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|
|Disposers, Food Waster||<12|
|Water Heater, Electric||11|
|Water Heater, Gas||10|
|Furnaces, Warm-Air Electric||15|
|Furnaces, Warm-Air, Gas||18|
|Furnaces, Warm-Air, Oil||20|
|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|
|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|
|Veneer||Life of House|
| Caulking (for sealer)
Depending on Application
|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|
|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
|Source: Decks.com, Timbertech|
|Table 6: Life Expectancy of Different Products/Items/Materials in the Home
|Doors||Life In Years||Last Service/Checked|
|Exteriro Steel, Fire Rated||Lifetime|
|Exterior Screen||Various||Pine-Up to 20 years
Cedar-Up to 40 years
Mahogany-Up to 60 years
|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|
| Copper Wiring
Copper Clad Aluminum
Lifetime, in non-corrosive enviro
|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|
|Laminated Strand Lumber||Lifetime|
|Laminated Veneer Lumber||30+|
|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|
|Faucets, Kitchen Sinks||15|
|Faucets, Toilets/Bidets||<10||Wear issues depending on use,
new cartridges or seals
|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
|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|
|Other Domestic Wood||Lifetime|
|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|
|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.
Concrete Waste Pipe
Cast Iron Waste Pipe
|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|
|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 Quality System||15|
|Heat Recovery Ventilators||20+|
|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|
|DX, Water, or Steam||20|
|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
| Insulation Types
|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|
|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|
|Stairs, Circular & Spiral||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|
| Paints & Stains
|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|
|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|
Aluminum Roof Coating
Coal and Tar
|Source: Gardner-Gibson, Maxitile, National Roofing Contractors Association, GAF Material Corp,
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|
| Related Accessories
|This time period applies
for fascia in fiber-cement only.
|Sun can cause the cords to break.|
| Gutters and Downspouts
|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|
|Underground PVC Piping||25|
|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
|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
Interior Finish/ Plaster
Interior Finish/ Pebbel-tee
Interior Finish/ tile
|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|
|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
Aluminum/ Aluminum Clad
|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