• Life expectancy of home components

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    Home Builders and Remodeling Association
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    Is it time to get rid of that deck or replace countertops, doors and windows?

    Many homes on Cape Cod date back to the 1980s and 1990s when population the grew almost 50 percent. Others homes go back to the 1970s or even earlier.

    At last count, there were about 160,000 housing units on Cape Cod, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 97,000 occupied and 63,000 vacant, of which 56,816 are seasonal or recreational.

    So, what is the condition of all those home’s components? When is it time to replace appliance to decks, flooring, roofing, siding and windows?

    For builders and owners, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) commissioned a study to help assess the life expectancy of home components. Some excerpts:

    Appliances

    From past experience, gas ranges had the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators about 13 years; compactors, 6 years; dishwashers, 9 years);and microwave ovens, 9 years.

     

    Countertops

    Natural stone countertops such as granite are expected to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops used in bathrooms in the past have a life expectancy of about 20 years.

    Decks

    Wooden decks are subject to a wide range of conditions. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years. [New composite materials should last much longer.

    Doors

    Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house, while vinyl and screen doors have a life expectancy of 20 and 40 years, respectively.

     Electrical and Lighting

    Copper plated wiring, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, but electrical accessories and lighting controls are expected to last about 10 years.

    Faucets and Fixtures

    Kitchen sinks can last 50 years, while kitchen faucets will work properly for about 15 years. The average life of bathroom shower enclosures is 50 years. Showerheads last a lifetime, while shower doors will last about 20 years. Toilets have an unlimited lifespan, but the components inside the toilet tank do require maintenance. Whirlpool tubs will function properly for 20 to 50 years.

    Flooring

    All-natural wood floorings have a life expectancy of 100 years or more. Marble, slate, and granite are also expected to last for about 100 years, or 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).

    Garages

    Garage door openers are expected to last 10 to 15 years, and light inserts for 20 years.

    Home Technology

    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 (HVAC)

    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems require proper and regular maintenance in order to work efficiently, but most components 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.

    Paint

    Some interior and exterior paints can last for 15 years or longer. However home owners often paint more frequently, especially in damp Cape Cod weather.

    Panels

    Hardboard panels and softwood panels are expected to last 30 years, while oriented strand board has a life expectancy of 25-30 years, and flooring underlayment should last about 25 years. Wall panels are expected to last a lifetime, and plywood and particleboard have a life expectancy of about 60 years.

    Roofing

    The life of a roof depends on weather, 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. New asphalt roofing comes with a warranty of up to 50 years.

    Siding and Accessories

    Outside materials typically last a lifetime. Cedar shakes, however, do crack or rot over time. Brick, vinyl, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured) and fiber cement will last as long the house exists. Exterior wood shutters last 20 years, depending on weather conditions. Gutters have a life expectancy of more than 50 years if made of copper and of 20 years if aluminum. Copper downspouts last 100 years or more, while aluminum ones will last 30 years.

    Site and Landscaping

    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 a lifetime, and asphalt driveways should last between 15 and 20 years. [Sealcoating will extend driveway life.]

    Tennis courts can last a lifetime if recoated; most coatings last 12 to 15 years. The concrete shell of a swimming pool is expected to last over 25 years, but the interior plaster and tile have life expectancies of about 10 to 25 years.

    Windows

    Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years while wooden ones should last upwards of 30 years.

    The NAHB notes: “The life expectancies of the components of a home depend on the quality of installation, the level of maintenance, weather and climate conditions, and the intensity of use. Some components may remain functional but become obsolete due to changing styles and preferences or improvements in newer products while others may have a short life expectancy due to intensive use.”

     

    November 20, 2013