How long things last in your home

 

Gail and I are on vacation for a few weeks.  We are nestled along the Nottley River in North Carolina, de- compressing and relaxing. The fall colors are starting to pop and we just had a week of “chamber of commerce: weather: Cool at night with warm sunny days.

In tune with my “it’s only called work if you would rather be doing something else,”, we also enjoyed looking at some real estate up here. This is our fourth year in a row vacationing in North Carolina and we are consider getting out toes in the mountains with a second home.  Which brings me to a topic that has been bugging me for a few months as I searched for homes for my clients in Fort Myers and it reared its head here in Murphy while looking at previously loved homes for sale:  Maintenance of your home.

If you are planning on selling your home someday – and trust me, you eventually WILL sell your home, you should put together a plan, and by a plan I mean a budget and a calendar, to maintain and upgrade you home on a regular basis.  I see so many homes that owners have just given up on and when it comes time to sell there are so many things that need to be done to the house, the home shows poorly, has a lower value, that the house languishes on the market.

Putting your house on the market certainly is a reason to spruce up you house, and indeed most folks are reactive when it comes to repairs and maintenance: The screen is ripped, repair it; the door squeaks, lubricate it, yes fixing up your home to sell is a reactive act. but you need to be proactive when it comes to maintenance on your home.

For one reason, maintenance is cheaper than repair. Painting before a house truly needs it is SO much less expensive for example, than scraping, sanding and prepping old paint.   The second reason is that its, well, easier. It’s easier to have 12 monthly small projects than spending two weeks on a major repair.   The third reason is to avoid replacement and repair. If you maintain your mechanical items in your house they will simply last longer and perform better, be more energy efficient, and run quieter with less hassles.

When you put your maintenance plan together add items that need upgrading as well. Make a habit or regularly upgrading items to more efficient or contemporary and up to date models. Thermostats, shower heads, light fixtures are a few easy examples. Less obvious are toilet flush valves, faucets, weather-stripping, and thresholds. Upgrade and update wallpaper, closet shelving and seldom used lighting. Look around, and start making a list, prioritize the items, and then tag them with a budget – both time and money. You should have a monthly budget for your home maintentance and upgrades as surely as you have a budget for food end utilities.

To help you below is a chart to the life expectancy of just about every item in your house. The by far easiest place to start is caulking and painting. But go through this list and know that life expectancy certainly varies, but in all cases proper care will extend the life of all the items in your home.

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Surface preparation and paint quality are the most important determinants of a paint's life expectancy. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can shorten life expectancy, especially in coastal regions that experience a lot of sunshine and heat, as well as wind-driven rain.  Additionally, conditions of high humidity indoors or outdoors can affect the lifespan of these components, which is why they should be maintained seasonally.
 
ADHESIVES, CAULK & PAINTS
YEARS
Caulking (interior)
5 to 8
Caulking (exterior)
1 to 3
Construction Glue
10+
Paint (exterior)
5
Paint (interior)
8 to 12
Roofing Adhesives/Cements
8+
Sealants
5
Stains
2 to 6
 
 
Appliance life expectancy depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Furthermore, consumers often replace appliances long before they become worn out due to changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences.
 
APPLIANCES      
YEARS
Air Conditioner (portable/window)
5 to 7
Compactors (trash)
6
Dehumidifier
8
Dishwasher
9
Disposal (food waste)
12
Dryer Vent (plastic)
5
Dryer Vent (steel)
20
Dryer (clothes)
13
Exhaust Fans
10
Freezer   
10 to 20
Gas Oven
10 to 18
Hand Dryer
10 to 12
Humidifier (portable)
8
Microwave Oven
9
Range/Oven Hood
14
Electric Range
13 to 15
Gas Range   
15 to 17
Refrigerator
9 to 13
Swamp Cooler
5 to 15
Washing Machine
5 to 15
Whole-House Vacuum System
20
 
 
Modern kitchens are larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.”
 
CABINETRY & STORAGE   
YEARS
Bathroom Cabinets 
50+ 
Closet Shelves  100+
Entertainment Center/Home Office 10
Garage/Laundry Cabinets 70+
Kitchen Cabinets 50
Medicine Cabinet 25+
Modular (stock manufacturing-type)
50 
 
 
Walls and ceilings last the full lifespan of the home.
 
CEILINGS & WALLS
YEARS
Acoustical Tile Ceiling
40+ (older than 25 years may contain asbestos)
Ceramic Tile   
70+
Concrete
75+
Gypsum
75
Wood Paneling
20 to 50
Suspended Ceiling
25+
 
 
Natural stone countertops, which are less expensive than they were just a few years ago, are becoming more popular, and one can expect them to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops have a shorter life expectancy, however.
 
