Spring is here again, and you know what that means — it’s remodeling season. If you’re ready to add pizzazz to your kitchen, it may be time to spring for some new cabinets. However, you’ll need to decide between assembled cabinets and ready-to-assemble cabinets — or RTA cabinets.
Assembled cabinets are exactly what they sound like — cabinets that come to you already assembled and ready for installation. Meanwhile, RTA cabinets have to be put together before you can attach them to your kitchen wall and floor.
Both assembled and RTA cabinets have a number of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a rundown of the main differences between these two types of cabinets.
Let’s jump in!
Benefits of Assembled Cabinets
One of the biggest pros of buying assembled cabinets? They cut out the work — and the guesswork — of assembling cabinets yourself.
When the cabinets are delivered, you can simply have them installed right away. All parts of the cabinetry are complete, down to your cabinetry’s hardware and drawers.
This is a huge benefit if you’re not crazy about adding a huge DIY project to your to-do list this spring. It’s also a major plus if you’re in a hurry to finish your kitchen project so that you can move on to the next project.
In line with this, consumers can generally expect solid finished products when they choose assembled cabinets, as the manufacturer assembles them with the proper machines and tools.
On the contrary, if you try to assemble your own cabinets and don’t know what you’re doing, you may end up doing more harm than good in your kitchen.
Another pro of assembled cabinets is that they make it particularly easy to add cabinet accessories, such as Lazy Susans and pull-out trash cans, to your kitchen as well.
Disadvantages of Assembled Cabinets
Of course, you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too — even in the kitchen. Assembled cabinets do have a few drawbacks.
First, your shipping lead time may be longer than it would be with RTA cabinets, as your assembled cabinets aren’t built until after you have placed your order for them. Therefore, whatever time savings you may receive by not having to assemble your cabinets may be eaten up by the longer shipping time.
In addition, they may be more costly because of the extra manufacturing costs and labor involved. The shipping costs are also usually much heftier, as completed cabinetry boxes are larger in size compared with flat RTA cabinetry boxes.
Yet another disadvantage of assembled cabinets is that they oftentimes can’t be returned.
Benefits of RTA Cabinets
Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of RTA cabinets. Unlike its assembled counterparts, RTA cabinetry is already in stock. Therefore, they can be shipped to you as soon as you order your cabinets. You can’t beat the shorter shipping time you get with RTA cabinets.
On top of that, you can enjoy more financial savings since the work of assembling the cabinet parts hasn’t been done. The shipping costs are also lower because the boxes delivered to you are smaller than those for assembled cabinets are.
As a result of the cost savings you incur, you may even be able to spring for a more high-end RTA cabinet option — something you may not be able to do as easily with assembled cabinets.
In addition, since you’re essentially the assembler, you can make sure for yourself that your cabinets are assembled to your standards.
Furthermore, with a high-quality brand, you can rest assured that the process won’t be overly complicated. For instance, it’s not unreasonable to expect holes to already be pre-drilled for you. A couple of basic tools — for example, a rubber mallet and a screwdriver — may help you to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
With cabinets that are ready for you to assemble, you can also take advantage of features such as all-wood construction, dovetail drawers, and six-way adjustable cabinet hinges. Mixing and matching such options can lead to an even more customized product for your kitchen.
Another benefit that may give you peace of mind is that these cabinets can typically be switched or returned for various reasons.
Disadvantages of RTA Cabinets
Of course, RTA cabinets do require more energy and time because you have to put them together yourself in your kitchen.
A novice might take about 45 minutes to put together his or her first cabinet. However, subsequent cabinets might take no more than 15 minutes each to assemble once you get the hang of it.
Still, you’ll need a clear cabinet design layout to avoid confusion about which cabinets go where in your kitchen. In addition, you’ll need to be careful so as not to scratch your cabinets’ finish as you assemble them.
If you decide to hire a handyman to install your cabinets instead, this isn’t a bad idea. However, the handyman’s labor cost is an important item to factor into your project’s budget as well.
And one more thing. As we mentioned earlier, guaranteeing your finished product’s quality is harder if you assemble the cabinet yourself rather than having the manufacturer do it for you. Still, with a little patience and care, you’ll end up with beautiful, high-quality cabinets in your cooking and dining space.
Considerations before Making a Cabinet Choice
The bottom line of all of this? Before choosing between RTA or assembled cabinets, you’ll need to take into consideration several factors as follows:
- Your needs and wishes
- Your timeline
- Your preferences
- Your budget
With proper preparation, due diligence and detailed research, it’s possible for you to strike a beneficial and excellent balance between time and cost as well as convenience and effort during your kitchen cabinet project.
How We Can Help
We offer a wide variety of cabinet style options for those interested in upgrading their kitchens this spring. These options range from Glazed Cherry to Shaker White, Legacy Oak and even Glazed Mocha, for example.
Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you to elevate your kitchen’s appearance and function with the right cabinets this year.