Home Inspections Metro Pittsburgh Area

One of the most common questions our clients ask us is "how long will it last".   You can apply that statement to any and every element of a home.   Most home elements have an anticipated life expectancy.   Whether that is a number of years, the typical length of ownership, or the anticipated life of the house, the elements in a home all have an anticipated life expectancy. However, there is one thing that is certain for ALL elements in the home. That is whether any particular element reaches its anticipated life expectancy is due in large part to proper care and maintenance by the homeowner.

With that in mind, we have put together an overview of life expectancies of several key elements of residential construction and some guidlines for home elements and appliances. There is also a chart included on this page that was complied by Bank of America and the National Builder's Association. This chart encapsulates information gained from multiple manufacturers regarding the life expectancies of various components and appliances. If you have a question about a component in your home, as always, feel free to contact us or post a message at the boards. We'll be happy to attempt to answer your question.


MASONRY - Masonry is one of the most durable home components. Brick veneers most often last a lifetime, with the average life of a brick wall more than 100 years.

SIDING - Vinyl siding, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manmade) and fiber cement is also expected to last as long as the house exists. Exterior wood siding and panels can last 30 or more years, depending on the type of wood and its maintenance. Maintenance is the determining factor in the life of exterior wood house members. Poorly installed and/or maintained wood siding, trims, panels, etc can deteriorate in just a few years. Caulking and sealing are important factors in exterior maintenance.

CAULKING-Flexible all-weather caulking can last 5 years or longer, when applied properly on clean, dry surfaces.

ROOF - The life of a roof depends on climate zones and weather conditions. Asphalt shingle roof and fiber cement shingle roofs have a life expectancy of 20-25 years. Wood shake have a life expectancy of approximately 20-25 years. Grey slate can last 75-100 years, while rainbow slate (a slightly lower quality) has a life expectancy of 50-75 years.

SHUTTERS-Wood shutters have a life of approximately 20 years. Vinyl shutters will last the life of the house, similar to vinyl siding. One thing to remember is that vinyl will fade from sunlight and weather conditions. So while the material is still sound, the color pigment will deteriorate over the years.

GUTTERS-Gutters and downspouts, made of aluminum, last about 20 years. Copper gutters and downspouts have a life expectancy of 50 to 100 years.

DECKS-Because of the wide range of installation methods, construction methods, climates and uses, decks have a significant span in life expectancy. A wolmanized wood deck, when properly installed and properly maintained has a life expectancy of approximately 20 years. This number does vary greatly.

DOORS-SKYLIGHTS-WINDOWS-Exterior composition and steel doors should last as long as the house. Vinyl doors will last approximately 20 years. Aluminum windows and skylights last 15 to 20 years. The life of wooden doors and windows will depend on proper maintenance. Wood doors can last 40 years or more, while wood framed windows can last approximately 30 years. As with all wood members exposed to the elements, proper maintenance is key to its longevity.

FOUNDATION-FOOTINGS-PIERS-Poured concrete and concrete block footings and foundation last the life of the house, providing they are property built. Variations of concrete block such as tile block, architectural block, cinder block, etc, have an equally durable life span.

FRAMING-STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS-Framing and structural systems have extended longevities; poured-concrete systems, timber framed houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime. Additionally, roof and floor trusses should also last a lifetime. These are, of course, contingent on home owners performing necessary maintenance, repairs and replacements of worn or damaged members. A 25 year roof that is allowed to leak for a few years, will cause significant damage to roof trusses and sheathing, necessitating the replacement of these items.

HVAC SYSTEMS-Both gas and electric furnaces last an average of 15-20 year. Heat pumps will last an average of 15-17 years. An air conditioning system can last from 12-15 years. Tankless water heaters last 20 years or more. Electric and gas water heaters have a life expectancy of about 10 years.