COUNTERTOPS
YEARS
Concrete
50
Cultured Marble   
20
Natural Stone
100+
Laminate
20 to 30
Resin
10+
Tile
100+
Wood
100+
 
 
Decks are exposed to a wide range of conditions in different climates, from wind and hail in some areas, to relatively consistent, dry weather in others. See FASTENERS & STEEL section for fasteners.
 
DECKS
YEARS 
Deck Planks
10
Composite
8 to 15
Structural Wood
5 to 20
 
 
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house, while vinyl and screen doors have a shorter life expectancy. The gaskets/weatherstripping of exterior doors may have to be replaced every 5 to 8 years.
 
DOORS
YEARS
Closet (interior) 
100+
Fiberglass (exterior) 
100+
Fire-Rated Steel (exterior)
100+
French (interior) 
30 to 50
Screen (exterior) 10
Sliding Glass/Patio (exterior)
10 (for roller wheel/track repair/replacement)
Vinyl (exterior) 10
Wood (exterior)
30+
Wood (hollow-core interior)
20 to 30
Wood (solid-core interior)
30 to 100+
 
 
Copper-plated wiring, copper-clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, whereas electrical accessories and lighting controls, such as dimmer switches, may need to be replaced after 10 years.  GFCIs could last 30 years, but much less if tripped regularly.  Remember that faulty, damaged or overloaded electrical circuits or equipment are the leading cause of house fires, so they should be inspected regularly and repaired or updated as needed.
 
ELECTRICAL
YEARS
Accessories
10+
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
30
Bare Copper
100+
Bulbs (compact fluorescent)
8,000 to 10,000+ hours
Bulbs (halogen)
4,000 to 8,000+ hours
Bulbs (incandescent)
1,000 to 2,000+ hours
Bulbs (LED)
30,000 to 50,000+ hours
Copper-Clad Aluminum
100+
Copper-Plated
100+
Fixtures
40
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
up to 30
Lighting Controls
30+
Residential Propane Backup Generator
12
Service Panel
60
Solar Panels
20 to 30
Solar System Batteries
3 to 12
Wind Turbine Generator
20
 
 
Floor and roof trusses and laminated strand lumber are durable household components, and engineered trim may last 30 years.
 
ENGINEERED LUMBER
YEARS
Engineered Joists
80+
Laminated Strand Lumber
100+
Laminated Veneer Lumber
80+
Trusses
100+
  
 
Fastener manufacturers do not give lifespans for their products because they vary too much based on where the fasteners are installed in a home, the materials in which they're installed, and the local climate and environment.  However, inspectors can use the guidelines below for humid and coastal environments to make educated judgments about the materials they inspect.
 
FASTENERS, CONNECTORS & STEEL
YEARS
Adjustable Steel Columns
50+
Fasteners (bright)
25 to 40
Fasteners (copper)
50 to 65
Fasteners (electro-galvanized)
10 to 30
Fasteners (hot-dipped galvanized)
15 to 60
Fasteners (stainless)
100
Steel Beams
50 to 100+
Steel Columns
100+
Steel Plates
35 to 75
 
 
Flooring life is dependent on maintenance and the amount of foot traffic the floor endures.
 
FLOORING
YEARS
All Wood Floors
100+
Bamboo
100+
Brick Pavers
100+
Carpet
8 to 10
Concrete
50+
Engineered Wood
50+
Exotic Wood
100+
Granite
100+
Laminate
15 to 25
Linoleum
25
Marble
100+
Other Domestic Wood
100+
Slate
100
Terrazzo
75+
Tile
75 to 100
Vinyl
25
 
 
Concrete and poured-block footings and foundations will last a lifetime, assuming they were properly built.  Waterproofing with bituminous coating lasts 10 years, but if it cracks, it is immediately damaged.
 
FOUNDATIONS
YEARS
Baseboard Waterproofing System
30
Bituminous-Coating Waterproofing
6
Concrete Block
75+
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)
80
Post and Pier
15 to 45
Post and Tensioned Slab on Grade
80+
Poured-Concrete Footings and Foundation
80+
Slab on Grade (concrete)
75
Wood Foundation
5 to 20
Permanent Wood Foundation (PWF; treated)
50 to 75
 
 
Framing and structural systems have extended longevities; poured-concrete systems, timber frame houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime. 
 
FRAMING
YEARS
Log
75+
Poured-Concrete Systems
80+
Steel
75+
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
75+
Timber Frame
80+
 
 
The quality and frequency of use will affect the longevity of garage doors and openers.
 
