Kitchen cabinets are one of the most important elements of any kitchen. Not only do they provide essential storage space, but they also play a major role in defining the overall style and aesthetic of the kitchen. Ready to assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets have become an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to remodel or upgrade their kitchen. RTA cabinets provide a more affordable alternative to custom cabinetry, while still offering plenty of options for customization. This guide will explore everything you need to know about where to buy ready to assemble kitchen cabinets.
What are RTA Kitchen Cabinets?
RTA kitchen cabinets, also known as stock cabinets, come preassembled in a flat box and require some assembly once they arrive at your home. The cabinets are typically constructed of materials like particle board or plywood. Unlike custom cabinets which are built to your exact kitchen specifications, RTA cabinets come in standard sizes. However, you usually have several options when it comes to finishes, materials, and storage accessories to help you customize your kitchen design.
The main advantage of choosing RTA kitchen cabinets is the cost savings. Because you are not paying for customized construction and installation, RTA cabinets are significantly less expensive than custom cabinetry. They provide an affordable option if you are looking to remodel your kitchen on a budget.
Additionally, RTA cabinets allow you to tackle the kitchen project in stages. The cabinets arrive at your home in a box, and you can usually assemble them yourself over a weekend. This makes it easier to spread out the remodel over time rather than completing it all at once.
Where to Purchase RTA Cabinets
RTA kitchen cabinets are sold through several different types of retailers, giving you plenty of options when it comes to selection and price. Here are some of the most common places to buy ready to assemble kitchen cabinets:
Home Improvement Stores
Popular home improvement chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a wide selection of RTA cabinets right in their stores. You can view cabinet displays in person, compare pricing, and speak with knowledgeable sales associates to learn about available options. Home improvement stores often run frequent sales and specials on kitchen cabinets. The ability to purchase in-person makes this a convenient option for many homeowners.
Several major online retailers sell RTA kitchen cabinets that can be shipped directly to your home. Amazon and Wayfair are two of the most popular online sources. Purchasing cabinets online typically provides the lowest pricing and widest selection of styles and brands to choose from. However, you won’t be able to see the cabinets in person before purchasing, so it’s important to carefully review product images, descriptions, reviews, and dimensions.
Cabinet Brand Websites
Many leading RTA cabinet brands like KraftMaid, Hampton Bay, and Sektion also sell their ready to assemble cabinets directly through their own websites. This allows you to easily view and compare the entire cabinet line from a single manufacturer. You can often save money purchasing directly from a brand instead of through a third party retailer. However, return policies may not be as flexible as a major retailer.
Cabinet or Remodeling Showrooms
Visiting a kitchen design showroom is another excellent option if you want professional assistance selecting your RTA cabinets. Showrooms allow you to view cabinet displays and finishes in person. Design experts can provide recommendations to ensure your cabinets fit the layout and flow of your kitchen correctly. Many showrooms also offer cabinet installation and countertop services.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
For a thriftier option, check your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The ReStore sells new and gently used building materials (including cabinets) donated by remodeling companies and homebuilders. The inventory is unique to each location. However, you can sometimes find high-quality RTA cabinets for a fraction of the retail price if you get lucky.
Tips for Choosing Where to Buy
With so many places to purchase ready to assemble kitchen cabinets, keep these tips in mind when deciding where to buy:
- Compare pricing – Get quotes from several retailers to find the best deal. Don’t assume big box stores are always cheaper.
- Consider services – Look for retailers that offer cabinet design help, installation services, etc. if needed.
- Read reviews – Check feedback and reviews closely to evaluate quality and customer service.
- Examine policies – Understand return policies in case any cabinets arrive damaged or defective.
- See samples – View cabinet displays in person whenever possible before purchasing.
- Calculate total costs – Factor in tax, shipping, and any additional installation or modification expenses.
- Assess conveniences – Decide if you prefer ordering online or purchasing in-store.
