Glass doors are more expensive than traditional wood or laminate doors. Glass needs to be custom cut and fitted for each cabinet door, adding labor and material costs. For RTA brands trying to keep their products affordable, the extra expense of including glass doors would drive up the overall price of their cabinet packages.
Glass breaks more easily than other cabinet door materials. RTA cabinets need to be shipped to customers and require some assembly. The extra handling and transportation involved with RTA cabinets means more opportunities for glass breakage if it were included. Most RTA brands don’t want to deal with replaced broken glass doors.
Every kitchen layout and design is a little different. With RTA cabinets, customers expect to be able to mix and match door styles to suit their unique space. Trying to accommodate sizing and configuration options for glass doors along with all the other door types would complicate manufacturing and inventory management for RTA brands.
RTA cabinets are designed to be simple for homeowners to assemble and install. Working with glass requires more care and skill during installation. RTA companies avoid glass doors to ensure their products can be easily put together by DIYers with minimal expertise.
Most RTA cabinet brands are focused on budget-conscious customers and minimalist designs. Glass doors are seen as upgrades or high-end finishes. Brands catering to simplicity and affordability typically exclude glass from their core RTA offerings.
So in summary, the extra costs, manufacturing burdens, fragility, customization needs, installation considerations, and market positioning help explain why ready-to-assemble cabinet lines leave glass doors out of their standard cabinet packages. Homeowners interested in the look of glass fronts do still have options with many RTA brands to customize or upgrade their selections by adding glass doors at an additional price.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Glass Cabinet Doors?
Glass cabinet doors offer some unique benefits but also come with functionality and maintenance considerations to factor in.
Pros of Glass Cabinet Doors
- Visually open and airy aesthetic
- Allow display of decorative dishware or glassware
- Variety of glass options – frosted, tinted, textured
- Coordinate with other glass kitchen or bath elements
- Light reflects and refracts beautifully off glass
Cons of Glass Cabinet Doors
- More susceptible to chipping and breaking
- Show fingerprints and water spots easily
- Not as durable or scratch-resistant as wood or laminate
- Glass fronts limit placement of interior cabinet shelves
- Prone to condensation buildup inside cabinet
- Offer less privacy than solid doors
What Should You Know Before Buying Glass Cabinet Doors?
There are a few things buyers should keep in mind when shopping for cabinetry with glass doors:
- Measure carefully – doors must be precisely fitted to each cabinet.
- Expect to pay more – glass doors come at a premium cost.
- Handle with care – glass is fragile and can crack if bumped or dropped.
- Consider frosted or textured glass if privacy is a concern.
- Establish a cleaning routine to keep glass looking its best.
- Inspect glass prior to installation for any chips or scrapes.
- Ensure cabinets have adequate interior lighting to show off glass contents.
What Are Some Alternatives to Glass Cabinet Doors?
For those wanting a similar light and open look without actual glass, here are some alternative cabinet door options:
- Open shelving – Completely remove doors and expose the contents. Best for neat, organized items.
- Metal wire inserts – Crisscrossing metal mesh screens provide see-through visibility.
- Perforated metal sheets – Metal with small holes resembles glass while being safer and more durable.
- Acrylic or Plexiglass panels – Plastic glazing looks like glass but is impact-resistant.
- Glass film overlays – Adhesive frosted/patterned films give the look of textured glass.
- Glass panel accents – Small glass windows can accent solid upper cabinets or open shelving.
FAQ About Glass Cabinet Doors
Are glass cabinet doors more expensive?
Yes, glass cabinetry costs significantly more than standard wood or laminate cabinet doors. The custom-sized glass, special hinges, and professional installation add to the overall expense.
How durable is tempered glass for cabinets?
Tempered glass is treated with heat to make it 4-5 times stronger than standard glass. Tempered glass doors are very durable for long-term use in kitchens and bathrooms.
Do glass cabinets make a small kitchen look bigger?
In many cases, yes. The transparent look of glass cabinets creates an airier, less crowded feel in kitchens and helps reflect light around the room.
What thickness of glass is best for cabinet doors?
3/16″ to 1/4″ thick tempered glass provides the right balance of durability and weight for most cabinet doors. 5mm thick glass is also commonly used.
Should glass cabinets be avoided for low kitchens?
Glass cabinets in low base cabinets could pose a safety risk for young children who may hit their heads on hard, sharp glass edges. Glass upper cabinets are likely fine.
How do you clean glass cabinet doors?
Use a soft microfiber cloth with a gentle all-purpose cleaner or mix of vinegar and water. Avoid harsh chemicals. Dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth to prevent water spots.
While most ready-to-assemble cabinet lines exclude glass fronts from their offerings, glass doors remain a beautiful yet practical option for custom cabinetry projects. Taking the right precautions when selecting, installing, and caring for glass cabinet doors allows homeowners to safely enjoy their translucent, light-enhancing benefits. With the right expectations about cost and durability, glass can be an elegant material choice to showcase prized dishes, decorative items, or general kitchen and bathroom contents.