GARAGES
YEARS
Garage Doors
10 to 30
Garage Door Openers   
10 to 15
 
 
Home technology systems have diverse life expectancies and may have to be upgraded due to evolution in technology.
 
HOME TECHNOLOGY
YEARS
Built-In Audio
20
Carbon Monoxide Detectors*
5
Door Bells
35
Home Automation System
5 to 50
Intercoms
20
Security System
5 to 20
Smoke/Heat Detectors*
less than 10 
Wireless Home Networks
5 to ?
* Batteries should be changed at least annually.
 
 
Thermostats may last 35 years but they are usually replaced before they fail due to technological improvements.
 
HVAC
YEARS
Air Conditioner (central)
5 to 12
Air Exchanger
15
Attic Fan
15 to 25
Boiler
40 (if installed)
Burner
10+
Ceiling Fan
5 to 10
Condenser
5 to 7 (for coastal areas, or 15 to 20 inland)
Dampers
20+
Dehumidifier
8
Diffusers, Grilles and Registers
25
Ducting
60 to 100
Electric Radiant Heating
40
Evaporator Cooler
15 to 25
Furnace
15 to 25 (if installed)
Gas Fireplace
15 to 25
Handler Coil
1 to 3
Heat Exchanger
10 to 15
Heat Pump
10 to 15
Heat-Recovery Ventilator
20
Hot-Water and Steam-Radiant Boilers
40
Humidifiers
12
Induction and Fan-Coil Units
10 to 15
Chimney Cap (concrete)
50+
Chimney Cap (metal)
8 to 10
Chimney Cap (mortar)
10+
Chimney Flue Tile
20+
Thermostats
35
Ventilator 7
 
 
As long as they are not punctured, cut or burned, and are kept dry and away from UV rays, cellulose, fiberglass and foam insulation materials will last a lifetime. This is true regardless of whether they were installed as loose-fill, housewrap or batts/rolls.
 
INSULATION & INFILTRATION BARRIERS
YEARS
Batts/Rolls
100+
Black Paper (felt paper)
15 to 30
Cellulose
100+
Fiberglass
100+
Foamboard
100+
Housewrap
80+
Liquid-Applied Membrane
50
Loose-Fill
100+
Rock Wool
100+
Wrap Tape
80+
 
  
Masonry is one of the most enduring household components. Fireplaces, chimneys and brick veneers can last the lifetime of the home.
 
MASONRY & CONCRETE   
YEARS
Brick
75+
Insulated Concrete Forms (hybrid block)
75+
Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs)
75+
Man-Made Stone
15
Masonry Sealant
2 to 10
Stone
75+
Stucco/EIFS
25+
Veneer
75+
 
 
Custom millwork and stair parts will last a lifetime and are typically only upgraded for aesthetic reasons.
 
MOLDING, MILLWORK & TRIM
YEARS
Attic Stairs (pull-down) 
50
Custom Millwork
100+
Pre-Built Stairs (interior)
100+
Stair Parts (interior)
100+
Stairs (interior)
100+
 
 
The lifetime of any interior wood product depends heavily on moisture intrusion.
 
PANELS
YEARS
Flooring Underlayment 
25
Hardboard
40
Particleboard
60
Plywood
100
Softwood
30
Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
60 
Wall Panels
100+
 
 
The quality of plumbing fixtures varies dramatically.  The mineral content of water can shorten the life expectancy of water heaters and clog showerheads.  Also, some finishes may require special maintenance with approved cleaning agents per the manufacturers in order to last their expected service lives.
 
PLUMBING, FIXTURES & FAUCETS
YEARS
ABS and PVC Waste Pipe
50 to 80
Accessible/ADA Handles
100+
Acrylic Kitchen Sink
50
Cast-Iron Bathtub
100
Cast-Iron Waste Pipe (above ground)
40
Cast-Iron Waste Pipe (below ground)
50 to 60
Concrete Waste Pipe
100+
Copper Water Lines
70
Enameled Steel Kitchen Sink
5 to 10
Faucets and Spray Hose
15 to 20
Fiberglass Bathtub and Shower
20
Gas Lines (black steel)
75
Gas Lines (flex)
30
Hose Bib
20 to 30
Instant (on-demand) Water Heater
10
PEX
40
Plastic Water Lines
75
Saunas/Steam Room
15 to 20
Sewer Grinder Pump
10
Shower Enclosure/Module
50
Shower Doors
20
Showerheads
100+ (if not clogged by mineral/other deposits)
Soapstone Kitchen Sink
100+
Sump Pump
7
Toilet Tank Components
5
Toilets, Bidets and Urinals
100+ (if not cracked)
Vent Fan (ceiling)
5 to 10
Vessel Sink (stone, glass, porcelain, copper)
5 to 20+
Water Heater (conventional)
6 to 12
Water Line (copper)
50
Water Line (plastic)
50
Well Pump
15
Water Softener
20
Whirlpool Tub
20 to 50
 
 
 
Radon systems have but one moving part:  the radon fan.
 
