Backup thumbnails

Is it necessary to backup the kodi\userdata\thumbnails folder? Also if these files are deleted will they rebuild when needed?

Not necessary, they will be re-downloaded. I would personally never backup the thumbs as they will probably take up considerably more space than the remainder of the backup.

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It is not uncommon to have a gigabyte or more in the thumbnails folder.

If they dont exist, Kodi will try and grab them when the library is updated. I think.

They will be redownloaded as needed, a simple library update will NOT redownload them. There is a utility called that will repopulate and clean the thumbnails directory, search the Kodi forum for it

If you delete .kodi/userdata/thumbnails folder (or backup and restore without it) then also delete .kodi/userdata/Database/Textures13.db

Deleting both should always be safe, your just find thumbnails load slowly for a while (until they get repopulated in the cache). Deleting just the thumbnails is bad, as kodi thinks the files are already cached (as Textures13.db will claim they are), but the cached images will be missing.