How Long Things Last

How Long Things Last

Trent Johnson
Aug 27, 2008

This Old House recently ran an article on how long things are typically supposed to last. Disappointingly, some of the largest appliances like dryers and refrigerators average only about 13 years. For some home items however, there are choices to increase longevity.

A few select items for which you can pay a little more upfront to keep it in your house and out of the landfill a little longer:

Water Heater
Tankless water heaters last more than 20 years, while an electric or gas water heater has a life expectancy of about 10 years. I recently installed a tankless water heater myself and can honestly say it was worth the extra work and cost.

Slate, copper, and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy—over 50 years. Roofs made of asphalt shingles last for about 20 years while roofs made of fiber cement shingles have a life expectancy of about 25 years, and roofs made of wood shakes can be expected to last for about 30 years. Here's a new roof made from recycled rubber.

Gutters have a life expectancy of more than 50 years if made of copper and for 20 years if made of aluminum. Copper downspouts last 100 years or more, while aluminum ones will last 30 years.

Framing and Structural
Softwood, hardboard, and plywood last an average of 30 years, while OSB and particleboard are expected to function properly for 60 years.

All natural wood floorings have a life expectancy of 100 years or more. Vinyl floors last up to 50 years, linoleum about 25 years, and carpet between 8 and 10 years (with appropriate maintenance and normal traffic).

See the rest of the article here at

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