Ready-to-assemble (RTA) store cabinets have become an increasingly popular option for homeowners and renters looking to customize their kitchens and bathrooms on a budget. RTA cabinets come packaged with all the necessary parts and hardware required for assembly and are commonly sold at home improvement stores. But where exactly are these convenient RTA cabinets manufactured?
Overview of RTA Store Cabinets
RTA cabinets offered by home improvement chains provide a more affordable alternative to custom cabinetry. They come in a wide range of standard sizes, finishes, and door styles. Typical home stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s stock various brands of RTA cabinets, selling them either in-store or online for convenient home delivery.
Some key benefits of opting for ready-to-assemble store cabinets include:
- Cost savings – Pre-fabricated RTA cabinets are cheaper than custom cabinetry since you assemble them yourself. Less labor is required.
- Convenience – RTA cabinets come with all the hardware and instructions needed for DIY installation. No special tools or skills are required.
- Customization – Modular RTA cabinet components allow for flexible kitchen design. You can mix-and-match sizes, finishes, and accessories.
- Quality – Many RTA brands offer solid wood doors and plywood box construction rivaling custom cabinets at a fraction of the price.
While RTA cabinets were traditionally lower-quality, manufacturing has improved dramatically. Today’s RTA cabinet options feature durable materials and finishes, soft-close hinges, adjustable shelves, and more.
Where Are RTA Store Cabinets Manufactured?
Most ready-to-assemble cabinets sold at major home improvement stores in the United States are produced in just a handful of main manufacturing plants located domestically and overseas:
Several leading U.S. brands manufacture RTA cabinets right here in America:
- MasterBrand Cabinets – One of the largest cabinet producers, they operate factories in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia to supply RTA cabinets to Home Depot under Hampton Bay and Glacier Bay brands.
- Canyon Creek Cabinet Company – This Virginia-based manufacturer creates RTA cabinets sold at Lowe’s under brands like Allen + Roth and Project Source. Their main manufacturing facility is in Elkwood, VA.
- KraftMaid – Headquartered in Ohio, they produce ready-to-assemble cabinets under the Kabinart brand in their Middlefield, OH plant. These are sold at Home Depot.
- Barker Cabinets – This company operates a manufacturing facility in Michigan that produces RTA cabinets for Menards stores under their unique brands.
- Cabinet Joint – Operating a 130,000 square foot manufacturing site in Cheyenne, WY, this company offers RTA cabinets under Spectra and Nexgen brands to several retailers.
Domestic manufacturing allows for greater inventory control, faster delivery, and direct oversight of quality. Many U.S. brands tout their American-made cabinet construction.
Imported ready-to-assemble cabinets primarily come from plants in China, Vietnam, and Mexico:
- Sauder Woodworking – This major manufacturer of RTA furniture also produces assembled and RTA-style kitchen cabinets in facilities located in North America and Asia. Their overseas operations help supply products to retailers like Walmart.
- Shenandoah Cabinetry – With manufacturing plants in China, this company supplies RTA cabinets to many home centers under brand names like Hampton Bay, Allen + Roth, Better Homes & Gardens, and more.
- GreenForest – A China-based cabinet producer with U.S. headquarters in California, they manufacture affordable RTA cabinets for Wayfair, Amazon, Overstock, and other online retailers.
- Lanz Cabinets – Headquartered in California, Lanz operates a factory in Tijuana, Mexico to produce ready-to-assemble cabinets sold through Home Depot, Wayfair, and Amazon.
For some major retailers, sourcing RTA cabinets internationally helps meet high demand and pressure for lower prices. Careful vetting helps ensure product quality.
Primary Materials Used in RTA Cabinet Construction
Whether manufactured overseas or in domestic plants, you’ll find some common materials used to construct ready-to-assemble cabinets sold through home improvement outlets:
- Plywood – Also called composite wood, plywood panels make up cabinet box sides, backs, bottoms, and shelves. They provide stability. Manufacturers use grades from basic paper overlay to oak veneers.