Ready to Assemble Cabinet Brands
Ready to assemble cabinets are available from a number of reputable cabinet brands and manufacturers. Here is an overview of some of the most popular RTA kitchen cabinet brand options:
IKEA is perhaps the most well-known source for affordable ready to assemble furniture, and their SEKTION line of kitchen cabinets is no exception. IKEA offers a wide range of modern and contemporary cabinet styles and colors at budget-friendly price points. Assembly is required, but IKEA provides detailed instructions. The main downside is that cabinets are sold exclusively through IKEA stores, so there is no online ordering option.
KraftMaid manufactures their RTA cabinets from solid hardwood frames and wood veneers for a classic style. Their assemblies are designed to go together quickly and include pre-attached hinges and drawer glides. KraftMaid ready to assemble cabinets are available in a wide selection of stains, paints, and finishes to match any decor.
Martha Stewart Living by Home Depot
This line offers RTA kitchen cabinets exclusively through Home Depot stores and online. Martha Stewart cabinets feature high-end hardware and finishes inspired by Martha Stewart herself at reasonable prices. Styles range from modern to traditional with plenty of customization options.
Hampton Bay by Home Depot
Hampton Bay is Home Depot’s in-house brand of RTA cabinets designed to replicate custom cabinetry while staying budget-friendly. Convenient features like soft-close drawers and adjustable shelves come standard. Their line includes more than 100 cabinet options to mix and match.
Sektion by IKEA
IKEA’s Sektion cabinets are made from durable, eco-friendly recycled wood fibers covered by veneers or foil. Assembly is simple with Cam locks and pre-drilled shelf pin holes. Sektion offers modern, minimalist styles at affordable IKEA prices. Mix and match doors, draws, and finishes.
Dynasty by Wayfair
Exclusively sold through Wayfair, Dynasty RTA cabinets ship free to your door. They offer a great selection of premium features like soft-close hinges, adjustable shelves, concealed drawer glides, and durable all-wood construction. Contemporary styling makes these cabinets stand out.
Allen + Roth by Lowe’s
Available exclusively at Lowe’s, Allen + Roth cabinets come ready to assemble with cam locks and dowels for easy assembly. Choose from a range of stylish finishes and hardware. Lowe’s provides an included 1-year warranty on these mid-priced RTA cabinets.
Shenandoah offers an affordable line of RTA cabinets that come with wood veneer finishes, 6-way adjustable shelves, and soft-close doors. Modern, transitional, and cottage design styles are available. Shenandoah ships nationwide directly from their Virginia warehouse.
For high-quality solid wood RTA cabinets, Barker Cabinets is a top choice. Their assemblies include intricate detailing like dovetail drawers, self-closing hinges, and hidden screws. Barker ships nationwide and offers a limited lifetime warranty on their cabinet boxes.
What to Look for When Buying RTA Cabinets
Ready to assemble kitchen cabinets vary widely when it comes to quality, materials, and features. Keep the following in mind when selecting RTA cabinets for your kitchen:
Common RTA cabinet materials include:
- Plywood – Made from thin sheets of pressed wood. Most affordable option but prone to swelling and warping.
- Particleboard – Engineered wood product made from wood fragments. Dense and stable but lacks plywood’s strength.
- MDF – Medium density fiberboard with fine wood particles. Doesn’t warp easily. Denser than particleboard.
- Solid wood – Higher end cabinets made from solid wood. Strongest and most durable option.
- Melamine – Particleboard or MDF coated in melamine resin. Provides scratch resistant finish.
Consider cabinet material based on budget, durability needs, and finished style.
RTA cabinet finishes include:
- Laminate – Paper laminate provides a protective finish and variety of colors.
- Wood veneers – Thin sheets of natural wood for an attractive finish.
- Thermofoil – Durable plastic laminate bonded to substrate. Resists chipping and scratching.
- Stain – Pigmented stains infuse color while allowing wood grain to show through.
- Paint – Factory applied paint in any color for a smooth finish.
Evaluate the pros and cons of each finish option.
