Understanding the Life Expectancy of Home Components
The costs of owning a home include much more than just the mortgage payment, insurance and taxes. Being prepared for repair or replacement of many of your home’s parts, both inside and out, is a key element in keeping your home in top shape for current and future enjoyment as well as marketability should you decide to sell it.
From the foundation to the rooftop, the following is a quick look at how long, on a national average, some of the most common home components are expected to last.
- Foundations – Poured concrete block footings and slab foundations should last a lifetime, 80 to 100 years or more, provided they were quality built. The foundation termite proofing should last 12 years provided chemical barriers remain intact. Properly installed waterproofing with bituminous coating should last 10 years.
- Flooring – Natural wood flooring has a life expectancy of 100 years or more with proper care. Marble, slate and granite also carry 100 years or more with proper maintenance. Man-made materials typically last 25-50 years depending on the product, with carpet lasting between 8 to 10 years, tops.
- Electrical System – In the electrical system, copper plated wiring, copper clad aluminum and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime; whereas, electrical accessories and lighting controls are expected to fail not much longer than 10 years.
- Outside Materials – Outside materials typically last a lifetime. Brick, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured) and fiber cement typically last as long as the house exists. Exterior wood shutters get 20 years, well-maintained gutters, 50 if they are copper, 20 years if aluminum. Copper downspouts last longest, 100 years or more, while aluminum typically do not last more than 30 years.
- Doors – Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors should last as long as the house exists, while vinyl and screen doors have a life expectancy of 20 and 40 years, respectively. Closet doors are expected to last a lifetime, and French doors have an average life of 30 to 50 years.
- Windows – Wooden windows last longer than aluminum ones – 30 years compared to only 15 or 20.
- HVAC Systems – Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems require a religious regimen of maintenance; however, most components need replacing within 25 years. Furnaces break down in 15 to 20 years, heat pumps- 16 years, and air conditioning units – 10 to 15 years. Tank-less water heaters can go for 20 years or more, but electric or gas heaters typically last only 10 years. Thermostats have a 35-year lifespan however are often replaced for more efficient models.
- Appliances – Appliance life expectancy depends largely on how much they are used; however, they are typically replaced long before their useful life is over. Among major appliances, gas ranges live 15 years, dryers and refrigerators approximately 13, while compactors, dishwashers and microwave ovens might last for 9 years.
- Roofing – The life of a roof is largely dependent upon local weather conditions, proper building and design, material quality and adequate maintenance. Slate, copper and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy of 50 years or more. Wood shake roofs go for 30 years. Fiber cement shingles last 25 years whereas asphalt shingle give up at 20.
Source: National Association of Home Builders, Realty Times