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?
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.