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I'm flipping a row home. I had two rotting beams that had to be replaced. Because of the way they align with the existing joists, they will extend below the height of the sheetrock. The two ideas I heard were to box it off with sheetrock or box it off with premium wood for aesthetic reasons. I always thought you weren't supposed to attach anything to beams (other than joists). I don't even put wire staples in beams. Is there a correct way of handling this?

  • If the beams can be made presentable (eg using paint varnish stain etc) you could expose them. but if you have a mix of different beam styles that's probably not going to work well. – Jasen Jul 6 at 12:08
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Beams are designed to support “Live Loads” and “Dead Loads”.

All materials that are applied to a beam will make them deflect. If you use material like gypsum board it may crack, because it’s not designed to deflect. If you use wood trim or siding, it won’t crack because it’s made to deflect (somewhat).

If you don’t know the design or the live and dead loads accounted for in the design, I’d use some 3/4” thick wood trim and stain to match other trim in the room.

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  • Good information. With that being said, will there be an issue attaching said wood with 15ga nails? – mreff555 Jul 6 at 0:37
  • No, there would be no problem. A 15 ga. nail is about 2” long and come with “finish” heads. (We recommend nails to be about 2 1/2 times the width of the wood that is to be fastened.) I recommend wood trim, because wood trim is “dry” lumber. If you use “green” lumber it will shrink as it dries and become unsightly. I’d use something in the range of 10% moisture content. – Lee Sam Jul 6 at 0:55

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