How Long Do Things Last? What’s The Life Expectancy Of Home Components?

heap-of-wood.jpg When building a new home, you are investing a lot of hard work, time, and money.

But have you given any thought to just how long those things that you’re installing are going to last? I have.

 

Recently the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shed some light on the life expectancy of common components inside a home — everything from appliances, cabinetry, and flooring… to roofing, plumbing, and HVAC.

Have a look…

Case In Point: My Washer & Dryer

My mother-in-law and I recently had this same conversation.

I asked her how long she thought a washer & dryer should last. She thought maybe 10 years.

I told her my Kenmore washer & dryer were purchased in 1992, making them 15 years old — and still going strong!

Shock and awe were expressed by all.

Turns out, according to this NAHB study, washers and dryers typically last 10 to 13 years.

…So I guess I’ve gotten my money’s worth!

 

Results From The NAHB Study: Summarized

What follows are the life expectancies of home components, based on how long items typically last, on average.

That means that some last longer, and others don’t last as long… based on frequency and type of use, as well as routine maintenance and upkeep.

 

NOTE: There is a wealth of information from the study that is not included here. To view the exact sources, special circumstances, and exceptions see the complete study here.

 

 


Appliances
Cooktops – electric 13 years
Cooktops – gas 15 years
Cooktops – magnetic induction 10 years
Dishwashers 9 years
Dryers – electric 13 years
Dryers – gas 13 years
Exhaust Fans 10 years
Freezers 11 years
Garbage Disposals 12 years
Microwave Ovens 9 years
Range/Oven Hoods 14 years
Ranges – electric 13 years
Ranges – gas 15 years
Refrigerators – compact 9 years
Refrigerators – standard 13 years
Trash Compactors 6 years
Washing Machines 10 years

 

 



Cabinetry & Shelving
Bathroom Cabinets Lifetime
Closet Shelving Lifetime
Entertainment Centers 10 years
Garage Cabinets 100 years
Home Office Desk Units 10 years
Kitchen Cabinets 50 years
Laundry Cabinets 100 years
Medicine Cabinets 20 years

 



Countertops
Cultured Marble Countertops 20 years
Natural Stone Countertops Lifetime
Tile Countertops Lifetime
Wood Countertops Lifetime

 



Decks
Wooden Deck Planks 25 years
Wooden Decks 20 years

 



Doors – Exterior
Fiberglass Doors Lifetime
Screen Doors – pine 20 years
Screen Doors – cedar 40 years
Screen Doors – mahogany 60 years
Steel Doors Lifetime
Vinyl Doors 20 years
Wood Doors Lifetime

 



Doors – Interior
Closet Doors Lifetime
French Doors 30-50 years

 



Electrical & Lighting
Copper Plated Wiring Lifetime
Copper Clad Aluminum Lifetime
Bare Copper Wiring Lifetime
Electrical Lighting Accessories 10 years
Electrical Lighting Controls 10 years

 



>
Engineered Lumber
Engineered Trim 30 years
Floor Lifetime
Laminated Strand Lumber Lifetime
Laminated Veneer Lumber 30 years
Roof Trusses Lifetime

 



Faucets and Fixtures
Accessible/ADA Products Lifetime
Faucets, Bar/Hospitality 15 years
Faucets, Kitchen Sinks 15 years
Faucets, Bathroom 20 years
Faucets, Toilets/Bidets 10 years
Faucets, Tub/Shower 20 years
Saunas/Steam Rooms 15-20 years
Shower Doors 20 years
Shower Enclosures/Modules 50 years
Showerheads Lifetime
Sinks – modified acrylic 50 years
Sinks – enamel steel 5-10 years
Sinks – soapstone 100 years
Toilets & Bidets Lifetime
Whirlpool Tubs 20-50 years

 



