The award-winning deck builder offers tips for outdoor living

Mike Corvino has been transforming backyards across South Jersey into beautiful living spaces for 28 years. Recently, Corvino, owner of DeckCrafters in Cherry Hill, submitted one of his projects to Timber Tech’s national Show Off Your Deck competition and won second place.

“We feel damn good when we come in second place,” said Corvino. “It’s calming and gives us more confidence.”

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The entrance photos showed a deck that Corvino and his crew had built in Mount Laurel. They used composite products with Timber Tech cap from the Legacy collection in tigerwood and mocha colors to protect the deck from falling leaves and Mother Nature. They used black rails to complement the opaque colors and installed a remote-controlled lighting system for ambience and safety.

The winning deck design is also multi-tiered and multifunctional. The upper deck is adjacent to the kitchen and has a BBQ and cooking area, as well as seating for an alfresco family dinner or a small group of people. Go down the wide, flare-style stairs to the lower level, which is the main entertainment area.

Corvino’s 12 year old son-in-law and business partner Luke Stewart helped complete this deck and is excited about the results of the competition.

“It feels pretty good to come in second in a nationally recognized competition,” said Cherry Hill’s Stewart. “We are very happy.”

Approximately 100 photos were included in the Show Off Your Deck competition, and after reviewing each entry, CPG International Marketing Director Julia Fitzgerald and her team narrowed down the submissions to four finalists. The work of the four finalists was published on social media and rated by everyone who viewed them.

“We wanted to hold the competition to showcase these wonderful decks,” says Fitzgerald. “Contractors are making amazing changes and should be proud of what they do.”

First and second place winners can celebrate $ 500 for first place and $ 250 for second place with a gift certificate from Frontage, a supplier of outdoor furniture. Winning deck builders receive a tool certificate and equipment for their crew. As a bonus, the customer of the victorious contractor also receives a Frontage gift card.

Joshua Gillow, owner of MasterPLAN Landscaping in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, won first place.

“Mike made a great impression on the yard, homeowners can enjoy the deck so much,” says Fitzgerald of the DeckCrafters’ design. “The different levels work well and it flows well from the back of your house.”

According to Fitzgerald, when choosing the finalists for the competition, her team looked at the materials used, interest in the railing system, lighting and general creativity. Homeowners can also keep these points in mind when considering building a deck in their yards. Here are some favorite trends to consider when planning a deck for this summer.

An aerial view of a DeckCrafters deck shows the amount of space homeowners have for grilling, dining, and entertaining.

Style that lasts: “Wood has become yoke,” says Corvino. “In the beginning I only built cedar decks, but now people want PVC or composite decks.”

According to Corvino, these materials require much less maintenance than wood and they are light, stain, crack, mold and mold resistant. This makes the deck extremely durable, even when fighting outside elements.

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“After 10 or 15 years, the deck will still look like it did on the first day,” says Corvino. “It doesn’t age. You can spill a glass of red wine on it and just hose it off. “

Covered composite and PVC terrace materials are more expensive than wood, but Corvino says homeowners will get a return on this investment.

“You don’t have to dye it, force wash it, or store it like a real wooden deck,” says Corvino. “It saves time and money.”

Beyond basic brown: When wood has turned into yoke, it also has its basic brown tones. Fitzgerald says she is seeing more homeowners stepping over wood tones to find colors that go with their homes and yards.

“A lot of people choose gray colors when building decks,” says Fitzgerald. “They’re becoming more confident about using colors that look good with their overall outdoor scheme.”

And just like Corvino with its award-winning deck creation, more and more people are choosing multiple materials instead of just one to give the decks a unique, more complex design.

“Not only do many choose more color for decks, they also choose a variety of materials,” says Fitzgerald. “You create decks with designs, patterns, and borders.”

If you enjoy entertaining in the summer, a deck to dine al fresco with friends can become your favorite part of the house.

Light it up: Lighting issues are also becoming a priority for homeowners, says Stewart.

“A good lighting system makes it easier to enjoy the deck at night and provides security – guests can see better where the steps are,” he says. “And the lighting also gives the decks a ‘cool’ factor. It looks better and impresses society with throwing an evening party. “

Corvino says not many of his customers wanted lighting options when he was building his business, but now most are asking for ideas to brighten up their decks at night. He says some choose to light steps and he recently installed recessed lights under the rails of a deck.

“The recessed lights under the rails underline the rail system,” says Corvino. “It doesn’t shine in anyone’s face, but it draws attention to the characteristics of a deck and adds ambience.”

Retro railing: “You used to see white railings on decks, but now people branch out and use different colors,” says Fitzgerald. “Another popular look is cable railings. It gives decks a cool retro look from the 50s. “

Another popular railing system, Corvino said, is Timber Tech’s capped composite radiation rail.

“We used it on the deck we participated in and it’s growing in popularity,” he says. “With this material, people can bring their style to the deck as it comes in a variety of colors and grains.”

Cool combinations: Corvino says he’s building more decks that have steps that lead to a patio and other hardscaping options.

“Such designs give homeowners additional outdoor living space,” he says. “The deck and the landscape offer different atmospheres so that people can enjoy the best of both worlds.”

Stewart agrees, saying he’s seen more combinations and multi-purpose decks too.

“Everyone is more interested in staying, especially since the recession,” says Stewart. “You want to create functional spaces outdoors. When they go out on the deck, they want a place to grill, another place to eat, and then a comfortable area to sit back and relax with family and friends. “

For more informations

DeckCrafters is located in Cherry Hill. For more information, call (856) 488-4387 or

For more information on materials or decking ideas, please visit or

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