In 2006, the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) conducted a comprehensive study to evaluate the longevity of the components that make up a home. 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. The average life expectancy for some components has increased during the past 35 years because of new products and the introduction of new technologies, while the average life of others has declined. Here is what NAHB found in their study of the average life expectancy of (typical) home components:
The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology, and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years).
Cabinetry and storage
Kitchens are becoming larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.” Great rooms are not only a place to cook, but also a space where people gather to read, eat, do homework, surf the Internet and pay bills. Cabinets are expected to last up to 50 years, medicine cabinets for 20+ years, and garage/laundry cabinets for 100+ years. Closet shelves are expected to last for a lifetime.
Concrete and Masonry
Masonry is one of the most durable components of a home. Chimneys, fireplaces, and brick veneers can last a lifetime, and brick walls have an average life expectancy of more than 100 years.
Natural stone countertops, which are less expensive than a few years ago, are gaining in popularity and are expected to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops have a life expectancy of about 20 years. Tile or natural stone with last a lifetime.
Because they are subject to a wide range of conditions in different climates, the life expectancy of wooden decks can vary significantly. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years.
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house exists, while vinyl and screen doors have a life expectancy of 20 and 40 years, respectively. Closet doors are expected to last a lifetime, and French doors have an average life of 30 to 50 years.
Faucets and Fixtures
Kitchen sinks made of modified acrylic will 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. Bath cabinets and toilets have an unlimited lifespan, but the components inside the toilet tank do require some maintenance. Whirlpool tubs will function properly for 20 to 50 years, depending on use.
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, but can last 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).
Here is a comprehensive list of the life expectancy (in years) of the following components:
Air-Conditioners, Room 10
Air-Conditioners, Unitary 15
Boilers, Electric 13
Boilers, Gas 21
Exhaust Fan 10
Countertops 20 (laminate) (tile or natural stone lasts a lifetime)
Disposers, Food Waste 12
Doors 20 (vinyl) (wood, fiberglass lasts a lifetime)