Q: I listen to you show on Saturdays and we are in the process of redoing our outside deck. The current deck is “wood” and has been up since the house was built 21 yrs ago. We would like to replace the deck and at the same time expand the size and change the location of the stairs...The materials used would depend on the cost and durability of the product.
A: Premium decking materials (composite such as Timbertech) or PVC decking (such as Azek) are 3-4 times the cost of regular treated 5/4 x 6 decking. Where they excel is with the hidden fastener systems available to them. As the name suggests you never see rows of nails or screws. I like the Coretex fastener system used with Azek or Timbertech's proprietary fastener system is cool but more labor intensive.
If you want to hop up just one level from the treated I like cedar but it needs to be maintained. Cabot is my favorite deck stain and I want to see you stain it right away. The longer one waits to coat it the first time inversely affects the length the stain will hold up. Stay away from paraffin sealers like "Thompson Water Seal". Okay, Rymar stain I like even more than Cabot but it's about $50/gallon.