Pergola Post Options
Man, I had this all typed out last night and I don't know what happened to my post- operator error no doubt!
Anyway, I am building a 14' x 14' pergola. Dh will help but it isn't a big priority to him (until I actually start on it- then he'll come help because he won't want me to do it wrong, LOL! He's such a perfectionist, but I digress). I have the plan worked out for the upper structure and know what I'm doing there but I wanted to get some opinions on the post possibilities. Oh- the upper structure will be made with Southern Yellow Pine. I got an awesome deal on it as it was leftover from a local project (outdoor playground). It's not like regular pine, much denser and rated for outdoor use.
So, for the size of the pergola, I think 6 x 6 posts would be best for strength as well as visual weight. The big dilemma is whether to cement them in (30" is depth of frost line here) or use shorter posts on stirrups, U-brackets or whatever the official name is. I'd like to cement them in because then I could hang a swing or two off the ends with the double sandwich 2x10's. I couldn't do that if we did the U-brackets. However, in-ground would shorten the lifespan of the structure. U-brackets would be okay but I just worry if they are really strong enough?
WWYD? Are there other options? Metal posts covered with boxed columns? Fiberglass columns (probably too expensive)? Would metal corrode over time if in ground too? Where would I even buy such posts? Ideas/ recommendations please! TIA!