Brent Poole

Home Improvements


It’s a beautiful morning, sitting on the deck with my morning coffee, looking around at my surroundings, the deck needs a little work I think to myself. Many questions you may also have pertaining to your deck were racing through my mind. 

Do I need a permit to build a deck in Manitoba?

  • Yes, without a doubt, a permit is required! Decks require a development permit as per the Winnipeg Zoning By-law. Decks are defined as structures with a total area of more than 3.4 m2 (36 sq. ft.) located in the back or side yard that are more than 600 mm (2'-0”) above ground level.

What happens if you build a deck without a permit in Manitoba?

  • No matter if you complete the work yourself or pay a contractor, any work carried out without a building permit may not meet the minimum building code requirements and could result in substandard construction. Nobody wants this because it could lead to major repairs to correct the problem. Work that does not comply with the building code will require removal.

Would it be cheaper to build my own deck?

  • Building your own deck will cost half the price that it would cost if you hire a contractor. As with any ‘Do It Yourself’ project, you're only paying for materials and your own time. But the cost of materials varies widely based on the deck you choose and the shape and size of the deck.

Why is building a deck so expensive?

  • Why are decks so expensive? Labour, building materials, and extra fees like removal, permits, and demolition, all add up to create a price that maybe you did not expect. Set the right budget for the job.

Can you build a deck yourself?

  • Building your own deck is a great way of transforming an outdoor area into a space perfect for entertainment. Believe it or not, it is not as hard as it seems. All you need is lumber, some materials, and the right tools for the job. Planning the size and getting your hands dirty is all part of the fun. 

What is the cheapest way to build a deck?

  • Pressure-treated wood is generally the cheapest material to build decks from. For up-front savings, that seems great, but don't forget long-term costs. Wood decks require annual maintenance such as staining, and they'll often break down quite quickly if you fall behind on maintenance. A useful tip is to never apply paint to a deck. It may look clean and pretty but if water gets under the paint it leads to rotting boards very quickly. 

How much is labor to build a deck?

  • The labor cost to build a deck runs, on average, between $15 – $35 per square foot. Deck materials that are easier to install, like cedar or treated lumber, are cheaper.

What is the average price of a deck?

  • The average deck in Winnipeg costs are as follows: 
    • Treated wooden decks - $36 - $50 per ft2. 
    • Cedar decks - $40 - $57 per ft
    • Composite decks - $66 - $77 per ft2
    • PVC decks - $69 - $87 per ft2

Does a deck need to slope away from house?

  • When building your deck, always be sure to slope it away from your home to keep any foundation issues from arising. Nobody wants water draining toward the house. Once your deck is properly built and sloped, you're ready to apply a waterproofing system. Depending on the kinds of materials you used in building your deck, your waterproofing could vary.

What is a floating deck?

  • A floating deck, also known as a ground level or freestanding deck, is a deck that is not attached to any building or structure. It is a standalone structure that is built on top of the ground and is not anchored into the ground like a traditional deck.

Do I need gravel under my floating deck?

  • Floating decks can be set directly on the ground or, preferably, a bed of gravel. But it's best to support the deck on concrete blocks. This keeps the wood off the ground and away from moisture, so the wood lasts longer.

Do you need air flow under a deck?

  • This is why proper deck ventilation becomes essential. There should be a good flow of air across all the four sides so that the wood can move evenly. If there is a restriction of airflow even on just one side, the board or boards will contract or expand unevenly. This will then lead to a twisting, warping, and buckling deck.

Do decks add value?

  • According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, a deck addition is a top 10 outdoor home improvement. A wooden deck, which will cost on average about $16,766 will recoup about 68 percent of its value, and a composite deck, which will cost about $22,426, will recoup about 63 percent should you sell your home.

Deck building can be incredibly rewarding, both the process of constructing it to the finished product. A beautiful, well designed deck can expand your living area in all seasons, bring family and friends together, and provide the ever-warranted hang-out space where you simply take in the glory of the outdoor world ,like me, and enjoy your morning coffee.

Too many homeowners make deck-building mistakes that can ruin their enjoyment or, God forbid, compromise their safety. Don’t fall foul to the many pitfalls that plague homeowners building decks. If you are confident in your ability, go for it, if not, connect with your local contractor.

Brent Poole is the owner operator of Handy Hands Construction, which he has run with his father Jim since 1997. A carpenter by trade, Brent enjoys all types of projects. “We’re not happy until you are happy!”