Cornice repair has money-saving angle

By Greg Nagel 

I consider myself moderate in balancing historic preservation with new development. There are times that I’m disappointed by the tearing down of great properties and other times I roll my eyes when people tell me that a particular building is a gem that needs to be saved.

With that being said, one neighborhood feature is truly spectacular &@151; the decorative ledges to flat roofs known as cornices. The owners of these buildings really should preserve them. Over and above the fact that many of them are irreplaceable, it makes good economic sense to do so.

On a regular 22-foot-wide building, a new but bland and boring replacement cornice will cost you somewhere in the vicinity of $6,000 to $15,000. To re-create something spectacular will be two to three times that amount. However, to sand rust, patch holes and paint an existing cornice will cost roughly $600 to $1,200 every 3 years.

Cornices by their nature are exposed to the elements and must be maintained. Once a hole exists, they begin to deteriorate pretty fast.

Several contractors will work on cornices even on 3 story buildings. They have done several projects here in East Village. I'll refer them with no financial interest other than the preserving of our great buildings stock.

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