Mar 30, 2011

How long will it last? The life expectancy of home products and materials.

We have been a throw-away society.  Looks old? Trash it and buy new. Out of date? Throw it out.  It's no wonder our landfills are so full that we send local garbage to distant locations to get rid of it. Here's a general guide to how long common appliances and products SHOULD last. If your style has changed and the items are working and workable, try donating to organizations like Habitat for Humanity. They sell donated goods to raise money to build homes.  Beware of purchasing "cheap" often costs more to buy them when replacement is not far behind.

Life Expectancy of Household Components
AppliancesLife in years
Freezers, compact12
Freezers, standard16
Microwave ovens11
Electric ranges17
Gas ranges19
Gas ovens14
Refrigerators, compact14
Refrigerators, standard17
Washers, automatic and compact13
Exhaust fans20

BathroomsLife in years
Cast iron bathtubs50
Fiberglass bathtub and showers10-15
Shower doors, average quality25

CabinetryLife in years
Kitchen cabinets20+
Medicine cabinets and bath vanities20+

Closet systemsLife in years
Closet shelvesLifetime
CountertopsLife in years
Ceramic tile, high-grade installationLifetime
Wood/butcher block20+

DoorsLife in years
Interior, hollow coreLess than 30
Interior, solid core30-lifetime
Exterior, protected overhang80-100
Exterior, unprotected and exposed25-30
Garage doors20-50
Garage door opener10-15

ElectricalLife in years
Copper wiring, copper plated, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper100+
Armored cable (BX)Lifetime
Finishes used for waterproofingLife in years
Paint, plaster, and stucco5-15
Sealer, silicone, and waxes1-5

FloorsLife in years
Oak or pineLifetime
Slate flagstoneLifetime
Vinyl sheet or tile20-30
Carpeting (depends on installation, amount of traffic, and quality of carpet)11-15
Marble (depends on installation, thickness of marble, and amount of traffic)Lifetime+
Footings and foundationLife in years
Poured footings and foundations200
Concrete block100
Waterproofing, bituminous coating10
Termite proofing (may have shorter life in damp climates)5

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)Life in years
Central air conditioning unit (newer units should last longer)15-25
Window unit10-15
Air conditioner compressor15
Electric water heater14
Gas water heater (depends on type of water heater lining and quality of water)11-13
Forced air furnaces, heat pump15
Rooftop air conditioners15
Boilers, hot water or steam (depends on quality of water)30
Furnaces, gas- or oil-fired18
Unit heaters, gas or electric13
Radiant heaters, electric10
Radiant heaters, hot water or steam25
Baseboard systems20
Diffusers, grilles, and registers27
Induction and fan coil units20
Centrifugal fans25
Axial fans20
Ventilating roof-mounted fans20
DX, water, and steam coils20
Electric coils15
Heat Exchangers, shell-and-tube24
Molded insulation20
Pumps, sump and well10

Home security appliancesLife in years
Intrusion systems14
Smoke detectors12
Smoke/fire/intrusion systems10
InsulationLife in years
For foundations, roofs, ceilings, walls, and floorsLifetime

LandscapingLife in years
Wooden decks15-20
Brick and concrete patios24
Tennis courts10
Concrete walks24
Gravel walks4
Asphalt driveways10
Swimming pools18
Sprinkler systems12

MasonryLife in years
Chimney, fireplace, and brick veneerLifetime
Brick and stone walls100+

MillworkLife in years
Stairs, trim50-100
Disappearing stairs30-40
Paints and stainsLife in years
Exterior paint on wood, brick, and aluminum10-15
Interior wall paint (depends on the acrylic content)10+
Interior trim and door paint5-10

PlumbingLife in years
Waste piping, cast iron75-100
Sinks, enamel steel5-10
Sinks, enamel cast iron25-30
Sinks, china25-30
Faucets, low quality13-15
Faucets, high quality15-20

RoofingLife in years
Asphalt and wood shingles and shakes15-30
Tile (depends on quality of tile and climate)50
Slate (depends on grade)50-100
Sheet metal (depends on gauge of metal and quality of fastening and application)20-50+
Built-up roofing, asphalt12-25
Built-up roofing, coal and tar12-30
Asphalt composition shingle15-30
Asphalt overlag25-35

Rough structureLife in years
Basement floor systemsLifetime
Framing, exterior and interior wallsLifetime

ShuttersLife in years
Wood, interiorLifetime
Wood, exterior (depends on weather conditions)4-5
Vinyl plastic, exterior10+
Aluminum, interior35-50
Aluminum, exterior3-5
SidingLife in years
Gutters and downspouts30
Siding, wood (depends on maintenance)10-100
Siding, steel50-Lifetime
Siding, aluminum20-50
Siding, vinyl50

Walls and window treatmentsLife in years
Drywall and plaster30-70
Ceramic tile, high grade installationLifetime

WindowsLife in years
Window glazing20
Wood casement20-50
Aluminum and vinyl casement20-30