When considering buying, upgrading, remodelling a house or just preparing for the future and potential maintenance costs, it's helpful to have an idea of the the general life expectancy of your house components and systems.
A house is expected to last many years and through several series of owners. But what about the individual components that comprise the house? How many years of service can a home owner reasonably expect from a roof or a door, a floor, the systems (HVAC, toilets and tubs, well, septic systems, etc.) or a window?" What components last the longest? What components have to be replaced frequently?
Fortunately there are several sites that have have analyzed the statistics, compiled the information for you and have presented it in easily accessible online and/or downloadable (pdf) formats.
Here are several sources providing statistics on home component life expectancy:
NAHB / Bank of America's "Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components" [PDF]
[alternate link] [PDF]
(click here for summary press release on the National Association of Home Builders/Bank of America Home Equity Study of the Life Expectancies of Home Components) [PDF]
NAHB: Consumers: Remodeling Your Home [Rebates & Loans for Green Homeowners]
Summary of Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components [PDF]
The Old House Web: Life expectancy How long should the components and systems in your home last? (this is based on the HUD Residential Rehabilitation Inspection Guide, [PDF]
Septic System Life Expectancy
Example Life Expectancies:
- Bathroom, laundry and garage cabinets and closet shelving can last 100 years or more,
- Kitchen cabinets may only last 50 years
- Natural wood flooring can last 100 years or more
- HVAC systems last from 8 to 20 years, depending on sub-unit and usage
- Plumbing related fixtures (faucets, etc.) last 10 to 20 years, depending on use
- Exterior and Interior paints last on average about 5-10 years, 1-5 if used for waterproofing
- Cement footings and foundations last approximately 50 years; concret block lasts 100 years, poured footings and foundations last 200 years
- Flooring is usually lifetime, except for 11 years for carpeting and 20 to 30 years for vinyl sheet or tile
- Dryers and Refrigerators last about 13 years, while microwaves last 9 years and compactors only 6 years
- Natural stone countertops last a lifetime, while cultured marble countertops last about 20 years
- Wooden decks usually last 20 years under ideal conditions
- Copper wiring lasts a lifetime, however the controls and accessories associated with it normally last about 10 years
It's important to remember that in the long run, it much cheaper to do perform regular maintenance on a house than to wait until a major component fails. It has been suggested by some that a good rule of thumb for budgeting for annual maintenance is one percent of the value of your home.
See also our related article: How Long Should Things Last?
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