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I just had the cabinets and countertops in my kitchen replaced. The new stuff doesn't quite line up with the old tile. The drywall behind it is pretty old and torn up, and the gaps between the tile and countertops/cabinet are only about 1", so I'm planning on tearing it out, putting in new drywall, and tiling over it.

Below is a picture of my microwave and a box of Cheerios -- and the wall/countertops/cabinets. :)

My question is: is it OK to leave a small seam in the drywall right where the cabinet/countertops meet the wall? I don't see how I can mud over the seam since it means I would need to mud under the cabinets/countertops. Can I just caulk the seam, or will the tile grout be sufficient?

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Thank you!

  • You say the drywall is old and torn up. Any possibility you can mud and tape repair it? It would probably be stronger than ripping it out and adding a 1" strip of drywall around the room. – JACK Aug 16 at 20:50
  • I was under the impression that the old tile was coming out. Robert, please revise to clarify that point. – isherwood Aug 16 at 20:51
  • Sorry, to clarify, I'm planning on taking out all the existing tile, tearing out the drywall between the countertop and cabinets, and replacing it. So the drywall will be screwed to studs. It's about 18" between the countertops and cabinets. – RobertAKARobin Aug 16 at 23:32
  • You might want to try prying a few tiles off. You might get lucky and they'll peel off with little damage in which case you can patch the wall where needed. – Platinum Goose Aug 19 at 15:26
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An untaped (unsupported) joint is an opportunity for more flex than you want in a tiled wall. I'd definitely try to bond the new and old drywall as well as possible.

Unfortunately the best time to replace the drywall was while the cabinets were out, when you could have cut the drywall up above the lower cabinet line and buried it. Now, I'd probably either cut right at the top of the tile or try to remove a row of full tiles and come down a few inches lower. In either case you should be able to tape the joint with fiberglass mesh embedded in a skim coat of tile mortar.

The alternative would be to put in framing blocking behind the entire top edge of the new drywall, or to use something more robust, such as cement board. Just don't leave it to floating drywall and the tile itself to prevent flex, and therefore cracked tile and grout.

  • I've clarified my question. Thank you. – RobertAKARobin Aug 16 at 23:33
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Preparing this surface for tile should have been done while the cabinets were out, and honestly, should still be done with the cabinets out.

It would take much longer, possibly damaging the new cabinets/counter top, and most definitely look awful, to do with them in place.

If you later change your mind about the tile, it's still a nice painted wall, where a backsplash/tile can go.

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