Table 1: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home
Appliance Life In Years Last Serviced/Checked
  Exhaust Fan 30
  Compactors 6
  Dishwashers <9
  Disposers, Food Waster <12
  Electric Dryer 13
  Gas Dryer 13
  Freezer 11
  Microwave Ovens 9
  Range, Electric 13
  Range, Gas 15
  Range/Oven Hoods 14
  Refrigerators, Compact 9
  Refrigerators, Standard 13
  Washers 10
  Water Heater, Electric 11
  Water Heater, Gas 10
  Air-Conditioners, Room 10
  Air-Conditioners, Unitary 15
  Boilers, Electric 13
  Boilers, Gas 21
  Dehumidifiers 8
  Furnaces, Warm-Air Electric 15
  Furnaces, Warm-Air, Gas 18
  Furnaces, Warm-Air, Oil 20
  Heat Pumps 16
  Humidifiers 8
Note: Life expectancy is based on first-owner use. Source: Appliance Magazine, Sep 2005 issue, Grainter



Table 2: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home
Cabinetry & Storage Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Bath Cabinets Life of Ownership Cabinet Lines
  Entertainment Center/Office 10
  Garage/Laundry Cabinets 100
  Kitchen Cabinets 50
  Medicine 20+
  Modular/Stock 50 Manufacturing Types
  Closet Shelves Life of Ownership Closet Systems
Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Zaca, Timberlake Cabinet Co., Wellborn Cabinet, Moduline, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co., Easyclosets.com, Wellborn Cabinet



Table 3: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home
Concrete & Masonry Life In Years Last Checked/Serviced
  Brick 100+
  Veneer Life of House
  Caulking (for sealer)
Depending on Application
2-20
Source: General Shale Brick, NHACP and NCSG, Sascho Sealants



Table 4: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home

Countertops Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Cultured Marble 20
  Natural Stone Lifetime
  Tile Lifetime
  Wood Ownership
  Formica 10-15
Source: Rynone, Buffalo Stone, Architectural Products by Outwater, Formica Corp, Gibco Services, Florida Tile Industries, United States Ceramic Tile Co., National Hardwood Flooring & Mounding



Table 5: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home

Decks Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Wood 20 Dry areas last 20-25 years
South 10-15 years
North 20-30 years
  Deck Planks 25
Source: Decks.com, Timbertech



Table 6: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home

Doors Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Exterior Fiberglass Lifetime
  Exteriro Steel, Fire Rated Lifetime
  Exterior Vinyl <20
  Exterior Wood Lifetime
  Exterior Screen Various Pine-Up to 20 years
Cedar-Up to 40 years
Mahogany-Up to 60 years
  Closet Lifetime
  Interior French 30-50
Source: Fiberframe, Neoporte, Timeline Vinyl Products/ Timeline Vinyl Windows, Victoriana East, Cappa Woodworking Inc., Marvin Windows and Doors, Kestrel



Table 7: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Electrical & Lighting Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Accessories/Fixtures 10+
  Lighting Controls 10+
  Copper Wiring
        Copper Plated
        Copper Clad Aluminum
        Bare Copper

Lifetime, in non-corrosive enviro
Lifetime
Lifetime
Source: Lutron Electronics, Lighting Controls Asociation, Copper Development Assoc.



Table 8: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Engineered Lumber Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Engineered Trim 30
  Laminated Strand Lumber Lifetime
  Laminated Veneer Lumber 30+
  Trusses, Floor Lifetime
  Trusses, Roof Lifetime
Source: Engineered Wood Association, Georgia Pacific Corp, Georgia Pacific Corp., Lumber Specialties



Table 9: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Faucets & Fixtures Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Accessible/ADA Products Lifetime
  Faucets, Bar/Hospitality <15
  Faucets, Kitchen Sinks 15
  Faucets, Lavatory 20+
  Faucets, Tub/Shower 20+
  Faucets, Toilets/Bidets <10 Wear issues depending on use,
new cartridges or seals
  Saunas/Steam Room 15-20
  Shower Doors 20+
  Shower Enclosures/Modules 50
  Showerheads Lifetime
  Toilets/Bidets Lifetime The components inside toilet tank
and valves that operate bidet will
require occassional mainteance.
  Whirlpool Tub 20-50 Lifespan of the rotating engine (pump)
depends on the use made of the tub.
  Sinks; Kitchen & Others
    Enamel Steel
    Modfied Acrylic
    Soapstone

5-10
50
100+
Source: Delta Faucet Co., Kohler Co., Moen, Plexicor (part of Karran), Toto USA, Acquinox, Alumax, Alsons, Karran, Green Mountain Soapstone Corp., Saunastore



