Thinking about building or re-doing a deck? The first thing you must do is choose what material to use.
In addition to the traditional redwood and cedar products, a number of synthetic decking materials have entered the market in the last 15 years. These materials were pioneered by manufacturers like Trex. Most of the synthetic decks are made of a mixture of PVC and wood fibers. These products have a variety of different warranties and benefits. Synthetic decks tend to be less of a hassle and have a longer life span than wood although they also tend to be around 50% more in price. Synthetic decks have to be cleaned and maintained, and when in direct sunlight, they will get fairly hot and fade. Some brands have had failure problems. Choose one that is aesthetically pleasing and has a good warranty.
For traditional redwood and cedar decks, they need to be stained every other year for maintenance.
There are a variety of different railing systems to choose from and all have benefits and downfalls. Four common types are glass, wood pickets, wire mesh, and synthetic railing systems.