Home Inspector Joseph Tribuzio 450.003128 Serving the greater Chicago area of Illinois
InterNACHI's Estimated Life Expectancy Chart
InterNACHI's Estimated Life Expectancy Chart
The following chart details the predicted life expectancy of household materials and components.
Interior and exterior paints can last for 15 years or longer, however homeowners often paint more frequently. Surface preparation is likely the most important determiner of paint life expectancy.
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. Of a home’s major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy.
Kitchens are in the process of becoming larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.”
Great rooms are a place to cook as well as a space where people gather to read, talk, eat, do homework, surf the Internet, and pay bills.
Walls and ceilings last the full lifespan of the home.
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.
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. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years but they can fail much sooner.
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house, while vinyl and screen doors have a shorter life expectancy. Closet doors may last a lifetime, but French doors will fail sooner.
Floor and roof trusses and laminated strand lumber are durable household components, and engineered trim may last 30 years.
Natural wood floorings may las as long as the house. Marble, slate, and granite are also expected to last for about 100 years, but require more 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).
Concrete and poured block footings and foundations will 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.
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 also last a lifetime. Hardboard, softwood, and plywood last an average of 30 years, while OSB and particleboard are expected to last twice that long.
Garage door openers are expected to last 10 to 15 years, and light inserts will last slightly longer.
Home technology systems have diverse life expectancies. While a built-in audio system will last 20 years, security systems and heat/smoke detectors have life expectancies of 5 to 10 years. Wireless home networks and home automation systems are expected to work properly for more than 50 years.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems require regular maintenance in order to work properly, but even well-maintained systems only last 15 to 25 years. Furnaces, on average, last 15-20 years, heat pumps last 16 years, and air conditioning units last 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 may last 35 years but they are usually replaced before they fail due to technological improvements.
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, house wrap, or batts/rolls.
Ladders are expected to last a lifetime, but life expectancy of lifts is significantly shorter.
Copper plated wiring, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, whereas electrical accessories and lighting controls may need to be replaced after 10 years.
Masonry is one of the most enduring household components. Fireplaces, chimneys, and brick veneers can last the lifetime of a home.
Custom millwork will last a lifetime, and all stairs – circular and spiral stairs, prebuilt stairs and attic stairs – are expected to last a lifetime.
Lifetime of any wood product depend on level of moisture intrusion
The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Slate, copper, and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy while roofs made of asphalt shingles, fiber cement or wood shakes will fail sooner.
Outside materials typically last a lifetime. Brick, vinyl, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured), and fiber cement will last as long the house. 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.
Most landscaping elements have a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years. Sprinklers and valves last about 20 years, while underground PVC piping has a lifespan of 25 years. Polyvinyl fences are designed to last as long as the house, and asphalt driveways should last between 15 and 20 years. Tennis courts can last a lifetime if they are recoated; most coatings last 12 to 15 years. The concrete shell of a swimming pool is expected to last more than 25 years, but the interior plaster and tile have life expectancies of about 10 to 25 years.
Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years while wooden windows should last nearly 30 years.
Note: Life expectancy varies with usage, weather, installation, maintenance and quality of materials. Items listed as lasting 100+ years, especially those that open and close, often fail prematurely due to misuse or overuse. This list should be used only as a general guideline, not as a guarantee or warranty regarding the performance or life expectancy of any product.