Flooring
Bamboo Flooring Lifetime
Brick Pavers 100 years
Carpet Flooring 8-10 years
Concrete Flooring 50 years
Granite Flooring 100 years
Laminate Flooring 15-25 years
Linoleum Flooring 25 years
Marble Flooring 100 years
Slate Flooring 100 years
Terrazo Flooring 75 years
Tile Flooring 75-100 years
Vinyl Flooring 50 years
Wood Flooring – all natural 100 years
Wood Flooring – engineered 50 years
Wood Flooring – exotic Lifetime
Wood Flooring – other domestic Lifetime

 



Footings & Foundations
Baseboard System 50 years
Concrete Block Lifetime
Poured Concrete Lifetime
Termite Proofing 12 years
Waterproofing with Bituminous Coating 10 years

 

 



Framing & Structural Systems
Floor Trusses Lifetime
Poured Concrete Systems Lifetime
Roof Trusses Lifetime
Structural Insulated Panels Lifetime
Timber Frame Lifetime

 



Garages
Garage Door Openers 10-15 years
Garage Light Inserts 20 years

 



Gutters & Downspouts
Downspouts – aluminum 30 years
Downspouts – copper 100 years
Gutters – aluminum 20 years
Gutters – copper 50 years
Gutters – galvanized steel 20 years

 



Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Air Conditioners – room 10 years
Air Conditioners – central 15 years
Air Quality Systems 15 years
Boilers – electric 13 years
Boilers – gas 21 years
Burners 10 years
Dampers 20 years
Dehumidifiers 8 years
Diffusers, Grilles & Registers 25 years
Ducting 10 years
DX – water or steam 20 years
DX – electric 15 years
Furnaces – warm-air, electric 15 years
Furnaces – warm-air, gas 18 years
Furnaces – warm-air, oil 20 years
Heat Pumps 16 years
Heat Recovery Ventilators 20 years
Humidifiers 8 years
Induction & Fan-Coil Units 10-15 years
Radiant Heater – electric 40 years
Radiant Heater –
hot water or steam
15 years
Shell-and-Tube 20 years
Thermostats 35 years
Ventilators 7 years
Water Heaters – electric 11 years
Water Heaters – gas 10 years
Water Heaters – tankless 20 years

 



Home Technology
Built-in Audio Systems 20 years
Heat/smoke Detectors 5-10 years
Security Systems 5-10 years
Wireless Home Automation Systems 50 years
Wireless Home Networks 50 years

 



Insulation & Infiltration Barriers
Batts/Rolls of Insulation Lifetime
Cellulose Lifetime
Fiberglass Lifetime
Foam Lifetime
House Wrap Insulation Lifetime
Loose Fill Insulation Lifetime

 



Jobsite Equipment
Ladders Lifetime
Lifts 8-10 years

 



Masonry
Brick Veneers Lifetime
Brick Walls 100 years
Chimneys Lifetime
Fireplaces Lifetime

 



Molding & Millwork
Custom Millwork Lifetime
Stair Parts Lifetime
Stairs – attic Lifetime
Stairs – circular Lifetime
Stairs – prebuilt Lifetime
Stairs – spiral Lifetime

 



Paint, Caulks & Adhesives
Exterior paints 15 years
Interior paints 15 years

 



Panels
Hardboard Panels 30 years
Softwood Panels 30 years
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) 60 years
Particleboard 60 years
Plywood 25-30 years
Underlayment – flooring 25 years
Wall Panels Lifetime

 



Plumbing
Cast iron Pipes 100 years
Concrete Pipes 100 years

 



Roofing
Asphalt Shingles 20 years
Aluminium Roof Coating 3-7 years
Clay/Concrete Lifetime
Coal and Tar 30 years
Copper Roofs Lifetime
Fiber Cement Shingles 25 years
Modified Bitumen 20 years
Simulated Slate Roofs 50 years
Slate Roofs 50 years
Wood Shakes 30 years

 



Shutters
Aluminium Shutters – interior 10 years
Wood Shutters – exterior 20 years
Wood Shutters – interior 15 years