Ease of assembly can vary significantly between RTA cabinet brands. Look for cabinets with:
- Cam locks or dowels for easy connecting
- Pre-installed shelf pins
- Pre-attached hinges and drawer glides
- Detailed instructions with diagrams
- Minimal tools required
Test assembling one drawer or door to check the process.
While RTA cabinets come in standard sizes, many manufacturers offer customization options:
- Adjustable shelves and height choices
- Range of widths like 12”, 15”, 18”, etc.
- Deep cabinets available up to 36” depth
- Drawer stacks to maximize storage
- Accessory add-ons and trim kits
Evaluate if sizing and customization options meet your kitchen’s needs.
Look for RTA cabinets with convenient functional features:
- Soft-close doors and drawers
- Full extension drawer glides
- Cabinet latches to keep doors closed
- Integrated wine racks, spice pull outs, etc.
- Multi-step finish processes
- Roll out trays and organizers
The qualities and features can help narrow your options.
How Much do RTA Kitchen Cabinets Cost?
RTA cabinet pricing can vary widely based on the manufacturer, materials, and features. Typically expect to pay:
- Economy – Particleboard cabinets $50 – $150 per linear foot
- Mid-Range – Plywood or solid wood $200 – $350 per linear foot
- Premium – High-end wood or finishes $350+ per linear foot
Other factors impacting cost include accessories, shipping, sales tax, and installation if needed. Average total costs for a full RTA kitchen cabinet set can range from:
- Small kitchen (10 linear feet) – $1,000 – $4,000
- Medium kitchen (15 linear feet) – $1,500 – $6,000
- Large kitchen (25+ linear feet) – $2,500 – $10,000+
Ready to assemble cabinetry provides cost savings of 20% to 50% typically compared to custom cabinetry. Carefully calculating your total project budget upfront is important.
Pros and Cons of RTA Cabinets
Ready to assemble kitchen cabinets provide many benefits, but also come with some downsides to consider:
- More affordable than custom cabinets
- Wide range of styles and finishes
- Ability to handle most installation yourself
- Faster project timeline than custom cabinetry
- Purchase convenience through retailers or online
- Still requires some assembly
- Limited sizing options
- Quality and materials vary by brand
- Unable to view most brands in person before purchase
- Resale value less than custom cabinetry
Evaluate the pros and cons against your budget, timeline, and kitchen needs when deciding between RTA and custom cabinets.
Steps for Installing RTA Kitchen Cabinets
One of the advantages of choosing ready to assemble kitchen cabinets is being able to handle much of the installation on your own, although professional installation is recommended for more complex projects. Here is an overview of the typical installation process:
1. Prepare the Room
- Remove old cabinets, countertops, and flooring if present.
- Repair walls and refinish flooring prior to cabinet installation.
2. Map Out the Layout
- Mark cabinet locations and plumbing based on kitchen plan measurements.
- Make minor layout adjustments if needed to fit new space.
3. Install Mounting Rails
- Mount horizontal wall rails with brackets to establish cabinet base line.
- Shim rails to account for any uneven walls if needed.
4. Set Base Cabinets
- Position base cabinets on rails and attach to studs in wall through back of cabinet.
- Level and secure using shims if necessary.
5. Install Wall Cabinets
- Hang wall cabinets by securing to wall studs through cabinet back.
- Use shims to level and scribes to account for uneven walls.
6. Complete Cabinet Installation
- Install remaining cabinets by securely fastening together.
- Add drawers, doors, and shelves per instructions.
- Make final adjustments so doors and drawers align properly.
7. Add Countertops
- Take countertop measurements once cabinets are completely secured.
- Install purchased countertop on top of installed cabinets.
Hiring a Contractor for Installation
Due to the complexity involved, many homeowners choose to hire a kitchen contractor or carpenter to tackle the cabinet installation rather than attempting it themselves. Typical RTA cabinet installation costs range from $50 to $100 per hour. Hiring a professional ensures proper installation and avoids any costly mistakes. Make sure to get multiple quotes and review examples of previous cabinet installation projects when selecting a contractor. The investment can be well worth it for the peace of mind and convenience.
