Want to know when you will need to replace it?
Looking at an older home to purchase and wanting to find out when an older furnace or clothes washing and drying machine are going to potentially stop working? Here’s a general idea of the life cycle of all sorts of parts within a condo, townhouse or house for sale. The National Association of Home Builders’ “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components” gives a pretty good approximation by compiling life-cycle data from scores of product manufacturers and testing labs. The following is a brief summary to guide you in planning your next big home purchase.
Copper Electrical & Lighting
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 last 10+ years. They can also last a lot longer.
Common Household Appliances
The life expectancy of a typical household appliance depends very much on the use it receives. Most commonly you will find appliances are actually replaced way before they are worn out because updates in styling, technology, energy consumption and consumer preferences making newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators should last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years).
Kitchen Cabinetry & Storage
Like household appliances kitchen cabinets often get replaced or renovated prior to their life cycle. Kitchen cabinets are actually expected to last up to 50 years, medicine cabinets for 20+ years, and garage/laundry cabinets for 100+ years. Closet shelves are expected to last for a lifetime.
Concrete & Masonry
Masonry is one of the most durable components of a home. Chimneys, fireplaces, and brick veneers can last a lifetime, and brick walls have an average life expectancy of more than 100 years.
Kitchen & Bathroom Countertops
Natural stone countertops are expected to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops, which are more porse have a life expectancy of about 20 years.
Due to the fact wooden decks are subject to a wide range of conditions in different climates, the life expectancy of wooden decks can vary significantly. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years as long as they are treated and sealed properly.
Exterior steel doors, fibreglass doors, and wooden doors should last as long as the house exists, while vinyl and screen doors have a life expectancy of 20-40 years, respectively. Closet doors are also expected to last a lifetime, and French doors have an average life of 30-50 years.
Household kitchen sinks that are made of modified acrylic will last 50 years on average, while kitchen faucets will work properly for about 15 years. The average life cycle of bathroom shower enclosures is 50 years. Showerheads can and will last a lifetime depending on how hard the water is, while shower doors will last about 20 years until the seals will go. Bath cabinets and toilets have an unlimited lifespan, but the components inside the toilet tank do require some maintenance (the wax seal of a standard toilet will only last around 15-25 years). Whirlpool tubs will function properly for 20 to 50 years, depending on use.
Stone flooring such as granite, marble, and slate are expected to last for about 100 years, but can last less due to a lack of maintenance. Vinyl floors last up to 50 years, linoleum about 25 years, and carpet between 8 and 10 years (with appropriate maintenance and normal traffic). All natural hard wood floorings have a life expectancy of 100 years or more and can be resurfaced when small surface scratches happen.
Framing & Other Structural Systems
Framing and structural systems have extended longevities: poured-concrete systems, timber frame houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime. Wall panels and roof and floor trusses will similarly last a lifetime. Softwood, hardboard, and plywood last an average of 30 years, while OSB and particleboard are expected to function properly for 60 years.
Garage door openers are expected to last 10 to 15 years, and light inserts for 20 years.
Poured as well as concrete block footings and foundations last a lifetime, assuming they were properly built. Termite proofing of foundations will last about 12 years if the chemical barriers put in place during construction are left intact. Waterproofing with bituminous coating lasts 10 years, but if it cracks it is immediately damaged. Concrete or cast iron waste pipes are expected to last 100 years or more.
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems require proper and regular maintenance in order to work efficiently, but even in the best case scenarios most components of such systems only last 15 to 25 years. Furnaces on average last 15-20 years, heat pumps 16 years, and air conditioning units 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters last more than 20 years, while an electric or gas water heater has a life expectancy of about 10 years. Thermostats usually are replaced before the end of their 35-year lifespan due to technological improvements.
Insulation & Infiltration Barriers
As long as they are not punctured, cut, or burned and are kept dry and away from UV rays, the cellulose, fiberglass, and foam used in insulation materials will last a lifetime. This is true whether the insulation was applied as loose fill, house wrap, or batts/rolls.
The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, proper building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Slate, copper, and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy—over 50 years. Roofs made of asphalt shingles last for about 20 years while roofs made of fiber cement shingles have a life expectancy of about 25 years, and roofs made of wood shakes can be expected to last for about 30 years.
Siding & Accessories
Outside materials typically last a lifetime. Brick, vinyl, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured), and fiber cement will last as long the house exists. Exterior wood shutters are expected to last 20 years, depending on weather conditions. Gutters have a life expectancy of more than 50 years if made of copper and for 20 years if made of aluminum. Copper downspouts last 100 years or more, while aluminum ones will last 30 years.
Windows & Skylights
Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years while wooden windows should last upwards of 30 years.