The Average Lifespan of a House
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 are usually more fleeting.
Homes contain thousands of unique components, each with their own unique life expectancies and replacement schedules. 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.
The lifespans of exterior home features run the gamut. While stone veneer (one of the highest-ROI home improvements you can make) can last a century or more, other items — like windows, outdoor caulking and garage door openers — only last a mere decade.
Here how some of the more common outdoor features break down:
- Roof: 20 to 50 years
- Brick: 100-plus years
- Veneer: Lifetime
- Caulking: 2 to 10 years
- Stucco: 50 to 100 years
- Wood decking: 10 to 30 years
- Doors: 20 years to a lifetime, depending on the material
- Poured foundation: Lifetime
- Garage door openers: 10 to 15 years
- Paints and stains: 15 years
- Shutters: 15 to 20 years
- Gutters: 20 to 100 years
- Asphalt driveway: 15 to 20 years
- Windows: 10 to 30 years
Appliances appear to have the shortest lifespans of all home components. Dehumidifiers, microwaves, and trash compactors last the least 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 are how some of the more common appliances shake out:
- Trash compactors: 6 to 10 years
- Dishwashers: 9 years
- Washers: 10 years
- Dryers: 13 years
- Freezers: 11 years
- Refrigerators: 9 to 13 years
- Water heaters: 10 to 11 years
- Furnaces: 15 to 20 years
- Window air conditioners: 5 to 7 years
Electrical systems tend to have the longest lifespans in most homes, though solar panels last the long haul as well. Security systems, air conditioners, and air ducting seem to need replacement the soonest.
- Security: 5 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: 30 years
When it comes to plumbing, most features have a fairly significant 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 5 to 10 years.
- Faucets: 10 to 20 years
- Toilets: Lifetime
- Whirlpool tubs: 20 to 50 years
- Sinks: 5 to 100 years
- Showerheads: 100 years
- Underground PVC piping: 25 years
- Well pumps: 15 years
The lifespan of cabinetry largely depends on its location. Home office, entertainment center, and medicine-style cabinets tend to last 10 years or less. Cabinets in closets, the garage and the laundry room last the longest—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 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, linoleum, vinyl and laminate only last a maximum of 25 years. Bamboo, brick, marble, slate, and tile can last upwards of 100 years as well.
How Does Your Home Measure Up?
Overall, the median age of a U.S. home is 37 years—meaning most properties are likely in need of one repair or another. The age of U.S. housing stock has been on the rise in recent years, rising six years since 2005.
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 the long haul.