Table 10: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Flooring Life In Years Last Service/Check
All Wooden Floors Lifetime
  Bamboo Lifetime
  Brick Pavers 100+
  Carpet 8-10
  Concrete 50+
  Engineered Wood 50+
  Exotic Wood Lifetime
  Granite 100+
  Laminate 15-25
  Linoleum 25
  Marble 100+
  Slate 100
  Tile 75-100
  Vinyl 50
  Other Domestic Wood Lifetime
  Terrazo 75+
Source: Marble Institute of America, Berg & Berg, Dal Tile Corp, Floortec, National Wood Flooring Association, General Shale Brick, Masland Carpets, Beaulieu of America, Concrete Designs, Formica Corp, Linoleumstore.com, DePaoli Mosaic, Monarch Ceramic Tile



Table 11: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Footings & Foundations Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Poured Footings & Foundations Lifetime
  Concrete Block Lifetime
  Termite Proofing <12 Pre-treatment during construction: longevity
of treatment depends on disturbance or not
of the chemical barriers in place.
  Bituminous Coating Waterproofing 10 If it cracks, it is immediately damaged.
  Pargeting with Ionite 20-30 It's not typical in a residential setting.
Its downfall is when it cracks.
  Baseboard System 50
  Plumbing
    Concrete Waste Pipe
    Cast Iron Waste Pipe

100
100
Source: Dry Up Basement, Unexco, Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute, American Concrete Pipe Associaition, National Ready Mixed Concrete Assoc., Quikcrete.



Table 12: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Framings & Other Structural Systems Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Poured Concrete Systems Lifetime
  Structural Insulated Panels Lifetime
  Timber Frame Homes Lifetime
Source: Conform Pacific. NGS MAterials, Post & Beam Factory.



Table 13: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Garages Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Garage Door Openers 10-15
  LIght Inserts 20
Source: Wayne Dalton Corp.



Table 14: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Home Technology Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Audio, Built In 20
  Heat/ Smoke Detectors 10 National Fire Alarm Code requires that
detectors be replaced every 10 years.
  Home Automation Systems Lifetime
  Home Networks, Wireless 50+
Source: Lite Touch Home Director, ADT and Slomin's Home Security, Home Diresctor, Home Seer.



Table 15: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


HVAC Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Air Conditioners 10-15
  Air Quality System 15
  Boilers 13-21
  Dehumidifiers 8
  Ducting 10
  Furnaces 15-20
  Heat Pumps 16
  Heat Recovery Ventilators 20+
  Thermostats 35
  Ventilators 7
  Water Heaters, Tankless 20+
  Electric Radiant Heater 40
  Hot Water or Steam Radiant Heater 15+
  Diffusers, Grilles and Registers 25
  Induction and Fan coil Units 10-15
  Dampers 20+
  DX, Water, or Steam 20
  Electric 15
  Shell and Tube 20
  Molded Insulation Lifetime Not usually residential
  Burners <10 Oil Burners need more maintenaince
and don't last as long as gas burners.
Source: Center Point Energy and Trane Residential systmen Group, Smarter Way Inc., Center Point Energy, Air Quality Engineering, Center Point Energy and Luxaire Unitary Products Group, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, Econar, Lomanco, Honeywell, American Society Of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditoning Engineers, RWC Contrals, Dantech. No. American Manufacturers Assoc., US Dept of Energy, Radiant Electric Heat, Radiantec, Power Flame Inc., Appliance Magazine



Table 16: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Insulation & Infiltration Barriers Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Insulation Material
    Cellulose
    Fiberglass
    Foam

100+
Lifetime
Lifetime
  Insulation Types
    Batts/ Rolls
    House Wrap
    Loose Fill

Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
Source: DuPont, National Fiber, Johns Manville, RHH Foam Systems,
No. American Insulation Manufacturer Association.



Table 17: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Jobsite Equipment Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Ladders Lifetime
  Lifts Lifetime
Source: Putnam Rolling Ladder Co., Genie Industries.



Table 18: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Molding & Millwork Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Custom Millwork Lifetime
  Stair Parts Lifetime
  Stairs, Circular & Spiral Lifetime
  Stairs, Prebuilt Lifetime
  Stairs, Attic Lifetime
Source: York SpiralAzek, Authentic Pine Floors, Century Architectural Specxialties, Stair World, National Hardwood Flooring & Moulding.



Table 19: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Paints, Caulks, & Adhesives Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Adhesives
    Roofing

7
  Paints & Stains
    Paint, Exterior
    Paint, Interior

15+
15+
Depends on washablity.
Source: The Sherwin-Williams Co., Slate Savers,Tamko Roofing Products, Dutch Boy Paints.



