RTA, or Ready-to-Assemble cabinetry, is rapidly growing in popularity as a significantly lower cost and higher quality alternative to many, if not most, of the made-to-order option that you find from your local custom cabinet manufacturers or big box home improvement stores. While a custom made kitchen can run anywhere from $10,000 to upwards of $50,000.00 or more, RTA cabinets can help you save a significant amount on the kitchen cabinetry itself, and possibly cutting a $20,000 budget by nearly half. And unlike most times where “you get what you pay for,” often with RTA cabinets, the quality of the materials used and the construction could be significantly better than mainstream brands. So if you’re thinking about a renovating or holding off on that new kitchen, here is my side-by-side comparison between RTA and the brand names.
When it comes to materials and construction, RTA cabinets score a big win among the leading brand names. While you can expect solid wood doors in both categories, the major difference comes when looking at the rest of the construction. For one, most, if not all RTA cabinets come equipped with plywood boxes, usually ¾ inch thick, where as much of made-to-order cabinetry found in the major retailers or local manufacturers use some variation of compressed wood, such as particle board. And although a salesman at the home improvement store may talk to you about a ¾ inch wood framed cabinet, they are generally speaking exclusively about the front face of the cabinet where the door is attached to. Usually they are excluding the sides and back of the box. Furthermore, traditional or made-to-order cabinets are also known for using particle board in their drawers, where as RTA usually use wood connected by dovetail joints to ensure long lasting durability for years to come.
If you’re wondering what’s the difference between wood or plywood construction versus particle board is? Then place a piece of particle board in a cup of water for a day or two, and you’ll see what we are talking about. Particle board is extremely susceptible to moisture and can warp and expand overtime when significant moisture is present, particularly around dishwashers and sink or in moist environments where humidity is high; even mopping can sometimes present a problem to particle board. RTA cabinets also significantly differ in the way the cabinetry is put together because of the strength of the plywood. Particle board cabinets usually are assembled using a variety of methods, from staples to wooden dowels and glue on the higher end cabinets, whereas RTA cabinets usually use a sturdy cam lock system that ensures your cabinets won’t pull apart down the road.
In terms of cabinet door styles, choices do seem to favor the made-to-order or custom option. One con in the pros’ and cons’ of RTA, is that the cabinets are prefabricated, meaning they are manufactured and mass produced in one set color, door style, and in specific sizes that usually come in increments of 3 inches. However, RTA cabinetry comes in many styles, colors and finishes and it’s almost for sure that there is one available that matches any given individual’s taste and lifestyle. As for the set sizes, careful planning and good measurements from a skilled professional carpenter of kitchen remodel professional will ensure your kitchen looks as custom as the finest customs kitchens out there. Bar none, pre fabricated means mass produced, which means lower labor costs and turnaround times, which ultimately means less money spent.
Turning dream kitchen and baths into affordable realities is what we are all about. Superior Kitchens & More a leading manufacturer and wholesale distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as the Klazz line of plumbing fixtures and accessories. Located in South Florida, Superior operates a large design & manufacturing center that features a state-of-the-art showroom featuring all of our all wood cabinetry lines, as well as our kitchen and bath plumbing products. Here, we are staying ahead of our competition by finding innovative ways to improve and lower production costs without compromising the trusted quality we have come to be known by. Klazz is a registered trademark of Superior Kitchens and More.
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