Ready to Assemble Cabinet Maintenance Tips
Once your new RTA kitchen cabinets are installed, follow these tips to keep them looking like new for years:
- Use cabinet organizers and pull out shelves to maximize storage and accessibility.
- Install under cabinet led lighting to illuminate your workspace.
- Adhere to manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and avoiding moisture damage.
- Properly seal any exposed cabinet edges to prevent swelling and warp.
- Tighten hinges and lubricate drawer glides annually.
- Touch up any nicks in cabinet finishes to avoid further damage.
- Replace any broken hardware components like hinges or latches promptly.
Achieving Your Dream Kitchen with Ready to Assemble Cabinets
The wide selection of RTA cabinet brands, materials, and features makes it easy to design your dream kitchen while sticking to your budget. Taking the time to carefully compare options and prices at different retailers helps ensure you make the right choices for your needs. With the proper assembly and installation, ready to assemble cabinets provide a beautiful, functional foundation to any kitchen. Combining the affordability of RTA cabinets with customized extras like glass doors, moldings, and specialty hardware creates a kitchen that looks high-end without the astronomical price tag. By following this guide and the expert advice of kitchen designers, you can successfully navigate the world of ready to assemble cabinets. Your stunning new kitchen is closer than you think!
Where to Buy Ready to Assemble Kitchen Cabinets – FAQs
What are the different brands of ready to assemble kitchen cabinets?
Some of the most popular RTA cabinet brands include IKEA, KraftMaid, Hampton Bay, Dynasty, Shenandoah, Barker Cabinets, Martha Stewart Living, and Allen + Roth. Each brand offers different materials, quality, prices, and style options to suit any homeowner’s needs and budget.
How difficult is it to assemble RTA kitchen cabinets on my own?
Assembling RTA cabinets is a project a moderately skilled DIYer can usually manage on their own. The assembly process varies by manufacturer but typically involves joining cabinet boxes and face frames using cam locks, dowels, nails, or screws. Pre-drilled holes and included hardware make the process straightforward if instructions are followed carefully. Some upper cabinets may require 2 people for easier installation.
What tools do I need to assemble and install RTA kitchen cabinets?
Common tools needed are: drill/driver, hammer, tape measure, level, stud finder, pry bar, Phillips head screwdriver, safety glasses, and clamps. Other useful tools include a nail gun, hole saw, jigsaw, and shims. Always check the manufacturer’s assembly guide for any specific tools required.
Should I hire a contractor or try and install RTA kitchen cabinets myself?
If you have moderate DIY skills, installing RTA cabinets is usually doable without a contractor. However, for complex layouts or if you are uncomfortable doing the installation, professional installation is recommended and worth the extra investment. Consider your skill level and project scope before deciding.
How much does it cost to install RTA kitchen cabinets professionally?
Professional RTA cabinet installation typically costs $50 to $100 per hour. The existing kitchen layout and scope of the project impact the total hours and price. Get multiple quotes from contractors before deciding. Well installed cabinets drive up the kitchen’s value significantly.
What are some tips for maintaining RTA cabinets so they last?
Clean cabinets only with recommended products to avoid damaging finishes. Use cabinet organizers, install under cabinet lighting, promptly replace broken hardware, tighten hinges and glides annually, touch up nicks and scratches in finishes, and adhere to manufacturer care guidelines. Proper maintenance preserves your investment in RTA cabinets.
Renovating your kitchen is one of the most exciting projects a homeowner can take on. By doing your homework on the available options and retailers, investing in ready to assemble cabinets provides the affordability and customization to create your dream kitchen. Carefully considering factors like materials, features, installation, cost, and maintenance helps ensure your satisfaction. Buying RTA cabinets is an accessible path to upgrade your kitchen within your timeline and budget. With proper care over time, your new cabinets will fulfill your family’s needs and enhance your home’s style for many years to come.