- Particleboard – Made from wooden chips and resin glue pressed into sheets, particleboard is used for cabinet backs, bottoms, and shelving. It’s lighter and cheaper than plywood. Melamine coating resists moisture.
- MDF – Medium density fiberboard contains ultra-fine sawdust and adhesive. It machines well for smooth surfaces on door and drawer fronts. Moisture resistant finishes are added.
- Solid Wood – Higher-end RTA cabinets integrate solid wood edging and doors. Oak, maple, cherry and hickory are common. Solid wood carries more natural beauty than composites.
- Thermofoil – Many vinyl-coated doors consist of a thermofoil layer bonded onto an MDF substrate for durability and stain resistance. Provides consistent finish.
- Hardware – Hinges, drawer glides, and lifts allow for adjustment. Pulls/knobs come in stainless steel, chrome, nickel, bronze and more to match cabinet style.
- Glass – Some door designs incorporate glass windowpanes. Tempered safety glass prevents dangerous shattering if broken.
Skilled cabinet makers combine quality materials, intelligent engineering, and meticulous assembly methods to produce durable RTA cabinets – whether domestic or imported.
Primary Manufacturing Processes Used
Constructing ready-to-assemble cabinets involves a combination of automated technology and hand-craftsmanship. Here are some of the key manufacturing processes:
- Cutting – Computer-controlled saws cut plywood, particleboard, and solid wood into panels and parts with precision dimensions. This includes ripping, cross-cutting, mitering and boring holes.
- Laminating – Presses apply high heat and pressure to bond melamine papers, thermofoil layers, and wood veneers onto raw boards using strong adhesives. Creates moisture resistance.
- Edgebanding – Machines like edgebanders glue thin strips of matching wood edging onto exposed cabinet panel sides for an integrated look and feel.
- Drilling – Boring machines drill any necessary holes into parts during fabrication. For example, drilling holes for shelving pegs in cabinet sides.
- Assembly – Workers carefully construct cabinet box components using staples, screws, nails, glue, and joinery techniques. Doors mount to boxes.
- Sanding – Belt sanders, orbital hand sanders, and machines apply fine finishes to exposed wood doors/drawers. Smoothes surfaces.
- Finishing – Stains, sealers and topcoats get applied by spraying or hand brushing to achieve the desired door/drawer aesthetic.
- Hardware Installation – Hinges, slides, lifts and pulls get installed using fasteners like screws and bolts either manually or by automation.
- Packaging – Finished cabinets and all hardware are packaged into boxes or cartons, with instructions for end-user assembly.
With attention to manufacturing processes and quality control checks, RTA cabinets can rival custom cabinetry while also offering conveniences like pre-drilled installation holes and pre-finished components.
Quality Considerations When Choosing Brand
The brand selected for your RTA cabinets can make a significant difference in overall quality and enjoyment during the assembly and use phases. When choosing home store cabinetry, look for these hallmarks of quality:
- Strong Materials – Seek plywood box construction over lower-cost particleboard. Solid wood doors surpass composites. Better materials improve durability.
- Soft-Close Features – Doors and drawers with integrated soft-close hardware prevent slamming and bounce-back. This elongates the life of your cabinets.
- Convenient Adjustments – Look for adjustable legs, hinges, shelves, and hardware. Simplifies installation and allows for evolving storage needs.
- Low VOC Finishes – Brands using low-VOC stains and topcoats help maintain indoor air quality during and after assembly.
- Detailed Instructions – Clear visual instructions, labeling, and well-packaged parts make assembly straightforward. Missing pieces lead to headaches.
- Good Warranties – Better brands offer warranties not just on defects but lifetime guarantees on drawers and door hinges, for instance.
- Numeric Sizing – Opt for cabinets sized by specific dimensions rather than generic sizes like small, medium, and large. Provides flexibility.