RADON SYSTEMS
YEARS
Air Exchanger
15
Barometric Backdraft Damper/Fresh-Air Intake
20
Caulking
5 to 10
Labeling
25
Manometer
15
Piping
50+
Radon Fan
5 to 8
 
 
The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance.  Hot climates drastically reduce asphalt shingle life.  Roofs in areas that experience severe weather, such as hail, tornadoes and/or hurricanes may also experience a shorter-than-normal lifespan overall or may incur isolated damage that requires repair in order to ensure the service life of the surrounding roofing materials.
 
ROOFING
YEARS
Aluminum Coating
2 to 6
Asbestos Shakes
30 to 50+
Asphalt Shingles (3-tab)
10 to 12
Asphalt (architectural) 15 to 20
BUR (built-up roofing)
5 to 15
Clay/Concrete
80+
Coal and Tar
18
Copper
50+
EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) Rubber
10 to 15
Fiber Cement
18
Green (vegetation-covered)
5 to 20
Metal
17 to 20
Modified Bitumen
10
Simulated Slate
10 to 25
Slate
50+
TPO 10 to 12
Wood
25
 
 
Outside siding materials typically last a lifetime.  Some exterior components may require protection through appropriate paints or sealants, as well as regular maintenance.  Also, while well-maintained and undamaged flashing can last a long time, it is their connections that tend to fail, so seasonal inspection and maintenance are strongly recommended.
 
SIDINGS, FLASHING & ACCESSORIES
YEARS
Aluminum Siding
20 to 35
Aluminum Gutters, Downspouts, Soffit and Fascia
15 to 35+
Asbestos Shingle
20
Brick
80+
Cementitious
80+
Copper Downspouts
80
Copper Gutters
40+
Engineered Wood
80+
Fiber Cement
75+
Galvanized Steel Gutters/Downspouts
15
Manufactured Stone
80+
Stone
80+
Stucco/EIFS
25+
Trim 18
Vinyl Siding
50
Vinyl Gutters and Downspouts
20+
Wood/Exterior Shutters 15
 
 
Site and landscaping elements have life expectancies that vary dramatically. 
 
SITE & LANDSCAPING
YEARS
American Red Clay
75+
Asphalt Driveway
10 to 15
Brick and Concrete Patio
8 to18
Clay Paving
75+
Concrete Walks
30+
Controllers
12
Gravel Walks
4 to 6
Mulch
1 to 2
Polyvinyl Fencing 75+
Sprinkler Heads 8 to 12
Underground PVC Piping 50+
Valves
12 to 15
Wood Chips
1 to 5
Wood Fencing
10
 
 
Swimming pools are comprised of many systems and components, all with varying life expectancies, depending on their exposure to climatic and weather conditions.  Also, proper maintenance is key, especially concerning the pool water's chemical balance.
 
SWIMMING POOLS
YEARS
Chlorine Generator (salt water)
5
Cover
3 to 5
Deck Finish (acrylic)
5
Diving Board
8 to 10
Gas Heater
3 to 5
Filter (sand)
5 to 10 (sand must be replaced every 3 years)
Filter (cartridge)
2
Filter Grid (DE)
5
Heat Pump
5 to 8 
Interior Finish
10 to 20
Motor*
5 to 8
Vinyl Liner
8 to 10
Pool Lights (fiber optic)
3 to 5
Pool Lights (incandescent)
3
Pool Lights (LED)
5 to 7
Pool Water Heater
5
PVC Ball Valve
up to 2
Shell (concrete)
20+
Shell (fiberglass)
20+
Solar Heater
10 to 20
Waterline Tile
10+
 * Replacement motors tend to last half the lifespan of their original counterparts.
 
Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years, while wooden windows should last nearly 30 years.
 
WINDOWS
YEARS
Aluminum/Aluminum-Clad
10 to 15
Double-Pane
5 to 15
Skylights
5 to 15
Jalousie
30 to 40 
Window Glazing 8+
Vinyl/Fiberglass Windows
10 to 30
Wood
15+

Note: Life expectancy varies with usage, weather, installation, maintenance and quality of materials.  This list should be used only as a general guideline and not as a guarantee or warranty regarding the performance or life expectancy of any appliance, product, system or component.