How Long Do the Parts of a House Last?
A FEW YEARS BACK, I wrote an article called "Building Blind," that exposed some major flaws in the way products are installed in new homes, with no regard for how one product limits the lifespan of another. For example, putting thin asphalt felt (tar paper) under clay roof tiles means you will have to remove those tiles when the paper fails in about 20 years, whereas the tiles might have lasted for centuries.
It's very tough to get real numbers regarding the expected lifespan of products, but back in 1997, the National Association of Home Builders published estimates of the most common products and systems in a home. The folks at Sunland Home Inspection in Arizona were kind enough to reprint them, and I've included the numbers below.
Some of these figures are no doubt anecdotal estimates. Many, in my view, are far too conservative. A cast iron tub, for example could easily last a couple of hundred years, whereas many poured foundations will not. Still, the list is informative, and food for thought.
APPLIANCE / LIFE SPAN (in years)
- Compactor / 10 years
- Dishwasher / 10 years
- Garbage Disposer / 10 years
- Dryer / 10 years
- Freezer (compact) / 12 years
- Freezer (standard) / 16 years
- Microwave oven / 11 years
- Range (freestanding and built-in, electric) / 17 years
- Range (freestanding and built in, gas) / 19 years
- Range (high oven, gas) / 14 years
- Refrigerator (compact) / 14 years
- Refrigerator (standard) / 17 years
- Washer (automatic and compact) / 13 years
- Exhaust fan / 20 years
- Cast iron bathtub / 50 years
- Fiberglass bathtub and shower / 10-15 years
- Shower door (average quality) / 25 years
- Toilet / 50 years
- Kitchen cabinets / 15-20 years
- Medicine cabinet/bath vanity / 20 years
- Laminate / 10-15 years
- Ceramic tile (high-grade installation) / Lifetime
- Wood/butcher block / 20+ years
- Granite / 20+ years
- Screen / 25-50 years
- Interior (not perfect hollow core) / 30 years to life
- Interior (solid core) / 30 years to life
- Exterior (protected overhang) / 80-100 years
- Exterior (unprotected and exposed) / 25-30 years
- Folding / 30 years to life
- Garage door / 20-50 years
- Garage door opener / 10 years
FINISHES (Used for waterproofing)
- Paint, plaster and stucco / 3-5 years
- Sealer, silicone, and waxes / 1-5 years
- Oak or pine / Lifetime
- Slate flagstone / Lifetime
- Vinyl sheet or tile / Minimum 20-30 years
- Terrazzo / Lifetime
- Carpeting / 11 years
- Marble / Lifetime
FOOTINGS AND FOUNDATIONS
- Poured footing and foundation / 200 years
- Concrete block / 100 years
- Cement / 50 years
- Waterproofing (bituminous coating) / 10 years
- Termite proofing / 5 years
- Baseboard system / 20 years
HEATING, VENTILATION AND AC
- Air conditioning unit (central unit) / 15 years
- Air conditioning unit (window unit) / 10 years
- Humidifier / 8 years
- Water heater (electric) / 14 years
- Water heater (gas) / 11-13 years
- Forced air furnace, heat pump / 15 years
- Furnace, gas or oil fired / 18 years
HOME SECURITY APPLIANCES
- Intrusion system / 14 years
- Smoke detector / 12 years
- Smoke/fire/intrusion system / 10 years
- Wooden deck / 15 years
- Brick and concrete patio / 24 years
- Tennis court / 10 years
- Concrete walk / 24 years
- Gravel walk / 4 years
- Asphalt driveway / 10 years
- Swimming pool / 18 years
- Sprinkler system / 12 years
- Fence / 12 years
PAINTS AND STAINS
- Exterior paint-wood, brick and aluminum / 7-10 years
- Interior wall paint / 5-10 years
- Interior trim and door / 5-10 years
- Interior wallpaper / 7 years
- Waste pipe (concrete) / 50-100 years
- Waste pipe (cast iron) / 75-100 years
- Sinks (enamel steel sink) / 5-10 years
- Sinks (enamel cast iron sink) / 25-30 years
- Sinks (porcelain sink) / 25-30 years
- Faucets --low quality / 13-15 years
- Faucets-- high quality / 15-20 years
- Asphalt and wood shingles and shakes / 15-30 years
- Tile / 50 years
- Slate / 50-100 years
- Sheet metal / 20-50 years
- Built-up roofing (asphalt) / 12-25 years
- Built-up roofing (coat and tar) / 12-30 years
- Asphalt composition shingle / 15-30 years
- Asphalt overlap / 25-35 years
- Gutters and downspouts / 30 years
- Siding (wood) / 10-100 years
- Siding (steel) / 50 years to life
- Siding (aluminum) / 20-50 years
- Siding (vinyl) / 50 years to life
- Window glazing / 20 years
- Wood casement / 20-50 years
- Aluminum casement / 10-20 years
- Screen / 25-50 years
Roofing - Flashings - Chimneys
- Install conventional asphalt shingles over existing shingles / $1.25 - $2 / sq. ft.
- Strip and re-shingle with conventional shingles / $2 - $3 / sq. ft.
- Strip and re-roof with cedar shingles / $5 - $7 per sq. ft.
- Strip and replace built-up tar and gravel roof / $4 - $6 / sq. ft.
- Strip and replace single-ply membrane / $4 - 6 / sq. ft.
