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The engineers of Carson Dunlop & associates Ltd. have conducted over 50,000 home inspections and haven't found a perfect house yet. Since perfection is not an option, what should you expect?

Normal Maintenance

If you strip away the cosmetics, a house is made up of the structure, roof, exterior envelope and the "systems" of the house. The "systems" are things like heating, plumbing, electrical and cooling. All components and systems eventually wear out. Fortunately, they don't all wear out at the same time. Different components have different life cycles. Houses tend to settle into what you might call a "normal maintenance pattern".

The 1% Rule

When you consider the life cycle of every component of a house, a reasonable annual estimate of the cost of normal maintenance is 1% of the value of the house. One year you may replace the furnace; a few years down the road you may re-surface the roof. Throw in the odd unexpected repair and you average 1% per year. It's incredible but this rule is not far off even for very expensive and very inexpensive houses.

What's the Message Here?

A homebuyer should arrive at the home inspection with realistic expectations. If you are buying a 12-15 year old home, let's face it, you may need a new roof covering. If you are buying a 60 year old home, you may have to update some plumbing. Don't let this scare you away from a perfectly good home.

How Long Does it Last?

Here is a short list of typical life cycles of the most common components of the home. Please keep in mind that there will be expectations in every category.

Roof
Conventional asphalt shingles 12 - 15 years
Top quality asphalt shingles 20 - 30 years
Low slope shingles 10 - 15 years
Slate 40 - 200 years
Tar and gravel roof (built up roof) 12 - 20 years
Single ply roof membrane 15 - 20 years
Roll roofing 5 - 10 years
Exterior
Gutters and downspouts 20 - 30 years
Copper gutter and downspouts 50 - 100 years
Aluminum siding 50+ years
Wood siding Maintenance Dependant
Stucco Maintenance Dependant
Exterior paint 4 - 6 years
Deck 10 - 20 years
Asphalt driveway surface 10 - 20 years
Driveway sealer 1 - 3 years
Concrete driveway 30 - 40 years
Garage door opener 8 - 12 years
Structure
Termite treatment 10 - 20 years
Heat
Conventional furnace 20 - 25 years
Mid-efficiency furnace 20 - 25 years
High-efficiency furnace Unknown, likely > 20 years
Cast iron boiler 35 - 50 years
Steel boiler 20 - 30 years
Copper tube boiler 10 - 20 years
Humidifier 5 - 10 years
Electronic air filter 10 - 20 years
Cooling
Air conditioning condenser 10 - 15 years
Plumbing
Galvanized steel supply pipe 40 - 50 years
Copper pipe Indefinite
Toilet 30 - 40 years
Sink 12 - 20 years
Faucet 10 - 15 years
Whirlpool bath 15 - 25 years
Shower pan Unpredictable
Submersible pump for well 10 - 15 years
Suction or jet pump 10 - 15 years
Water softener 5 - 15 years
Sump pump 2 - 7 years
Water heater 8 - 12 years
Tile bathtub enclosure 10 - 50 years
Interior
Paint 5 - 10 years
Windows Maintenance Dependant
The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.