Here's my project: homeowners (friends) want a 12x28' patio with a pergola--this will be bounded by the house, an existing slab on a 12' side, and the concrete skirt around the pool. Originally we were going to pour concrete and lay flagstone, which meant I was going to form out some reinforced pyramidal concrete footings with 6x6 posts atop them. Somewhere along the way they saw two different types (and thicknesses!)of pavers that they want instead of concrete and flagstone (actually cheaper and easier, except for my footings...)
So here is my question: I have four 10' 6x6 posts that need to be set so that the top of the ZMax connectors is going to be flush with the pavers. Do I need to set my posts, plumb and brace them and tie them with the beam before I get started on the pavers? Should I build the whole pergola before laying the pavers? Home Depot was selling the ZMax connectors with a large bolt not a j-bolt--I've used straps, hurricane ties, and the like building and repairing docks, piers, decks, etc. in hurricane prone areas, always off of well-point pilings, which are seldom square and plumb (we do need high school geometry!) I have about two feet to play with on the 6x's (bought 10' need 8')--the beam will be notched and bolted at the top (2"x8"). The ground is hard red Georgia clay and the treated posts with ground contact that I had to move or dig up had all decayed in their footings or were riddled with termites, which is why I thought I'd give these brackets a go.
Do I need to take the bolts back and get j-bolts? Do I need to drill holes in the bottom of me 6x6's to accomodate the top of the bolt, or does it solely tie the plate? Is it going to be better to cast the bolt into the wet mud, or to drill out the footing and use some sort of ?
Any recommendations on sequence and hot tips would be so great. I don't want to have to un-do anything we do because I haven't done exactly this before.