In February 2007, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) updated its 1993 report on the life expectancy of housing components. Titled “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components,” the 2007 report was prepared with input from numerous manufacturers, suppliers, trade associations and researchers in the homebuilding industry. The survey covers a wide variety of components, appliances and other features in a house.
As you might expect, the NAHB reported that the life expectancy of the various components in a house depends on the quality of the materials used, the quality of the installation, maintenance levels, weather conditions and the intensity of usage of the component. It also found that some components may remain functional, but will become obsolete because of new products introduced to the market, new technologies that out-date a product and even changing customer preferences.
The NAHB found the average life expectancy has increased for many components; however, it has decreased for others. This may reflect changes in the quality of materials and products or even our society’s growing willingness to throw away the old and get a newer, fancier product.
According to a 2005 U.S. Census report, there are more than 125 million homes in the United States. They have a median age of more than 32 years. Approximately 33 percent of the homes were built prior to 1960, about 10 percent were built in the 1960s, about 20 percent in the 1970s, about 13 percent in the 1980s, about 13 percent in the 1990s and about 10 percent since 2000.
The NAHB report included the following disclaimer: “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.”
You can download a copy of the 39-page NAHB report, “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components,” from the NAHB Web site. Go to www.NAHB.org
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