Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets are a popular option for many homeowners undertaking kitchen or bathroom renovation projects. RTA cabinets come unassembled, allowing you to put them together yourself and save on installation costs. Here is everything you need to know about RTA cabinets.

What are RTA Cabinets?

RTA cabinets, also known as ready-to-assemble cabinets, come packed in boxes with all the parts and hardware needed to put them together. RTA cabinets are assembled by the homeowner or contractor once delivered.

The convenience of RTA cabinets lies in the fact that they ship flat-packed. This allows them to be transported easily and avoids potential damage that could occur with pre-assembled cabinets. RTA cabinets also do not require professional installation, making them a budget-friendly choice.

Pros of RTA Cabinets

Here are some of the main benefits of choosing RTA cabinets:

More Affordable

One of the biggest advantages of RTA cabinets is that they are significantly less expensive than custom cabinetry. You avoid the high costs of on-site cabinet fabrication and professional installation. RTA cabinets provide an affordable solution with a more customized look.

Convenient Shipping

Since RTA cabinets ship flat and compact, delivery costs are reduced. Boxes can fit easily through doors and tight spaces. This also reduces the chance of shipping damage.

Quick and Easy Installation

With RTA cabinets, you do not need to hire a contractor for installation. The cabinets include detailed instructions allowing homeowners with basic DIY skills to assemble them. This allows you to install cabinets on your own timeline.

Design Flexibility

RTA cabinetry is available in a wide range of materials, colors, and configurations. This allows you to select a style that suits your unique space with more customization than stock cabinets.

Considerations with RTA Cabinets

While RTA cabinets have many benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Need for Assembly

Since they ship unconstructed, you or a contractor will need to allot time for assembly. This could take a few days to put together an entire kitchen. Some more complex cabinet designs may require professional help.

Potential for Damage

If instructions are not followed properly or parts are defective, there is a risk of damaging cabinets during installation. Taking care when assembling is important to avoid problems.

Variation in Quality

There can be significant differences in quality across RTA cabinet brands. Do your research to select a reputable manufacturer that uses quality materials and hardware.

Can’t View in Person Before Purchase

Unlike custom cabinetry or in-store stock cabinets, you will be purchasing RTA cabinets without seeing them constructed first. Be sure to carefully inspect after delivery.

Questions to Ask When Purchasing RTA Cabinets

If you decide to purchase RTA cabinets, here are some key questions to ask:

  • What materials are used? Look for plywood boxes and solid wood doors over particleboard.
  • How is the quality control? Ask about the manufacturing process and inspections.
  • What hardware is included? Look for soft-close hinges and full extension drawers.
  • What is the lead time?Factor this into your renovation timeline.
  • What is the manufacturer’s warranty? Most reputable brands offer a lifetime warranty.
  • Does the style allow for customization? Check if you can modify sizes or finishes.
  • How detailed are the instructions? Well-written instructions with pictures or videos are ideal.

Tips for Installing RTA Cabinets

When you are ready to assemble and install your RTA cabinets, keep these tips in mind:

  • Carefully read all instructions before starting. Also watch installation videos from the manufacturer if available.
  • Make sure you have the right tools, such as drills, screwdrivers, clamps, and safety equipment.
  • Work on a level surface with plenty of space to lay out cabinets.
  • Follow the assembly order in the instructions. Improper order can prevent cabinets from fitting together.
  • Do not over tighten screws and bolts. Overtightening can warp or split the wood.
  • Take care when handling cabinets to avoid damaging the doors and exterior.
  • Install cabinets level and plumb. Use shims as needed to adjust for uneven walls.
  • Go slowly and double check your work. Measure twice, cut once as needed.

Bottom Line

RTA cabinets provide homeowners with an affordable way to get customized cabinetry. With some basic DIY skills and good instructions, assembling and installing RTA cabinets is very manageable. Be sure to do your homework on cabinet brands and styles to get the best quality and design for your space and budget. With the right planning and care taken during installation, RTA cabinets can provide a kitchen or bathroom with style and functionality for years to come.