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December 4, 2013
Messenger News

Many business owners who have shops in downtown Fort Dodge's historic buildings face the question of window restoration versus window replacement.

"Windows are an authentic part of a building and are a character-defining feature," said Cheryl O'Hern, who serves on the board of Fort Dodge's Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID). "Their size, placement, proportional relationship to the wall space, style, material and how light reflects off of them contribute to how a building looks and feels."

Windows were a big topic when Fort Dodge hosted workshops this fall with Bob Yapp, a nationally-known consultant who specializes in practical historic preservation solutions. Window restoration can make a lot of sense, said O'Hern, who noted that:

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The life of a new window is only 10 to 20 years, while properly restored windows will last 80 to 100 years.

Wood windows made prior to the 1940s are likely made from old-growth wood. This wood is significantly denser, durable, rot resistant, and dimensionally stable.

Window sash and jambs that are completely restored have a life of another 100 years with painting every 12 to 20 years, depending on conditions.

Restoration of a 33-inch by 67-inch, double hung jamb unit with four, true-divided lights on top and one light on the bottom will run around $675, while the cost of replacement windows will run around $1,200.

"The city is trying to encourage more window restoration in Fort Dodge's historic downtown buildings," O'Hern said.



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