- Reflash typical chimney / $300 - $500
- Reflash typical skylight / $300 - $500
- Rebuild typical chimney above roof line / $100-$200 / lin. ft.
- Repoint typical chimney above roof line / $20-$30 / row
- Install galvanized or aluminum gutters and downspouts / $3 - $5 / lin. ft.
Soffits - Fascias - Repointing - Water Proofing
- Install aluminum soffits and fascia / $8 - $12 / lin. ft.
- Install aluminum or vinyl siding / $3 - $4.50 / sq. ft.
- Repoint exterior wall (soft mortar) / $3 - 4.50 / sq. ft.
- Repoint exterior wall (hard mortar) / $6 - $8 / sq. ft.
- Parge foundation walls / $3 - $4 / sq. ft.
- Damp proof foundation walls and install weeping tile / $60-$120 / lin. ft.
Garages - Decks - Retaining Walls - Foundation
- Install a deck / $12- $20 / sq. ft.
- Rebuild exterior basement stairwell / $3500 - $5000
- Build detached garage (single) / $8000 and up
- Build detached garage (double) / $12000 and up
- Build retaining wall (wood) / $20 - $25 / sq. ft.
- Build retaining wall (concrete) / $30 - $40 / sq. ft.
- Structure underpin one corner of house / $3500 and up
- Underpin or add foundations / $300 + / lin. ft.
- Lower basement floor by underpinning or bench footings / $150-$300 / lin. ft.
- Replace deteriorating sill beam with concrete / $60 and up / lin. ft.
- Install basement support post with proper foundation / $200 - $400
- Perform chemical treatment for termites / $500 and up
- Repair minor crack in poured concrete foundation / $400 - $800
Electric Repairs - Upgrades
- Electrical Upgrade electrical service to 100 amps / $1200-1800
- Upgrade electrical service to 200 amps / $1500 - $2000
- Install new circuit breaker panel / $500 - $700
- Add 120 volt circuit / $150 - $250
- Add 240 volt circuit / $250 - $350
- Add conventional receptacle / $75 - $150
- Replace non-GFCI receptacle with ground fault circuit receptacle / $60 - $90
- Rewire elect. outlet w/ reversed polarity if electrician is there / $5 - $10 ea.
- Install conventional alarm system fire- burglar / $1000 and up
Heating Systems - Air Conditioning
- Heating install mid-efficiency forced-air furnace / $1700 - $2500
- Install high-efficiency forced-air furnace / $2500 - $3500
- Install drum-type humidifier / $200 - $300
- Install electronic air filter / $500 - $800
- Install mid-efficiency boiler / $2500 - $4000
- Install high-efficiency boiler / $5000 - $9000
- Rebuild firepot (refractory) on boiler / $500 - $800
- Install circulating pump / $400 - $600
- Install chimney liner / $300 - $700
- Install set-back thermostat / $100 - $300
- Remove oil tank from basement / $200 - $400
- Remove abandoned underground oil tank / $3500 and up
- Replace radiator valve / $75 - $150
- Add electric baseboard heater / $150 - $250
- Convert from hot water heat to forced-air (cape) / $8000 - $10000
- Convert from hot water heat to forced-air (2 story) / $15000 - $20000
- Clean ductwork / $250 and up
- Add central AC on existing forced-air system / $2000-$3000
- Add heat pump to forced-air system / $3000-$4000
- Replace heat pump or air conditioning compressor / $800 - $1400
- Install independent air conditioning system / $8000 - $15000
- Insulation Insulate open attic to modern standards / $1 - $1.50 / sq. ft.
- Blow insulation into attic, cathedral ceiling or wall / $2 - $3.50 / sq. ft.
- Improve attic ventilation / $40 - $50 per vent
- Replace galvanized piping with copper (2 story+1 bath) / $2000 - $2500
- Replace water line to house / $1500 - $3500
- Replace toilet / $300 and up
- Replace basin / $200 and up
- Replace bathtub, including ceramic tile / $1500 and up
- Install whirlpool bath / $3000 and up
- Retile bathtub enclosure / $800 - $1200
- Replace leaking shower stall pan / $1000 - $1600
- Rebuild tile shower stall / $1500 - $2500
- Replace laundry tubs / $250 - $500
- Remodel four-piece bathroom completely / $6000 and up
- Connect waste plumbing system to municipal sewers / $3000 and up
- Install submersible pump / $800 and up
- Install suction or jet pump / $400 - $600
- Install modest basement bathroom / $4000 and up
Carpentry - Finish Work
- Sand and refinish hardwood floors / $1.50 - $3 / sq. ft.
- Interior add drywall over plaster / $1.50-$2.50 / sq. ft.
- Install replacement windows / $200 - $400 ea.
- Install storm windows / $75 - $200 ea.
- Install skylight / $500 and up
- Remodel kitchen completely / $8000 and up
- Painting (trim only) / $1500 - $2500
- Painting (trim and wall surfaces) / $3000 and up
Fireplaces - Stoves
- Repoint chimney (2 story) / $700 and up
- Convert coal-burning fireplace to wood-burning unit / $800 and up
- Install masonry fireplace (if flue already roughed in) / $2000 and up
- Install zero-clearance fireplace (including chimney) / $2500 and up
- Install glass doors on fireplace / $300 and up
- Install gas insert into existing fireplace / $2500 and up