Most of our decks are constructed using 2 by 10 pressure treated joists hung with joist hangers one foot on center. We especially use one foot on center for all composite decks such as Trex or Azek as longer spans can result in flexing of the flooring. We use 6 by 6 Pressure treated posts on concrete footings mounted to a Simpson Strong tie 6 by 6 base. All decks use one half inch Anchor bolts to support posts and to bolt the deck to the house. Step stringers are 2 by 12 pressure treated for added strength.
Handrails come in a variety of styles. Cedar is much more attractive than pressure treated. Handrails can be composite, aluminum or stainless steel cables.
There has been significant strengthening of building codes for outdoor decks in recent years. Most decks we replace are older and not well constructed. Our new decks are extremely sturdy, code compliant and aesthetically pleasing. Much of the deck is constructed with screws where visible for a better appearance. If you look at the composite deck photos you will see no screws or nails. It takes more work to do this but it makes the deck stronger, more and attractive with no splinters.