 



Siding & Accessories
Brick Siding Lifetime
Engineered Wood Siding Lifetime
Fiber Cement Siding Lifetime
Stone Siding – natural Lifetime
Stone Siding – manufactured Lifetime
Stucco Siding 50-100 years
Vinyl Siding Lifetime

 



>
Site & Landscaping
Asphalt driveways 15-20 years
Clay Paving Lifetime
Controllers 15 years
Polyvinyl fences Lifetime
Sprinklers 20 years
Underground PVC piping 25 years
Valves 20 years

 



Swimming Pools
Cleaning Equipment 7-10 years
Concrete Shell 25 years
Decking 15 years
Interior Finish – pebble-tec 25-35 years
Interior Finish – plaster 10-15 years
Interior Finish – tile 15-25 years
Waterline Tile 10 years

 



Walls, Ceilings & Finishes
Accoustical Ceiling Lifetime
Ceiling Suspension Lifetime
Ceramic Tile Lifetime
Standard Gypsum Lifetime

 



Windows & Skylights
Aluminum/Aluminum Clad 15-20 years
Window Glazing 10 years
Wood Windows 30 years

  

For complete details including all sources, special circumstances, and exceptions see the complete NAHB study here (dated February 2007).

 

Some Surprising Findings, In My Opinion

Of all the items listed here, only a few took me by surprise.

Specifically:

    • Smoke Detectors only last 5-10 years

     

    • Ditto for Home Security Systems

     

    • Copper Gutters last 50 years vs Aluminum Gutters 20 years

     

    • Copper Downspouts 100 years vs Aluminum Downspouts 30 years

I guess that’s why you’re starting to see so many more copper roofing materials used these days!

 

And I couldn’t help but wonder… what’s the life expectancy of steel metal or aluminum roofs? You see more and more people choosing this form of roofing for their new home, especially log home owners. Did I just miss it in the report?

All in all, I am so thankful to the National Association of Home Builders for doing this study, as the information is worth its weight in gold for homebuilders and remodelers!

Here’s a slideshow: How Long Things Last – Know When You Need To Replace It

 

 

The Chances Of A Breakdown…

Now, what are the chances of various household items breaking down? Do you know which products are most likely to need repaired or replaced?

The following numbers are based on 3- to 4-year old items, beginning with those most likely to need repairs:

    • Refrigerators (side-by-side with icemaker and water dispenser): 37%

    • Washing Machines (front-loading): 29%

    • Washing Machines (top-loading): 22%

    • Dishwashers: 21%

    • Refrigerators (top- or bottom-freezer with icemaker): 20%

    • Ranges (gas): 20%

    • Wall Ovens (electric): 19%

    • Cooktops (gas): 17%

    • Microwave Ovens (over-the-range): 17%

    • Dryers: 15%

    • Refrigerators (top- or bottom-freezer with NO icemaker): 12%

    • Ranges (electric): 11%

    • Cooktops (electric): 11%

Source: ShopSmartmag

 

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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  • Kenyon

    whirlpool refrigerator bought October 1986 and still working great

  • http://twitter.com/jakjones2010 jak jones

    Good list. Thanks

  • andrew

    Kitchenaid fridge compressor failed at 6.5 years. Rowenta iron 3 years . bosch dishwasher 4 years . All linked to cheap components. Sears gave up trying to fix my dishwasher..Made in Germany (export), China, Brazil , god knows where = no life expectancy. Even Toyota cheapened everything… Matrix all bearing failed after 9 years = 1600$ repair bill.
    If anything lasts 5 years your are lucky..

  • cvp

    Thanks much for these data. Trying to decide whether to renew the extended warranty on window air conditioners. Warranty price is about 20% of purchase price, so only seems worth it if time-to-failure is expected to be less than 5 years. Based on the data here… taking my chances without the warranty.

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      cvp – I think that’s the choice I would make as well.