We have contractors working on our kitchen and it's been a bit of a mess. Right now, about 3/4s of the room is drywalled/taped/floated/primed/painted (single coat)... and a small section of wall behind some cabinets and where our stove will be is just bare drywall.

One of the cabinets is a set of drawers but the other is an open-backed cabinet designed to hold a built-in microwave and also has the gas line and connection for the stove.

The area inside the cabinet looks like this:

Image of drywall inside cabinet
click to expand

Will the drywall be harmed by not being treated at all? Is taping, floating, and painting necessary?

My main concern is it soaking up grease/water from the stove.

4 Answers 4


If it's visible it should be finished. If you ever plan to clean it then it should be finished. If it will come in contact with water or grease will land on it then it should be finished. If it's behind a cabinet where you'll never see it then that's pretty common to leave it unfinished.

  • 10
    Having seen some of these 30 years on, I'd prefer (and pay a little more, if this was not part of your specs when the job was bid) getting EVERYTHING taped, mudded and primed, at a minimum. Untreated joints in concealed spaces make for handy vermin access points, among other things. It does not need to be a fancy, flawless job - ugly and functional will do where it does not show - the areas where it will show should be treated as the rest of the walls are.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 1, 2017 at 0:34
  • @Ecnerwal That's one of our big issues... where the gas line comes through, it's not done very neatly. They put it in after the drywall was up so there's a big square around it that's been cut out and replaced but not fitted around the pipe at all. Let me see if I can add an image now that I'm home.
    – Catija
    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:59

Painted No, taped and mudded yes. The cabinet guys usually come in after the drywall people are done, the painters are one of the last to visit because of the danger of scuffing the finish by other workers.

However, by the look of your picture, that cut in the drywall looks like it was done AFTER-THE-FACT. I'm guessing whomever installed the gas line for the stove had to open up the wall to do so, and did a really bad restoration job.

If it's a new home/job, and you are still within your warranty period, I'd get the builder/contractor to fix it. If not, a little polly-filla and a splash of paint would cover it up quick enough if it bothers you.

If there is a good chance of it getting wet or grease splattered, you definitely will want to fill and paint with washable paint as far behind as you can reach with a brush. Further than that probably will not get splattered anyway.

If there is a possibility of a major spill, for example for a dishwasher installation, I would also recommend closing the gaps around the opening using a suitable caulking filler. A leaky dishwasher can cause havoc if left to drip down behind the cabinet for an extended period.

  • +1 - whomever ran that gas line, is responsible for fixing that crappy patch - whether they do it themselves, or pay someone else. It should at the very least, be properly fastened and taped.
    – tahwos
    Mar 2, 2017 at 0:03

It is standard for them to do what you paid them to do. If you paid them to drywall and mud the room then they should do that. Unless they explicitely said that they would skip the behind the cabinet sections, that is their bad for not mentioning it and something that is their issue, not yours. You should tell them to complete the job.

Does it need to be done? I think so. I will say this. First if you want to rearrange a little it isn't much to do some touch up work but tape/mudding fresh in a functional kitchen is a 3 day mess. Also cabinets should lie as flat as possible. You could have a good 1/8" variance with completely untouched drywall to a seam that is taped/mudded/painted.

  • There's no way to tape or mud this after the fact since it's (mostly) behind the cabinets... once the counter is on, there's not really much we can do. The issue with the leveling is understandable but that doesn't really apply for us because the lower half of the wall is drywall but the upper half is bare wood (we're in an older house that actually has wood cladding behind the walls, so we're leaving it bare on one wall of the kitchen).
    – Catija
    Mar 1, 2017 at 6:47
  • 1
    Then why ask the question?
    – DMoore
    Mar 1, 2017 at 7:39
  • Because the counter isn't in yet...
    – Catija
    Mar 1, 2017 at 13:19
  • Would you be happy if the carpet fitter cut round the bookcase, etc? I suspect not.
    – Tim
    Jul 10 at 16:08

I think what everyone is forgetting is that some guys do it like this because adding mud or spackle can play a major role in leveling the cabinets. When the drywall goes us without mud is when its at its best for leveling the cabinets.

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