RTA or Ready-To-Assemble Cabinets have been around for quite a while, but because of manufacturing improvements over the past couple of years, there are now more and more companies manufacturing and selling Ready-To-Assemble Kitchen &
Bathroom Cabinets (RTA), with higher quality standards. Lets face it, the kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms in a house to build or renovate. Other than your countertop selection, kitchen cabinets are going to be the most expensive part of your kitchen remodel. Custom kitchen cabinets can cost anywhere from $10,000-$100,000 depending on the type of wood, brand name, and amount of detail you are looking for. With the current state of the mortgage industry, and slowdown in the housing market, most people are looking for a way to increase the resale value of their home without a huge financial investment that they may or may not get back when they sell their house. Is there such a thing as budget kitchen cabinets?
RTA Kitchen Cabinets are the solution. RTA stands for Ready-To-Assemble. This category of cabinets includes everything from the particle board cabinets you find at Ikea that you assemble yourself, to the pre-assembled cabinets you find at Home Depot or Lowes, or the RTA cabinets that you find on-line that have plywood sides and come ready-to-assemble in a box. As you can see by the descriptions, there are different levels of quality and material used in Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) cabinets. Some of the RTA cabinets that you find on-line end up being stronger and sturdier than the name brand cabinets because they are using a solid plywood cabinet box for their construction. When looking at the structure of the cabinet, always make sure that they are using solid wood for the cabinet face and stiles, plywood for the cabinet box itself, and a plywood or solid wood back for a strong connection to the studs in the wall.
The key to a high quality (RTA) Ready-To-Assemble cabinet is how the cabinet is held together. Some of the lower end RTA cabinets use wood glue and staples or screws to hold the cabinet box together. These types of kitchen cabinets have a tendency to separate or split apart where the staples or screws connect to frame. For a high quality RTA cabinet, make sure that they use a cam lock assembly. What is a cam lock assembly? A cam lock assembly is simply a locking system that you turn using a screwdriver to interlock the cabinet panels in place. It comes in two versions: one is a hidden assembly that uses a combination of pegs and rotating locks, while the other one is an exposed cam lock which also uses rotating locks. Both systems are simple use and do not require any assembly experience, which makes it a great option for home owners and/or novice DIY Handymen.
Availability is another huge advantage to using RTA Cabinets for your kitchen or bathroom project. One of the biggest problems with custom cabinets is the lead time required to order and get your cabinets in time for installation in your house. Most require 6-8 weeks in order to produce and ship your cabinets. With RTA cabinets, you can walk into a home supply store and buy them as needed, or most RTA Importers/Distributors traditionally ship with 1-2 weeks (some even faster). This allows you to adjust to the inevitable changes that will occur in your project, plus it doesn't slow you down in the event of miscalculations... a miscalculation with custom cabinets could delay your project for an additional 2-3 months.
What it ultimately comes down to with (RTA) Ready-To-Assemble Kitchen Cabinets is the cost. A full kitchen of ready-to-assemble cabinets can cost as little as $2,500 whether as the same kitchen built with custom cabinets could be 5x, 10x, or even 20x that cost before installation. With Ready-To-Assemble cabinets, you could easily assemble and install the cabinets yourself and avoid the high labor costs associated with custom cabinet installation. If you are interested in finding some simple design tools to get started on your kitchen, check out some of my other articles at Squidoo and Hubpages under Nealon52 for step-by-step instructions on how to measure your kitchen, along with step-by-step instructions for installing them.
I have been installing RTA cabinets in all of my rental and flipped properties for years. I have been able to save thousands on each kitchen by shopping around. If you want to find out my secrets for saving thousands, check out some of my other articles.