Does anyone have a recommendation on the type of decking material (natural or man-made) I should use to replace my now deteriorating deck? I built the deck 6-7 years ago and have only treated it with water seal a couple of times. I am sure I bought either #2 or #3 grade lumber. It is cracking and splintering something awful. I would prefer a material that would take a semi-transparent stain to match cedar fencing in my yard but realize that may limits my options. Would I get a much greater life using a #1 grade? I live in Central Illinois.
Also, any ideas on where to find different designs for deck railings? Seems like all I ever come across are either turned spindles or 2" x 2". I would appreciate any advice.