Consumers and inspectors and other professionals advising their clients should note that these life expectancies have been determined through research and testing based on regular recommended maintenance and conditions of normal wear and tear, and not extreme weather (or other) conditions, neglect, over-use or abuse. Therefore, they should be used as guidelines only, and not relied upon as guarantees or warranties.
|Adhesives, Caulk and Paints||Years|
|Caulking (interior)||5 to 8|
|Caulking (exterior)||1 to 3|
|Paint (interior)||8 to 12|
|Stains||2 to 6|
Surface preparation and paint quality are the most important determinants of a paint's life expectancy. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can shorten life expectancy, especially in coastal regions that experience a lot of sunshine and heat, as well as wind-driven rain. Additionally, conditions of high humidity indoors or outdoors can affect the lifespan of these components, which is why they should be maintained seasonally.
|Air Conditioner (portable/window)||5 to 7|
|Disposal (food waste)||12|
|Dryer Vent (plastic)||5|
|Dryer Vent (steel)||20|
|Freezer||10 to 20|
|Gas Oven||10 to 18|
|Hand Dryer||10 to 12|
|Electric Range||13 to 15|
|Gas Range||15 to 17|
|Refrigerator||9 to 13|
|Swamp Cooler||5 to 15|
|Washing Machine||5 to 15|
|Whole-House Vacuum System||20|
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.
|Cabinetry and Storage||Years|
|Entertainment Center/Home Office||10|
|Modular (stock manufacturing-type)||50|
Modern kitchens are larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.”
|Ceilings and Walls||Years|
|Acoustical Tile Ceiling||40+|
|Wood Paneling||20 to 50|
Walls and ceilings last the full lifespan of the home.
|Laminate||20 to 30|
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.
|Composite||8 to 15|
|Structural Wood||5 to 20|
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. See FASTENERS and STEEL section for fasteners.
|Fire-Rated Steel (exterior)||100+|
|French (interior)||30 to 50|
|Sliding Glass/Patio (exterior)||10|
|Wood (hollow-core interior)||20 to 30|
|Wood (solid-core interior)||30 to 100+|
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house, while vinyl and screen doors have a shorter life expectancy. The gaskets/weatherstripping of exterior doors may have to be replaced every 5 to 8 years.
|Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)||30|
|Bulbs (compact fluorescent)||8K to 10K+ hours|
|Bulbs (halogen)||4K to 8K+ hours|
|Bulbs (incandescent)||1K to 2K+ hours|
|Bulbs (LED)||30K to 50K+ hours|
|Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)||Up to 30|
|Residential Propane Backup Generator||12|
|Solar Panels||20 to 30|
|Solar System Batteries||3 to 12|
|Wind Turbine Generator||20|
Copper-plated wiring, copper-clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, whereas electrical accessories and lighting controls, such as dimmer switches, may need to be replaced after 10 years. GFCIs could last 30 years, but much less if tripped regularly. Remember that faulty, damaged or overloaded electrical circuits or equipment are the leading cause of house fires, so they should be inspected regularly and repaired or updated as needed.
|Laminated Strand Lumber||100+|
|Laminated Veneer Lumber||80+|
Floor and roof trusses and laminated strand lumber are durable household components, and engineered trim may last 30 years.
|Fasteners, Connectors and Steel||Years|
|Adjustable Steel Columns||50+|
|Fasteners (bright)||25 to 40|
|Fasteners (copper)||50 to 65|
|Fasteners (electro-galvanized)||10 to 30|
|Fasteners (copper)||50 to 65|
|Fasteners (hot-dipped galvanized)||15 to 60|
|Steel Beams||50 to 100+|
|Steel Plates||35 to 75|
Fastener manufacturers do not give lifespans for their products because they vary too much based on where the fasteners are installed in a home, the materials in which they're installed, and the local climate and environment. However, inspectors can use the guidelines below for humid and coastal environments to make educated judgments about the materials they inspect.
|All Wood Floors||100+|
|Carpet||8 to 10|
|Laminate||15 to 25|
|Other Domestic Wood||100+|
|Tile||75 to 100|
Flooring life is dependent on maintenance and the amount of foot traffic the floor endures.
|Baseboard Waterproofing System||30|
|Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)||80|
|Post and Pier||15 to 45|
|Post and Tensioned Slab on Grade||80+|
|Poured-Concrete Footings and Foundation||80+|
|Slab on Grade (concrete)||75|
|Wood Foundation||5 to 20|
|Permanent Wood Foundation (PWF; treated)||50 to 70|
Concrete and poured-block footings and foundations will last a lifetime, assuming they were properly built. Waterproofing with bituminous coating lasts 10 years, but if it cracks, it is immediately damaged.
|Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)||75+|
Framing and structural systems have extended longevities; poured-concrete systems, timber frame houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime.
|Garage Doors||10 to 30|
|Garage Door Openers||10 to 15|
The quality and frequency of use will affect the longevity of garage doors and openers.
|Carbon Monoxide Detectors*||5|
|Home Automation System||5 to 50|
|Security System||5 to 20|
|Smoke/Heat Detectors*||Less than 10|
|Wireless Home Networks||5 to ?|
Home technology systems have diverse life expectancies and may have to be upgraded due to evolution in technology. *Batteries should be changed at least annually.
|Air Conditioner (central)||12 to 18|
|Attic Fan||15 to 25|
|Boiler||40 (if installed)|
|Ceiling Fan||5 to 10|
|Condenser||Coastal areas 5 to 7, Inland: 15 to 20|
|Diffusers, Grilles and Registers||25|
|Ducting||60 to 100|
|Electric Radiant Heater||40|
|Evaporator Cooler||15 to 25|
|Furnace||15 to 25 (if installed)|
|Gas Fireplace||15 to 25|
|Handler Coil||1 to 3|
|Heat Exchanger||10 to 15|
|Heat Pump||10 to 15|
|Hot-Water and Steam-Radiant Boilers||40|
|Induction and Fan-Coil Units||10 to 15|
|Chimney Cap (concrete)||50+|
|Chimney Cap (metal)||8 to 10|
|Chimney Cap (mortar)||10+|
|Chimney Flue Tile||20+|
Thermostats may last 35 years but they are usually replaced before they fail due to technological improvements.
|Insulation and Infiltration Barriers||Years|
|Black Paper (felt paper)||15 to 30|
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, housewrap or batts/rolls.