Table 20: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Panels Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Hardboard 30
  Oriented-Strand Board 60
  Particle Board 60
  Plywood 25-30
  Softwood 30
  Underlayment, Flooring 25
  Wall Panels Lifetime
Source: Georgia Pacific Corp., NGS Materials, Weyerhaeuser, James Hardie Building Products.



Table 21: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Roofing Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Materials
    Aluminum Roof Coating
    Fiber Cement
    Asphalt
    Modidied Bitumen
    Copper
    Simulated Slate
    Wood
    Clay/ Concrete
    Slate
    Coal and Tar

3-7
25
20
20
Lifetime
50
30
Lifetime
50+
30

Source: Gardner-Gibson, Maxitile, National Roofing Contractors Association, GAF Material Corp, Asphalt Roofing
Manufacturer's Association, Johns Manville, Metal Roof Specialties, Nycore, Authentic roof, 208 Shake & Shingle, The Northern Roof Tile Sales Co., Universal Marble & Granite, Slate Savers, Koppers, Northern Elastomeric, Ecostar, Metals USA, GAF Materials Corp.



Table 22: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Siding & Accessories Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Materials
    Brick
    Engineerd Wood
    Fiber Cement
    Manudactured Stone
    Stone
    Stucco
    Vinyl
EIFS

Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
50-100
Lifetime
Several Recalls/Verify
  Related Accessories
    Soffits/ Fascia
    Trim

50
25
This time period applies
for fascia in fiber-cement only.
  Shutters/Blinds
    Wood/ Exterior
    Wood/ Interior
    Aluminum/ Interior

20
15+
10+
Sun can cause the cords to break.
  Gutters and Downspouts
    Copper
    Aluminum
    Galvanized Steel
    Downspouts (Aluminum)
    Downspout (Copper)

50+
20
20
30
100
Source: Boral Bricks, APA, GAF Material Corp., James Hardie Building Products, Boulder Creek Stone and Brick, Owens Corning,
Gemstone Enterprises, El Rey Stucco, Heartland Building Products, Azek, James HArdie Building Products
Blinds.com, Vixon Hill Mfg &anp: Supply, Berger Building Products, Guttersupply.com ( Rain Trade Corp. division.)



Table 23: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Site & Landscaping Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Asphalt Driveway 15-20
  Polyvinyl Fences Lifetime
  Clay Paving Lifetime
  Underground PVC Piping 25
  Valves 20
  Sprinklers 20 Usually made obselete by advances in technology
  Controllers 15 Lifespan given for areas not prone to lighting strikes
  Tennis Court
    Fast Dry Green

Lifetime
  Asphalt with Acrylic Coating 12-15 Age before requiring major work.
Requires recoating every 5-7 years.
  Asphalt with Acrylic Cushion Coating 12-15 Age before requiring major work.
Requires recoating every 5-7 years
  American Red Clay Lifetime
  Fast Dry with Subsurface Irrigation Red or Green Lifetime Maintenance: average 10 minutes per day per court
  Swimming Pool
    General
    Concrete Shell
    Interior Finish/ Plaster
    Interior Finish/ Pebbel-tee
    Interior Finish/ tile
    Cleaning Equipment
    Decking
    Waterline Tile

Lifetime
25+
10-15
25-35
15-25
7-10
15
10
Source: Paddocck Pools, Patio &: Spas, Boral Bricks, Accuratw Tennis, Aquatic Technology,
Huyser, Digger Specialties, Inc., Aquatech Pools - Society of Professional Builders,
Inyo Pools Products, Omega Pool Structure, Inc.)



Table 24: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Walls, Ceilings, & Finishes. Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Accoustical Ceiling Lifetime Moisture or mopvement can affect lifespan
  Ceiling Suspension Lifetime
  Ceramic Tile Lifetime
  Standard Gypsum Lifetime
Source: Interceramicsusa, United States Gypsum Co., Messmers Inc., DAP.)



Table 25: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home


Windows, Skylighs, & Glass Life In Years Last Service/Checked
  Glazing & Glazing Materials
    Window Glazing

10+
  Windows
    Aluminum/ Aluminum Clad
    Wood

15-20
30+
Some parts of the window
may have to be replaced, so
lifespan may vary
Source: Polygal, Gallina USA, LLC, Allied Window.)

Note: This report should be used as a general guideline only. None of the information in this report should be interpeted as a representation, warranty, or quarantee regarding them life expectancy or performance of any individual product or product line. Readers should not make buying decisions and/ or product selection based solely on the information contained in this report