One of the questions that I receive often is "How long will this last?" It is a tough question to answer since you never know when something like an A/C or hot water heater will decide to go out. The following charts though provide some guidance for homes in Florida. It is important for you to know this when you are buying a home and also if you are a seasonal resident. For example, does your home watch provider know how to properly check your major systems and components to trouble shoot BEFORE something goes wrong? If not, you may not have the right person hired for the job. This is one of the ways that Inspector Gadget Homes is different than our competitors...we know how and what to check for in all systems and components. We have gone through extensive training, testing and certification.
The following chart details the predicted life expectancy of appliances, products, materials, systems and components for homes in the state of Florida. While many components and systems in homes located in Florida and the surrounding area have service life expectancies that are comparable to those anywhere else in the U.S., those items that are regularly exposed to the elements, including saltwater, wind, sun and heat, are particularly vulnerable to premature failure compared to items installed in homes located elsewhere. These guidelines attempt to address those differences.
Surface preparation and paint quality are the most important determinants of a paint's life expectancy. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can shorten life expectancy, especially in coastal regions that experience a lot of sunshine and heat, as well as wind-driven rain. Additionally, conditions of high humidity indoors or outdoors can affect the lifespan of these components, which is why they should be maintained seasonally.
Appliance life expectancy depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Furthermore, consumers often replace appliances long before they become worn out due to changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences.
Modern kitchens are larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.”
Walls and ceilings last the full lifespan of the home.
Natural stone countertops, which are less expensive than they were just a few years ago, are becoming more popular, and one can expect them to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops have a shorter life expectancy, however.
Decks are exposed to a wide range of conditions in different climates, from wind and hail in some areas, to relatively consistent, dry weather in others. See FASTENERS & STEEL section for fasteners.
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house, while vinyl and screen doors have a shorter life expectancy. The gaskets/weatherstripping of exterior doors may have to be replaced every 5 to 8 years.
Copper-plated wiring, copper-clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, whereas electrical accessories and lighting controls, such as dimmer switches, may need to be replaced after 10 years. GFCIs could last 30 years, but much less if tripped regularly. Remember that faulty, damaged or overloaded electrical circuits or equipment are the leading cause of house fires, so they should be inspected regularly and repaired or updated as needed.
Floor and roof trusses and laminated strand lumber are durable household components, and engineered trim may last 30 years.
Fastener manufacturers do not give lifespans for their products because they vary too much based on where the fasteners are installed in a home, the materials in which they're installed, and the local climate and environment. However, inspectors can use the guidelines below for humid and coastal environments to make educated judgments about the materials they inspect.
Flooring life is dependent on maintenance and the amount of foot traffic the floor endures.
Concrete and poured-block footings and foundations will last a lifetime, assuming they were properly built. Waterproofing with bituminous coating lasts 10 years, but if it cracks, it is immediately damaged.
Framing and structural systems have extended longevities; poured-concrete systems, timber frame houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime.
The quality and frequency of use will affect the longevity of garage doors and openers.
Home technology systems have diverse life expectancies and may have to be upgraded due to evolution in technology.
Thermostats may last 35 years but they are usually replaced before they fail due to technological improvements.
As long as they are not punctured, cut or burned, and are kept dry and away from UV rays, cellulose, fiberglass and foam insulation materials will last a lifetime. This is true regardless of whether they were installed as loose-fill, housewrap or batts/rolls.
Masonry is one of the most enduring household components. Fireplaces, chimneys and brick veneers can last the lifetime of the home.
Custom millwork and stair parts will last a lifetime and are typically only upgraded for aesthetic reasons.
The lifetime of any interior wood product depends heavily on moisture intrusion.
The quality of plumbing fixtures varies dramatically. The mineral content of water can shorten the life expectancy of water heaters and clog showerheads. Also, some finishes may require special maintenance with approved cleaning agents per the manufacturers in order to last their expected service lives.
Radon systems have but one moving part: the radon fan.
The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Hot climates drastically reduce asphalt shingle life. Roofs in areas that experience severe weather, such as hail, tornadoes and/or hurricanes may also experience a shorter-than-normal lifespan overall or may incur isolated damage that requires repair in order to ensure the service life of the surrounding roofing materials.
Outside siding materials typically last a lifetime. Some exterior components may require protection through appropriate paints or sealants, as well as regular maintenance. Also, while well-maintained and undamaged flashing can last a long time, it is their connections that tend to fail, so seasonal inspection and maintenance are strongly recommended.
Site and landscaping elements have life expectancies that vary dramatically.
Swimming pools are comprised of many systems and components, all with varying life expectancies, depending on their exposure to climatic and weather conditions. Also, proper maintenance is key, especially concerning the pool water's chemical balance.
Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years, while wooden windows should last nearly 30 years.
Note: Life expectancy varies with usage, weather, installation, maintenance and quality of materials. This list should be used only as a general guideline and not as a guarantee or warranty regarding the performance or life expectancy of any appliance, product, system or component.