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Home maintenance: the repairs and replacements you’ll face after five, 10, 20 and 30 years

To keep your home in check – and prevent everything breaking at once – here’s what the experts suggest you do

They say bad luck comes in threes, and this certainly seems true when it comes to items breaking around the house, as no sooner does the washing machine go on the blink, than a curtain rail falls down, or the heating stops working.

But this is all par for the course, and in fact, when it comes to home maintenance, things are more likely to happen in fours and fives, because when a house reaches a certain age, everything seems to go at once.

However, as with all things in life, preparation is key – both to help minimise the damage, and to know what to do when the time comes to replace or repair your household essentials.

David Hegarty of Premier Irish Homes, which has offices in Navan, Galway and Dublin, says that the frequency of servicing for appliances such as heaters and boilers depends on the type, age, usage patterns and manufacturer recommendations.


“As a general guideline, it is recommended to have heating appliances such as boilers and water heaters serviced annually as this helps ensure it is operating efficiently and safely – but always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals specific to your appliance,” he says.

“In addition to annual servicing, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspection if you notice any unusual sounds, odours, or performance issues with your heating appliance. Prompt attention to these issues can help prevent more significant problems and ensure the continued safety and efficiency of the appliance.

“Then in between professional servicing, there are some maintenance tasks – such as changing air filters, keeping vents and exhaust outlets clear of obstruction and checking for signs of leaks or corrosion – which you can perform to help keep your heating appliances in good condition. And if you have gas-powered heating appliances, it’s especially important to prioritise safety by having them inspected and serviced by an RGI-qualified technician.”

Indeed, John Kinsella of JK Home Improvements, says although he and his team are fully equipped to deal with any form of renovation, improvement or repair, homeowners can help keep their property in good shape, by keeping on top of all those odd jobs that we just can’t help but put on the long finger.

“It’s up to them to keep up maintenance on both the building and the contents by painting and decorating every two to four years, servicing the boiler every year and replacing things like the washing machine every four to six years,” he says. “The lifespan of most doors and windows is 15 to 20 years, while bathrooms should be renovated every seven to eight years. And I would recommend having roof and gutters checked at least once a year to keep bigger problems from happening in the future.”

The Dublin-based expert says although your home will still “pop up some surprises” every now and then, it is likely that flooring may cause issues in the first 10 years, even though it might have a 25- to 30-year guarantee.

“This will not last that amount of time and might need sanding and sealing if ‘solid’ or ‘semi-solid’ or changing if it is laminate flooring,” he says. “Appliances will start breaking down after about five years, depending on servicing and maintenance, and the fridge is normally the first to go.

“After the 20-year mark you will be looking at the cost of replacing the gas boiler/oil boiler/heat pump and the windows and doors will now have to be replaced. Then by 30 years, you are now looking at bigger expenses such as rewiring and replumbing, and probably a new roof overhaul.

“But if you stay on top of some things, you can keep the bigger cost down over time by doing general repairs.”

Hegarty agrees and says some of the most common issues that need addressing over time include: plumbing fixtures, heating systems, deteriorating roofing materials, kitchen appliances, electrical systems, windows and doors, flooring, paint and finishes, foundation and structural issues and exterior maintenance.

“These are just a few examples of the types of issues that homeowners may encounter as their homes age,” he says. “But regular maintenance, inspections and timely repairs can help mitigate these issues and keep the home in good condition over the years.”

Karl Bradshaw, of House2Home, says that “windows are a great example of this”.

“They typically need to be serviced every 15 years and while this is inexpensive, it can have a large impact,” he says. “There are also a number of appliances which we would recommend servicing yearly to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency – heat pumps and gas or oil boilers fall into this category. You should also service thermal panels every 12 months – and once a year you should have the flue of your stove inspected.

“Really, we recommend preventive maintenance. If you service your appliances regularly they will last longer and operate more efficiently over their lifetime – and you should keep a logbook for each appliance detailing services, repairs, new parts, etc.

“Also, it’s worth noting that there are excellent grants available for upgrading your home energy upgrades administered by the SEAI.”

“It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and the lifespan of specific components, can vary widely based on factors such as quality, usage and maintenance,” he says. “But regular inspections and maintenance can help identify issues early and prolong the lifespan of various systems and components in a home.

“These include, regular cleaning of appliances, replacing filters, checking for leaks, adjusting settings to ensure appliance are set to appropriate temperature and operating modes, inspecting and lubricating moving parts, scheduling professional maintenance and following manufacturer’s guidelines.

“By incorporating these maintenance practices into your routine, you can help keep your appliances running smoothly, extend their lifespan, and minimise the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns or repairs,” he says. “Additionally, proactive maintenance can improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs over time.”

The lifespan of your home

David Hegarty of Premier Irish Homes, which offers a nationwide service, says the lifespan of various components in a home can vary depending on factors such as the quality of materials, level of usage, climate and maintenance. A rough guide is as follows:

Within five to 10 years:

  • Appliances: Some appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines may start to show signs of wear or require repairs after five to 10 years of use.
  • Plumbing fixtures: Leaking taps, clogged drains and toilet issues may become more common as plumbing fixtures age.

Around 15-20 years:

  • Roofing: Depending on the type of roofing material and exposure to weather conditions, roofs may start to show signs of wear, such as damaged tiles or leaks, around the 15- to 20-year mark.
  • Windows and doors: Seals around windows and doors may deteriorate over time, leading to drafts, air leaks, or difficulty opening and closing.

Around 20-30 years:

  • Flooring: Depending on the type of flooring material and level of foot traffic, flooring may begin to show signs of wear or damage and may require repair or replacement.
  • Exterior maintenance: Paint and other exterior components may need to be repaired or replaced after 20-30 years of exposure to the elements.

30 years and beyond:

  • Structural issues: While many structural components of a home can last much longer with proper maintenance, issues such as foundation cracks or settlement may become more common after 30 years or more.
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