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man fixiin water tank - Maintenance costs for your rental properties

Maintenance costs for rental properties

Nothing lasts forever, everything has a life expectancy, and it’s a fact of life that there are maintenance costs for rental properties.

Property owners who became reluctant landlords were often miffed that a year after tenants moved into their 10-year-old house, the toilet or faucets needed replacing or that their 40-year-old furnace required servicing.

I got into the habit of explaining the life expectancy of home components. It helped property owners understand that all home components all have a life expectancy and need replacing or maintenance at a cost over time. 

Knowing the lifespan of your home components will help you budget for operational and capital costs and keep you in control of your maintenance expenses.

Life Expectancy of home components


13- 15 years 

• Gas Ranges 

• Electric Ranges 

• Dryers and refrigerators

9- 12 years 

• Washing Machine

• Dishwashers 

• Microwave ovens 

• Compactors


• Kitchen Cabinets – up to 50 years, but update with style changes

• Stone Countertops – lifetime

• Laminate Countertops – 10 years 


• Lino – 20 to 40 years

• Vinyl – 10 to 20 years

• Cork – 25 years

• Hardwood –lasts a lifetimebut it may need recoating or refinishing

• Engineered wood – 50 years

• Bamboo – 20-50 years

• Laminate – 10 to 30 years

• Carpet – 10 years

Stone – porous, subject to chipping and breakage. Requires resealing every few years

Glazed Tile flooring – up to 50 years but susceptible to breakage

Unglazed tile flooring – up to 50 years but susceptible to breakage and requires resealing

Polished Concrete– lifetime

Interior Walls

  • Brick – Lifetime
  • Ceramic Tile – Lifetime
  • Drywall – 30 to 70 years
  • Plaster – 30 to 70 years
  • Wood Paneling – 25 to 30 years
  • Stucco – 60 to 80 years
  • Wallpaper – 10 to 15 years


  • Toilet – 13 years
  • Bathtub – 20 years, require replacement or refinishing
  • Whirlpool tub – 20-50 years
  • Shower Enclosure – 50 years
  • Sink – stainless steel, lifetime
  • Porcelain 25-30 years. Can be refinished
  • Acrylic – 50 years
  • Faucets – 15 years
  • Gas water heater – 8-12 years
  • Electric water heater – 10-15 years
  • Tankless water heater – 20 years


• Wiring – lifetime

• Accessories and lighting control – 10 years


• Furnace – 15-30 years if properly maintained

• Air conditioner – 15 -20 years

• Heated flooring – 35 years

Siding and Accessories

• 20 years to a lifetime

• Brick – Lifetime

• Vinyl – Lifetime

• Engineered wood – Lifetime

• Gutters – copper – 50 years

o -Aluminum 20 years

• Decks – 20 years

Roof 20-50 years

• Slate – >50 years

• Concrete – >50 years

• Clay/Concrete->50 years

• Wood Shakes – 30 years

• Fiber cement shingles – 25 years

• Asphalt Shingles – 20 years

Tips from the experts

Your dishwasher

• Clean dishwasher with Tang

• Gets rid of gunk and film

• Don’t pre-wash dishes- enzyme digests the dishes

• Make sure dishwasher is level

Your refrigerator

• Cleaning coils extend life by 20 years

• Use coil brush or vacuum on coils

• A full fridge has less air to cool

• Keep vents and seals clean

• Organize fridge to minimize time doors are open

Your oven

• Glass very expensive, look sold fast

• Low-Temperature Safety Burners increases cooking times by 10-15%

• Keep clean. Clean drip pans.

• Use cleaners recommended by the manufacturer

• Ensure the seal on oven seals

• Ensure burners have good contact to a power source

Your dryer

• Clean lint trap

• Ensure that dryer vent is capped

• Ensure the cap is free of lint

• Clean dryer vents once a year

Your washing machine

• Ensure it is level

• Keep clean

• Monitor hoses replace every 5 years

• If possible and safe, let dry by leaving the door open

Your hot water tank

• Check pressure relief valve

• To check valve, open manually, ensure drain outlet is clear

• Check the anode rod

• On a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the off position. On an electric water heater, turn the electricity off to the heater

• Shut the cold water off to the water heater

• Open a hot water faucet

• Connect a hose to the drain valve on the heater and run to a drain

• Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely

• Turn back on the cold water into the water heater

• Allow the water to run through the water heater and out of the drain valve. Do this for approximately five (5) or ten (10) minutes

• Close the drain valve and allow the tank to refill, keeping the hot water faucet open. When water comes out of the faucet, the tank is full

Your furnace

• Change Filters

• Clean ducts every 3-5 years

• Service 1-2 times per year

• Programmable Thermostat

• Good insulation

Your roof

• Keep eavestroughs clear

• Fix problems as soon as they happen

• Inspect annually

• Know material and life expectancy

Your plumbing

• Instruct tenant to turn off external taps

• Ensure tenant knows where main shut off is

• Put water alarms in sensitive areas example; hot water tank

• Know the composition of the plumbing infrastructure

There’s another reason for keeping up with maintenance; insurance companies won’t pay claims for anything that they consider negligence on the landlord’s part. If your property has a dripping kitchen faucet that turns into a black mould issue over time or a leaking roof that causes ceiling and wall damage from erosion, insurance won’t pay. So, it just makes sense to keep your property in good shape.

To keep a lean, mean, clean maintenance operating the machine, create a checklist of operational and capital tasks that you need to perform regularly. For more significant projects (capital expenses) such as replacing a roof, furnace, or hot water tank, schedule a maintenance plan and keep track of all your receipts to claim against your taxes.

Your maintenance plan will keep you on top of any minor issues before they escalate, help with budgeting for operational and capital costs, and will show your tenants you are an active landlord who is always keeping an eye on maintaining a quality property.

Did you like this article? Follow me on Twitter @neldahelpsme and Medium.

Nelda Schulte is a property investor who is passionate about helping investors who self-manage have profitable investment properties through resources and education. If you struggle with the wrong landlord forms, or worse yet, no landlord forms check out Nelda’s 10 Essential Editable Landlord Forms that help you separate the good tenants from the bad and increase your property’s profitability.

What type of maintenance checklist do you use?  I’d love to hear about it.

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