Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets offer an affordable and customizable cabinetry option for many homeowners and renters looking to renovate their kitchens or bathrooms. With some handy DIY skills, RTA cabinets can be a budget-friendly alternative to custom cabinetry. However, some people wonder – are RTA cabinets good quality? Here’s an in-depth look at what RTA cabinets are, their pros and cons, and whether they offer good value for money.
What are RTA Cabinets?
RTA cabinets, also known as flat pack or knockdown cabinets, come packaged with all the cabinet parts and hardware needed for assembly. The cabinets are shipped in a flat box to the customer, who then assembles them at home. RTA cabinets can be made from materials like particle board, plywood, or solid wood.
Benefits of RTA Cabinets:
- More affordable than custom cabinetry
- Wide range of styles and finishes
- DIY installation to save on labor costs
- Can be customized with additions like drawers, shelves, and pulls
- Often quicker lead times than custom cabinets
Potential Drawbacks of RTA Cabinets:
- Require assembly (but can be installed by homeowners)
- May use more engineered woods than solid wood
- Limited sizing/layout options compared to full custom
- Can sustain damage if improperly assembled
Are RTA Cabinets Good Quality?
When considering quality, RTA cabinets are generally not equal to the highest-end custom cabinetry, but they offer a much more affordable mid-range alternative. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating RTA cabinet quality:
RTA cabinets can be made from particle board, plywood, solid wood, or a combination. Particle board is cheaper but more susceptible to swelling and damage. Plywood is stronger and more durable. Solid wood offers the highest quality but is generally only seen in higher priced RTA cabinet lines.
Look for cabinets with strong hinges, full-extension drawers, and durable finishes on knobs and pulls. Avoid thin metal hardware that feels flimsy. Strong soft-close hinges and slides are also a sign of good quality.
Check for solid face frames, corner blocks, and framing inside the cabinets for sturdiness. Attached backs are better than removable. Dovetail joinery in drawers signal higher quality than staples or glue.
Thermofoil and laminate finishes are durable and water-resistant. Wood veneers offer an authentic wood look. Painted finishes can chip over time if not properly treated. Stained finishes showcase real wood grains but require more upkeep.
Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) certification ensures standards for structural integrity and durability are met. Look for Testing through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as another sign of quality.
Reading reviews of specific RTA cabinet lines can reveal potential quality issues from real customers regarding ease of assembly, how cabinets hold up over time, customer service, and overall value for money.
Better RTA cabinets should come with at least a 1 year warranty. Multiple year or lifetime warranties offer more protection and show the company stands behind their product quality.
Top Quality RTA Cabinet Brands
Some examples of RTA cabinet brands that offer very good to excellent quality include:
- Canyon Creek Cabinet Company – sturdy solid wood frames and drawer boxes, soft close features, wide array of styles.
- Barker Cabinets – strong plywood construction, KCMA certified, lifetime warranty, made in the USA.
- Cabinet Joint – 3/4″ solid wood face frames, dovetail drawers, soft close, wide style selection.
- Ready To Assemble Kitchens – solid plywood boxes, full extension soft close drawer slides and hinges.
- Kitchen Craft – thick plywood cabinet boxes, full overlay doors, soft close drawer slides.
- Affordable Cabinets – solid plywood construction, melamine or wood veneer finishes, designer styles.
- At Home Stores – wide in-stock selection of RTA cabinets in various materials, styles, and price points.
Are RTA Cabinets Worth it?
For many homeowners, RTA cabinets offer great quality and value, especially if choosing a cabinet line made with sturdy plywood and quality hardware. With some research and focus on reputable brands, RTA cabinets can absolutely be worth the investment over custom cabinetry. They allow for upgraded kitchen and bath cabinetry that looks good, functions well, and stays within budget.
Some tips for choosing quality RTA cabinets include:
- Review material construction and cabinet box strength
- Opt for soft close hardware
- Look for plywood over particle board or MDF
- Check for solid wood frames and dovetails
- Read reviews and check warranties
- Choose a style that fits your decor
- Buy from a reputable retailer or brand
- Hire a contractor for tricky installation areas
Taking the time to understand RTA cabinet construction, quality differences, and best brands will help homeowners invest wisely. For many kitchen and bath renovation projects, good quality RTA cabinets deliver beautiful, functional results that meet or exceed expectations. Doing the homework pays off with a customized look at a more affordable price point in comparison to full custom cabinetry.
Are RTA Cabinets Good Quality: The Bottom Line
RTA cabinets offer a cost-effective alternative to achieve a customized, high-quality kitchen or bathroom. While not equal to top-tier custom cabinets, reputable RTA cabinet brands focus on durable materials and sturdy construction to provide budget-friendly style and functionality. For homeowners with some DIY skills, RTA cabinets frequently exceed expectations and bring gorgeous new cabinetry within financial reach. With smart shopping, RTA cabinets can absolutely offer a very good quality and value option.