All of the standard exterior wall structural materials can be expected to last for the life of the house, 100+ years. The life of wood wall framing, however, can be shortened by wood rot due to moisture instrusion in the wall, or termites and wood boring beetles. Go to our blog posts How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage? and Where are the most common places to find wood rot on a house? for more on this.
Also, reinforcing steel in the concrete tie beam and columns of a concrete block house or the entire wall of a concrete house can cause deep cracks in the wall, and eventually even chunks of the wall to fall out, if moisture is allowed to reach the steel and cause it to corrode. To learn more, see What is concrete spalling?. Maintaining a weatherproof surface of the wall and caulking any minor cracks as they arise will stop this potential problem.
Click on any one of the wall structural types below for more info on that material:
Brick - 100+ years
Concrete (monlithic) - 100+ years
Concrete Block - 100+ years
ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) - 100+ years
Natural Stone - 100 + years
Wood Stud Frame - 100+ years
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
• What is the average lifespan of a house foundation?
• What causes vertical cracks in fiber cement siding planks?
• What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling?
• What is the difference between soil subsidence, heave, creep, and settlement?
• How much ventilation is required for the under-floor crawl space of a home?
• What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?
• What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall?
• How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem?
• What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder?
• What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?
• Should I buy a house with a crawl space?
• Why is my stucco cracking?
• There's cracks running along the home's concrete tie beam. What's wrong?
• What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out?
• How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?
• What is engineered wood siding?
• Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair?
• What is a "continuous load path”?
• Should I buy a house with asbestos siding?
• How can I tell if cracks in the garage floor are a problem or not?
• What do you look for when inspecting vinyl siding?
• Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding?
• Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael?
• How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?
• Should I buy a house with structural problems?
• What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?
• What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?
• How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?
• What are the common problems of different types of house foundations?
• What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?
• How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?
Visit our EXTERIOR WALLS AND STRUCTURE and LIFE EXPECTANCY pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.