While price plays a role, opting for quality ready-to-assemble cabinets from reputable brands ends up saving you time, frustration, and money over bargain options that skimp on materials and manufacturing care. Investing just a little more upfront goes a long way.
Tips for Assembling Store-Bought Cabinets
Once you’ve selected quality ready-to-assemble cabinets for your space, follow these best practices for putting them together:
- Review instructions thoroughly before starting. Also watch manufacturer videos for tips.
- Assemble cabinets on a smooth, clean floor with plenty of space to work.
- Carefully organize hardware and labeling before assembly. Avoid misplaced parts.
- Use power drivers with a clutch setting to prevent over-tightening screws.
- Follow sequence directions closely to ensure cabinets are square and plumb.
- Check alignments often. Make adjustments before moving to next steps.
- Apply wood glue for stronger connections on dowels, joints, and screw holes. Let dry completely.
- Keep cabinets lifted off floor on foam during assembly. Avoids absorbing moisture.
- Fill screw holes with matching wood filler for an integrated look after assembly. Wipe away excess.
- Touch up edges or damage with finishing pens. Follow with sealers/topcoats for even sheen.
With attention to detail during the assembly process, your store-bought RTA cabinets will look like customized built-ins at a fraction of the cost. Taking your time leads to furniture-quality results.
Pros and Cons of RTA vs Custom Cabinets
While ready-to-assemble cabinets provide wonderful bang for your buck, are they always the best choice compared to full custom cabinetry? Consider these pros and cons:
RTA Cabinet Pros
- Lower cost for a complete cabinet system
- Faster delivery with cabinets on hand at stores
- Easy ordering through retailers or online
- Designed for DIY installation
- Wide variety of sizes and configurations
- Pre-finished doors and finished exteriors
- Soft-close hardware options
RTA Cabinet Cons
- Limited modifications and customization
- Stock sizes may not fit space perfectly
- Quality lower than top-tier custom cabinets
- Assembly can be challenging
- May need to compromise on material choices
- Limited specialty storage options
Custom Cabinet Pros
- Completely customized sizes, materials, and layouts
- Built precisely for your unique space
- Higher-end design options like glass doors
- Top-notch wood species and finishes
- Hand-crafted quality and joinery
- Every storage detail customized
Custom Cabinet Cons
- Much higher cost investment
- Longer lead times for manufacturing
- Pricing not always apparent upfront
- Disruptive installation process
- Need for skilled installer
- Limited DIY options
If budget is tight, RTA cabinets let you upgrade kitchen or bath style tremendously while spending less. But for truly one-of-a-kind projects with intricate specifications, custom cabinetry excels. Evaluate your space, budget, and needs.
Ready-to-Assemble Cabinet Costs
Affordability is a major appeal of store-bought, RTA-style cabinets. So what can you expect to spend compared to other options?
- Stock cabinets from home centers range $50 – $250 per linear foot. Low-cost laminates start under $100/foot. Higher-end wood veneer maxes around $250/foot.
- Semi-custom cabinets with some customized sizing and options run $200 – $500 per linear foot. More choices than stock.
- Custom cabinets hand-built by professionals range $500 – $1,500+ per linear foot. Fully bespoke design and exotic woods push pricing upward.
Of course, cost depends on factors like cabinet materials, door styles, brand quality, accessories, and more. But broadly speaking, ready-to-assemble cabinets can save 50% or more compared to custom cabinetry.
Focus your cabinet budget on quality doors, drawer fronts, and functional hardware. Save on cabinet box materials which don’t impact aesthetics. Refacing with new doors offers another cost-saving option while getting fresh style.
RTA Cabinet Trends to Consider
Many companies are innovating with unique RTA product lines and features that offer enhanced functionality, style, or convenience:
- Slide-out trays – Companies like Rev-A-Shelf now offer DIY slide trays to retrofit stock cabinets for easier access to items in back. Quick upgrades.
