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:
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.