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NAHB Study On Life Expectancy of Home Components


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By any reckoning, a home is expected to last many years and serve several successive generations. But what about the individual components that comprise the house? How many years of service can a home owner reasonably expect from a roof or a door, a window or a whirlpool tub?

A new study sponsored by Bank of America Home Equity and conducted by the National Association of Home Builders takes some of the mystery out of the subject with the caveat that numerous factors, including use, maintenance, climate, advances in technology and simple consumer preferences can have a dramatic effect on product longevity.

The National Association of Home Builders/Bank of America Home Equity Study of the Life Expectancies of Home Components was conducted in the summer of 2006 said Gopal Ahluwalia, Staff Vice President for Research and Surveys in NAHB's Economics Group.

"By polling experts in a wide range of fields, we learned that many home components are expected to last for the life of the house," he said. "Among them are toilets, wood floors, all types of insulation, and fiberglass, steel and wood exterior doors. On the other hand, some components have a much shorter life expectancy. Wood decks should last about 20 years, depending on climate, and kitchen faucets should last about 15 years. Linoleum floors have a life expectancy of about 25 years, and furnaces can be expected to last 15 to 20 years," he added.

"With Americans relying on the equity in their homes as an essential element of their life savings, Bank of America wants home owners to better understand how to preserve value in their most important financial asset," said David Rupp, Bank of America Home Equity executive. Bank of America is the leading provider of home equity loans with a portfolio of more than $88 billion.

"It's important to remember that the life expectancies for materials included in this study are averages," said Ahluwalia. Usage, weather and a number of other factors can influence life expectancy. Moreover, home owners often replace items long before the end of their expected life span due to personal preferences and changing trends.

"For example," he added, "the practical life expectancy of kitchen cabinets is about 50 years. However, many people buying a 15- or 20-year-old house would make installing new, updated kitchen cabinets a priority. Likewise, some home owners paint their homes every year or two, even though interior paint has a practical life expectancy of about 15 years."

The study is available at http://www.nahb.org/components.


[EDITOR'S NOTE: This report should be used as a general guideline only. None of the information in this report should be interpreted as a representation, warranty or guarantee regarding the life expectancy or performance of any individual product or product line. Readers should not make buying decisions and/or product selections based solely on the information contained in this report.]

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 235,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct 80 percent of the more than 1.56 million new housing units projected for 2007.

ABOUT BANK OF AMERICA: Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 55 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 5,700 retail banking offices, through more than 17,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 21 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 175 countries and has relationships with 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 80 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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I know this isn't being represented as a definitive study, but some of those numbers are awfully low in my experience. Water heaters only last 10-11 years? I hardly ever see one that age with any problems at all, other than whatever mistakes were made at installation. 20-25 is a common age for replacement around here (I start limited remaining life warnings at 15, just to be a little conservative). And freezers at only 11 years? Really? Where?

Brian G.

I Got Underwear Older Than That [:D]

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I kinda liked the plywood @ 30 years, but OSB @ 60 years. How do they know?

Personally, the idea of charting lifespans for building components makes me queasy; there are so, so many variables that play into all of this stuff, that trying to pin it down is ridiculous. For every number, I could find an exception.

Heck, I've seen 50 year old asphalt shingles doing just fine on a steeply pitched roof. AC is going to have completely different lifespans if you're comparing Chicago to Houston.

And Home automation systems lasting a lifetime? I've never seen an intercom system last more than 18 months until it need repair or replacement; how the heck can a home automation system last for a "lifetime"? Are we calculating using dog years? Further evidence that NAHB needs a frontal lobe. Remember, this is the organization that has told us that a crawlspace full of water is OK.

This will get picked up by the syndicated "house" columns in the Sunday papers, and we'll all have realtors telling us about lifespans. I can hardly wait.

I realize Mr. O' is just being a good journalist, but I can't help poking a little fun @ this one.

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Thanks Mike.

I have been providing the older NAHB numbers to clients who ask 'how long.' Of course there are many variables, but that's stated in the first sentence of the study.

I believe it is a very good study (well done) but obviously that doesn't make it a useful study (due to all the variables). We all know there is no guarantee of anything. Even "Guarantees" aren't really guarantees - they just say, "Well, if it craps out, then we'll replace it." Everyone plays the odds.

Originally posted by hausdok

Mr. O's just posting it. He's not promoting it or decrying it.

Poke away if you want! That's why TIJ is here.

OT - OF!!!


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