- Toekick drawers – This popular trend adds roll-out storage into unused base cabinet toe spaces. Utilize all possible cubic inches.
- Pull-out waste bins – Keep trash/recycling concealed within cabinetry for a clean look. Industries like Hafele provide retrofit pull-out waste bin options.
- Tip-out trays – Legrabox and others make tip trays allowing you to retrofit cabinetry with easy-access storage for spices, small goods, or other items.
- Drawer retrofits – Upgrade existing cabinets by replacing doors with soft-close drawers for a more functional and modern style.
- Smart cabinets – Companies like Rev-A-Shelf and Häfele now offer electronic locks, lighting, charging, and more built into RTA cabinets.
Find retailers specializing in cabinet organization and hardware to explore convenient add-ons that maximize efficiency in your RTA cabinetry. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Specializing Your RTA Cabinet Storage
One advantage of ready-to-assemble cabinet systems is their flexibility to incorporate specialty storage solutions:
Kitchen Storage Solutions
- Insert adjustable shelves for dishes
- Use deep drawers for pots and pans
- Incorporate pull-out spice racks
- Add tiered roll-out trays for easier access
- Install drawer dividers for cutlery and utensils
- Use a tip-out tray for oils and condiments
- Mount a swing-out pantry unit for bulk goods
Bathroom Storage Solutions
- Add pull-out towers for towels and toiletries
- Use roll-out trays in vanities to access all areas
- Incorporate hanging rails or cubbies for extra linen storage
- Install drawer organizers for makeup, hair styling tools, etc.
- Under-sink rollout waste bin provides hidden trash storage
General Storage Solutions
- Install Magic Corner lazy susans for corner cabinet optimization
- Multi-tiered pull outs allow usage of back cabinet sections
- Use tip-out trays under sinks or in desks
- Add specialty drawers like utensil, knife blocks, or spice organizers
- Mount a bookcase cabinet with adjustable shelves
Take advantage of the many organizational accessories available today to make the most of the storage capacity of your home center RTA cabinetry. The options are virtually endless!
Top Brands of RTA Cabinets
If you’re looking to purchase ready-to-assemble cabinets for an upcoming project, these leading brands are worth considering:
Hampton Bay – Carried by Home Depot, Hampton Bay offers a variety of styles and price points to suit most budgets. Known for good value.
Kraftmaid – Sold through Home Depot under the Kabinart name, Kraftmaid makes attractive RTA options backed by solid warranties.
Glacier Bay – This is Home Depot’s most affordable RTA stock cabinet brand. They offer a streamlined product line for smaller projects.
Allen + Roth – Available at Lowe’s, this brand is known for classic styling and quality construction with lots of choices.
Shenandoah Cabinets – Supplying cabinetry to several major retailers, Shenandoah offers affordable assembled and RTA cabinets in many configurations.
Canyon Creek – Sold exclusively through Lowe’s, Canyon Creek cabinets feature durable construction and versatile storage accessories.
Barker Cabinets – Offering excellent quality for the cost, Barker cabinets are sold in-store and online at Menards primarily in the midwest and southeast.
Diamond Cabinets – With a large catalog of RTA and assembled cabinetry, Diamond offers affordable options carried by several retailers and e-commerce sites.
Evaluating factors like budget, style preferences, availability, and warranties can help determine the right ready-to-assemble cabinet brand for your unique needs.
- RTA cabinets from home improvement stores provide affordable style compared to custom cabinetry and come in many configurations.
- Manufacturing by major brands occurs in domestic US plants and in factories overseas in places like China and Mexico.
- Quality materials like wood veneer plywood and solid wood doors boost durability versus low-cost particleboard options.
- Careful assembly along with specialty organizers allow RTA cabinets to function like customized built-ins.
- While not matching ultra-high-end custom work, RTA cabinets give DIYers terrific bang for their buck.
So don’t be afraid to take on an RTA kitchen cabinet installation or upgrade. With smart planning and strategic additions like soft