The Average Lifespan of a House
Learn the life expectancy of your home, its systems, and its features
A home’s lifespan largely depends on the components within it. Though its brick exterior may last decades or more, the appliances, cabinets, flooring, and other less hardy items have shorter life expectancies.
Homes contain thousands of unique components, each with its own unique life expectancy and replacement schedule. To help gauge the lifespan of your specific property, consider this data, compiled from the National Association of Home Builders and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
Exterior Features Last Longest
The lifespans of exterior home features vary significantly. While stone veneer (one of the highest-ROI home improvements you can make) can last a century or more, other items such as windows, outdoor caulking, and garage door openers only last a decade.
Here's how some of the more common outdoor features break down over time:
- Roof: 20 to 50 years depending on materials
- Brick: 100 or more years
- Veneer: Lifetime of the home
- Caulking: 2 to 20 years
- Stucco: 50 to 100 years
- Wood decking: 10 to 30 years, depending on materials
- Doors: 20 years to a lifetime, depending on the materials
- Poured foundation: Lifetime
- Garage door openers: 10 to 15 years
- Paints and stains: 15 years
- Shutters: 10 to 20 years
- Gutters: 20 to 100 years, depending on materials
- Asphalt driveway: 15 to 20 years
- Windows: 10 to 30 years
In general, appliances have the shortest lifespans of all home components. Dehumidifiers, microwaves, and trash compactors last the shortest amount of time, needing replacement within nine to 10 years in most cases. On the longer-lasting end are gas boilers (21 years), furnaces (20 years), and ranges (15 years).
Here is how the life expectancy for some of the more common appliances shakes out:
- Trash compactors: Six years
- Dishwashers: Nine years
- Washers: 10 years
- Dryers: 13 years
- Freezers: 11 years
- Refrigerators: Nine to 13 years
- Water heaters: 10 to 11 years
- Furnaces: 15 to 20 years
- Window air conditioners: Five to 7 years
Household Systems Can Vary
Electrical systems tend to have the longest lifespans in most homes, though solar panels last for a long time as well. Security systems, air conditioners, and air ducting usually need replacement the soonest.
- Security: Five to 10 years
- Air conditioner: 10 to 15 years
- Smoke detectors: 10 years
- Thermostats: 35 years
- Air ducting: 10 years
- Solar panels: 20 to 30 years
- AFCI & GFCI circuit breakers: 30 years
- Electrical service panel: 60 years
- Propane generator: 12 years
Plumbing Is Built to Last
When it comes to plumbing, most features have a fairly long lifespan. Sink life expectancy depends greatly on the fixture’s material. Soapstone sinks, for example, last 100 years or more. Enamel steel ones last just five to 10 years.
- Faucets: 10 to 20 years
- Toilets: Lifetime (not including components)
- Whirlpool tubs: 20 to 50 years
- Sinks: 5 to 100 years
- Showerheads: 100 years
- Well pumps: 15 years
These figures are averages. The lifespan of your home and its components will largely depend on its specific materials along with how well you and previous owners have maintained the property.
The lifespan of cabinetry largely depends on its location. Home office and entertainment center cabinets tend to last 10 years or less. Medicine cabinets last about 20 years, while kitchen cabinetry is generally designed to last 50 years. Cabinets in closets, the garage, and the laundry room last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.
Countertop life expectancy depends on the material used. Concrete counters last about 50 years, marble around 20 years, and laminate roughly 20 to 30. Tile, natural stone, and wood countertops last 100 years or more.
Flooring lifespans also vary widely. While wood floors typically last a century or longer, vinyl has a lifespan of 50 years, and linoleum and laminate only last a maximum of 25 years. Bamboo, brick, marble, slate, and tile can last upwards of a century.
How Does Your Home Measure Up?
Overall, the median age of a U.S. home is 37 years, which means most properties are likely in need of one repair or another. The oldest housing stock is located in the Northeast, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island claiming the highest median home age (54 and 53 years, respectively). The nation’s newest housing is found in Nevada (21 years), Georgia (25 years), and Arizona (25 years).
If you’re concerned about the age of a property you’re considering buying, make sure to include a home inspection contingency in your offer. This allows you to get the home professionally inspected for deficiencies before closing the deal.
Have a Home Maintenance Schedule in Place
No matter how old your home is, enforcing a consistent home maintenance schedule can help you get the most from your property and its systems and features. Changing your air filters, cleaning your gutters, and scheduling an annual HVAC check-up can help keep your air conditioning and heating systems in check, while pressure washing your deck, cleaning your gutters, and trimming back trees can ensure your home’s exterior lasts for the long haul.