Repairs and Remodels Guide:
A lifespan chart for your homes major components
You know you want and need to Repair and Remodel, but where do you start? Knowing the life-spans of your homes components will help greatly in creating and prioritizing your budget and goals list to accomplish exactly what you want.
Roofs, especially along the front range, will only have an average lifespan of around seven to ten years. Hail and wind are very destructive forces in Colorado and considerably wear on the life of roofs. Check with your insurance company to make sure what the rules are regarding roofs and, remember, do not abuse the insurance company. They may insist that you will not be penalized for making claims, but do not put this to the test. In an effort to keep costs down, you may find yourself paying for roof repairs out of pocket, and you will need to budget for that. When you do your home inspection it should be in your top few categories of importance.
Paint Exterior and Interior
Paint is important but often the most forgotten. Both inside and out. The Colorado sun will bake the exterior paint and it will rapidly become faded. Hail will chip it away and melting snow literally dissolves the paint from the structure. Plan on painting the exterior at least every seven years.
And, if you do anything to an interior room, such as replacing the carpet, make painting a part of the plan as well.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
10 to 20 years
Kitchen and baths are the most used and abused rooms of the house. Water and food prep age the rooms considerably. They are also the most expensive rooms to remodel. They become dated and shabby. They are also the rooms that sell a house when you decide to finally sell. They will be the rooms that make the deciding factor for a buyer, so try not to cheapen out. If your kitchen or baths are at, or nearing, the end of their life-spans, or if the previous owners cheapened out when they remodeled, plan on a remodel of those rooms so you can enjoy them.
5-10 years, dependent on animals
Carpet is warm and it makes the house cozy and quiet. And, the minute the decision is made to pull it up to replace it, is the minute many lose their love affair. The dirt and the stains that are trapped in the carpet fibers can be tremendous. Many times homeowners will opt for a laminate or other hard surface with throw rugs.
Hardwood Flooring Refinishing
There are numerous opinions about what is better, Oil based, or water based sealant. Oil based is more durable and lasts longer. But, it is also very smelly and forces you to evacuate the home for days. Water based is easier to apply without the fumes, but does not have the life span of its oil based counterpart. The ease of application is the main selling point most flooring specialists will focus on as they promote the water based over the oil. But, as always, you get what you pay for.
Pets may be one of the biggest destructive forces in a home, but water takes first prize. If you do not control the water around your property, it will do damage. Grading (which is the ground slope around your home) seeks to find a level and you will have to maintain it. Make sure there is adequate slope away from house while at once making sure that the grading (ground) does not reach the level of the siding. If you live next to a hill, make sure you have, maintain, or create a path for water to travel around the home. The importance of water control around your property cannot be stressed enough.
The age of the house can help determine the extent of sewer maintenance. Every house should have a sewer scope, especially if the house is older than 1990. Sewer line replacement is not what I call fun money. An older home will (many times) have older sewer lines, older floral growth, and the closer you are to the mountains, plenty of movement. Find out before you buy what the pipe looks like under the ground.
Deck and fence replacement
1-3 years | 15 -20 years
Another item most often forgotten are the condition of decks and fences. Staining, or otherwise waterproofing the exterior wood goes a long way to extending wood life. This should be maintained every year as needed. Once you pay to have either one replaced, your memory on their maintenance and upkeep will improve dramatically.
The most worrisome appliance in the home is usually the least troublesome. Yes, it is true that furnaces can be a dangerous appliance. And, we become terrified at the horror stories that are sold to us. But these stories often surround furnaces that were most likely very old units, never maintained, forgotten in a closet and surrounded by stored items that didn’t allow the unit to breathe. These furnaces were also never evaluated or serviced by an HVAC contractor. If the units are at, or past their life-spans, plan on replacement as a proactive measure.
Important: A furnace should be serviced annually by an HVAC contractor. This should be part of your seasonal checklist.
15 – 20 years
Although, not a hard and fast rule, water heaters will, at times, fail by emptying the entire amount of water they contain onto your basement floor. And, if the unit is located in a crawlspace, you may not even realize it for hours as hundreds of gallons of water are pumped underneath your house. If there is any appliance you want to be proactive in replacement, water heaters are them. If your water heater is in, or nearing, that 15 to 20 year age range, or if you see rust anywhere around the body or inside the firebox, plan and budget for a new one.
Caulk tubs, windows, and concrete
Caulk refreshment around the perimeter of your tubs, the exterior windows and sealing gaps, cracks and holes in the concrete drives and walks, will need to be done or at least checked every year. This should be a springtime maintenance item, religiously. As a home owner, the best thing you can learn how to do is caulk.
See those little bumps and contours on the wall? That is texture. As the house ages, painting will only go so far in re-freshening a room. Poor wall repairs, smoke and water damage or perhaps you have popcorn ceilings that date the home.etc. You will want to re-texture at some point to really make those walls come back to life.
15 – 20 years
Windows can be some of the most troubling components of a home. They can look and even operate very nicely, but if they are more than 15 years old, they are statistically past their lifespan. Older, wood, counter-weighted windows from the turn of the century, even if operating correctly, are drafty and inefficient. Awesome for the early 1900’s but this is the 21st century and windows are so much better.
Even the most expensive window for their time can last longer than 15 years. And, there can be a certain amount of extra time that can be squeezed out of them, perhaps as much as ten years. But, there are surrounding components that should be considered. Windows are a hole in the side of the home and even though you may not see it, framing, siding and other surrounding components have been affected by weather extremes. As a general rule of thumb, if the windows are more than 15 years old, plan on replacement.
A new front door brings exciting curb appeal to your home. It not only beautifies your investment, but many times can provide efficiency to your homes heating and cooling. Try not to make your front door a standard utility model either, spend the money for something attractive. A good front door costs nearly $1,000 at a minimum.
Other Maintenance items.
You will be right in the middle of a summertime or winter project and you will have to take a break to repair something. The disposal just went out, the fridge just sprung a leak or the wind just tore a chunk of siding away. Repairs are an ongoing reactive fact of life and you will need to maintain a budget for their repair.
Keep all of these life-spans for components in the back of your mind as you shop for homes and even throughout the inspection process. A home inspector may report the condition of the components as satisfactory at time of inspection, but the lifespan chart will help with realistic expectations.