I'm in the process of rebuilding an old deck and will be ready for decking lumber very soon. The deck is 16' X 20' with the 20' dimension running parallel to the house, as the joists run perpendicular to it. There will be two (possibly 3) steps of the same length that go out to the yard. These aren't going to be typical steps built with stringers, but rather more along the lines of two rectangular platforms approximately 20' X 12" stacked one on top of the other thereby creating open steps. The ends where the deck meets the steps will be angled out as well with railings only on the sides of the deck and the angled portion of the steps. Seeing as the deck height is in the range of around 20" + or -, the idea is to have the steps spill out into the yard.
With that in mind, I'm trying to determine the most effective size decking to buy. Unless I've miscalculated, I believe that I'm looking for 320 sq. ft. of decking for the deck itself with another 40 sq. ft. for both steps combined. Add in some waste etc., so I've been looking at 400 sq. ft. in total.
Ideally, I could buy 20' long deck boards in either 1 X 4" or 1 X 6" and cover the entire area without having any butt joints. However, due to both transportation issues and the higher cost of 20' long boards, it seems more likely that I should go with shorter length boards. The question being, what's the best length boards to use? Is there some way to calculate this? I realize that there are all kinds of options with regard to the length of the boards as long as they cover the area in question. For example, if I used 10' long boards, then I would have to stagger the seams somewhat similar to how hardwood flooring is done. I'm just trying to learn the best way to go about doing so.
On a similar note, I've been contemplating using hidden deck fasteners. The ones that I've seen that screw in from the top don't interest me. Most of them drive the screw in at an angle or require either slotted decking or the use of a tool to create the slot. That leaves me wondering how one would go about replacing a deck board should the need arise? I suppose that top driven screws and plugs would do the job in that case without too much cosmetic difference. Then there are the undermount track type. Any feedback on either style would be appreciated.
BTW, I'm also planning on using the Grace Vycor deck protector product. The problem that I've encountered is that most of the places that I've checked either don't carry it or only carry the 9" size. Mail order adds too much shipping to the cost. Does anyone have a source for it in CT?
Thanks in advance for reading this and to those who post a reply to the group.