause rust if there are steel nails or brads underneath it.

    • Garrett Garrett on Oct 11, 2021

      Mogie, that is what I was wondering. Old nail rust or possibly just dirty water squeezed between the window and the house that seeped in when they put the windows in. The caulk didnt have time to dry before the water mixed with it. Not sure if that even makes sense, but it is the only conclusion I can come to based on the fact that the windows that were not caulked on the inside immediately because we needed the sill replaced have zero problems. Maybe they just had bad caulk, but I literally went in 5 minutes after they installed a window and saw dirt/dark residue in a small spot in the new caulking. Was zero time for anything to rust or for water to get inside. My fingers are crossed!

  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 11, 2021

    The contractor sent out a guy this past weekend to recaulk the windows. He cut out the caulk where the dark spots were at and there was no issue under the old caulk. The wood in the sill is not discolored nor do any of the sills seem spongy or have bubbles from water damage.

    I have taken before and after pictures of all the areas where we had issues. Contractor told us he would recaulk it and then we will keep an eye on it.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Oct 11, 2021

    You can clean that with rust cleaner

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 12, 2021

    Contact the people who installed the windows as they have not used the right caulking! Ask them to re-do the work using the right one! Silicone!!

  • I would contact the company that installed the windows.