Our houses are built to last, but how long? Well, if your house is going to fall apart, what piece is going first? What are the average life expectancies of the core components of a house? I’ll try to answer some of those questions. I think an appropriate place to start should be your roof. All houses have them and some people may not know what to expect. It is important to differentiate the two main types of roof. Tile versus shingles. Most properties in the same neighborhoods were built by contractors so roofs are usually an indicator of what materials a certain builder will use.
Most experts agree that a typical shingle roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof. Now, when comparing tile roofs and shingle roofs, the first noticeable difference is the price. Tile is more expensive than shingles, usually at least double the price. However, the life expectancy of tile ends up being about double that of shingles, so it works out to be about even in that regard if you plan on living out your remaining years in the house or passing it on to your family. One consideration is that high winds and bad weather can knock off your shingles much more easily than with tiles. Tiles are more durable and can withstand a lot more strain. I hope this sheds light on your decision.
Let’s talk plumbing. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the plumbing pipes in your home. Fortunately, the majority of pipe materials perform well for decades. However, when that lifespan is reached, pipes may start to leak. To prevent leaks, here are some average lifespans. If you live in a much older home, you may have cause for concern, if not, it will probably be important to find out what materials your plumbing is made of. Brass is by far the best for supply pipes, with a lifespan of 40 to 70 years. Copper and galvanized steal will rarely last past 50 years. That is still a very long time. When it comes to drain lines, cast iron will last between 75 and 100 years. Polyvinyl chloride or PVC will actually never die. They are listed as lasting indefinitely. Pretty cool and obviously the right choice for drains.
Flooring? Believe it or not, even well taken care of carpet doesn’t last forever. Most manufacturers say carpet should last for 10 years with proper care. After 10 years, signs of wear show on the major walkways and the carpet fibers start losing their texture and tuft. Obviously the more expensive the carpet, the longer it should last. Hardwood floors can last a longer time than carpet, usually 25 years or more. Some can last a lifetime. Most will last longer than you live in your home. The quality and type of wood will determine the life on hardwood. A lot less popular is laminate flooring. With proper care and maintenance, a quality laminate floor should last 15 to 30 years, which is on par with other types of manufactured flooring, but considerably less than that of genuine stone, ceramic and other natural materials. The best option? Tile is hands down the longest lasting. Most kinds of glazed porcelain, glazed ceramic, and terra cotta floor tile can last 50 years or more.
I hope this helps with the key components of your house. Taking good care and being in the “know” is the best possible way to ensure you get the most life out of all components in your house!