I'm replacing the dry wall in our kitchen and then adding a tile backsplash. What is best practice in terms of taping the seam that is right up against the cabinet base/top?

Should I add horizontal nailers for support behind the drywall? ( I can do this in some cases but in others there is plumbing and or ducts work in the way.)

Basically I'm getting conflicting feedback on whether or not I need a horizontal nailer. On reddit, I hear yes, but this guy uses nothing.

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  • Nailer's are not needed but would not hurt. You can not tape and mud a seam that is not accessible I.E. is covered by a cabinet. Remove the cabinets, tape, mud, sand smooth, paint. Reinstall cabinets.
    – Alaska Man
    May 26, 2020 at 20:02
  • I'm not sure I follow. You say nailers are not needed but then go on to say I should remove the cabinets? May 26, 2020 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


It's unfortunate that you didn't leave a bit of drywall below the cabinet. If you had, you could then either tape the new to the existing or float backing behind the joint, screwing through the upper and lower panels.

As it is, this is entirely a matter of opinion. Do you need backing? No. Your wall will not fall apart without it. However, it'll be much less rigid at the top edge, potentially allowing for problems with your tile. Movement cracks grout (and potentially the tile itself). If anything presses firmly or bumps between studs, damage could occur.

So the question becomes about how can you put backing in there without undue destruction of your vapor barrier and degradation of your insulation, should you deem it important. I don't have any brilliant ideas aside from toenailing one-by lumber in place behind the poly.

You could also use a rigid enough backer to avoid the whole issue. 5/8" plywood or 1/2" cement board might do the job.

  • Hmm. Thanks. I was thinking that a cement backboard might do the trick here. May 26, 2020 at 20:18
  • 1
    I agree. You'll be putting a lot of force installing tile, grouting and cleaning it. Also remember to extend the electrical boxes or you'll need box extenders (don't ask how I know this). The cement board is a great idea.+
    – JACK
    May 26, 2020 at 20:20
  • Tile was here before so they should be about right! Will double check depth however! May 26, 2020 at 20:22
  • Also, @isherwood, is hardibacker as stiff as something like durorock? May 26, 2020 at 20:43
  • I've never used Hardibacker for my tile projects, so I can't say.
    – isherwood
    May 27, 2020 at 13:00

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