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Everything You Need to Know About Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets

Kitchen remodeling is often the most expensive part of home renovation. Many homeowners find the cost of traditional factory-built cabinets exceeding their budget, and that is where ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets come in.


In recent years, ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets have grown in popularity in Canada, providing homeowners with a low-cost and easy option to upgrade their kitchen or bathroom. RTA cabinets are available in a range of styles, materials, and finishes, making them suitable for any home improvement project. In this blog, we'll go over all you need to know about RTA cabinets, including their benefits, types, and suggestions for finding the best RTA cabinets for your home.


What are RTA Cabinets?

RTA cabinets are exactly what the name suggests: they are provided to the customer in a flat-packed, unassembled state. RTA cabinets are pre-manufactured cabinets that are delivered flat-packed and ready to be assembled upon delivery. Unlike traditional customized or semi-custom cabinets, which are built on-site by professionals, RTA cabinets are intended to be readily installed by homeowners, saving time and money. This innovative approach not only lowers manufacturing and shipping costs but also allows homeowners to take control of the assembly process, saving money.


The RTA cabinet industry has grown significantly in recent years, driven by rising demand for economical yet beautiful kitchen solutions. Today, homeowners have access to a diverse range of RTA cabinet options, from conventional to contemporary designs, ensuring that there is something for everyone's style and preference. RTA cabinets are a great option since they are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colours. You may choose the best combination to meet your specific requirements without having to be an expert contractor. 


Types of Materials Used in RTA Cabinets

RTA cabinets are available in various materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The most common materials used include:


Solid Wood

Wooden RTA cabinets are extremely sturdy and have a classic, timeless look. They come in several wood species, including oak, maple, and cherry, each with its unique grain pattern and colour. Wood cabinets can be stained or painted to produce the desired finish, opening almost unlimited design choices. However, most low-cost RTA kitchen cabinets do not include solid wood components. If you want a natural-looking cabinet that is capable of holding heavy appliances, select an RTA cabinet made of durable wood.



This is the most common form of engineered wood product that most people are familiar with. Plywood is a product formed from piles of thin timber layers bonded together at a specific tilt. Plywood is perfect for constructing the sides and base of a kitchen cabinet since it adds longevity to the entire RTA cabinet.


Particle Board

Particle board cabinets are manufactured by compressing wood particles and bonding them together using adhesive. While less expensive than solid wood cabinets, they are more susceptible to moisture damage and may not last as long. Though it is not as durable as other RTA cabinet materials, it is suitable for those who do not want to spend a lot of money on pricey kitchen cabinets. With regular care and maintenance, particle board cabinets can continue to provide exceptional value for money. 


MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

MDF cabinets are made of wood fibers and resin, which creates a smooth and consistent surface that is suitable for painting. They are less expensive than solid wood cabinets and have exceptional durability and stability. MDF cabinets are also resistant to warping and breaking, making them ideal for high-humidity areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Despite being stronger and denser than typical particleboard, MDF cabinets may be difficult to hang due to their weight.

Advantages and Disadvantages of RTA Cabinets

Pros of RTA Cabinets


One of the key benefits of RTA cabinets is their price. RTA cabinets are often far less expensive than their factory-built equivalents, making them an appealing option for frugal homeowners. Because they are supplied unassembled, manufacturers can save money on shipping and labour, which benefits customers significantly. Furthermore, DIY installation reduces costs, making RTA cabinets an appealing option for budget homes.



RTA cabinets are quite convenient, especially for those working on a home renovation project. With simple assembly instructions and some equipment required, homeowners can quickly and efficiently construct their cabinets without the need for professional help. This convenience enables more flexibility in scheduling and project management.


Customization Options

Despite being pre-manufactured, RTA cabinets provide several customization choices to meet individual tastes and design preferences. Homeowners can personalize their cabinets by selecting from a variety of cabinet types and finishes, as well as hardware options, to create a distinctive and attractive look that complements their home decor. 


Cons of RTA Cabinets

Assembly Required

Assembling RTA cabinets can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, particularly for people with limited DIY knowledge or expertise. Improper assembly can lead to structural or functional concerns down the line. 


Limited Design Options

While RTA cabinets provide a variety of customization choices, they may not be as flexible and design-friendly as customized cabinets. Unlike traditional cabinets, RTA cabinets may not provide complete design guidance, leaving homeowners to rely on their creativity and research. Homeowners with special architectural requirements or uncommon layout arrangements may struggle to discover appropriate RTA solutions.


Potential Damage During Shipping

Since RTA cabinets are shipped in flat-pack form, there is a risk of damage during transit, such as scratches, dents, or missing parts. Careful inspection upon delivery is required to identify any issues and address them promptly.


How to Choose the Right RTA Cabinets for Your Needs

When selecting RTA cabinets for your home, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure you make the right choice:



Before ordering RTA cabinets, properly measure the dimensions of your kitchen or bathroom to determine the most appropriate cabinet sizes and layouts. RTA cabinets come in standard sizes, with variations to fit different kitchen layouts and setups. Understanding the sizes and variances is critical when choosing cabinets for your home. Consider ceiling height, wall space, and appliance place when optimizing storage and functionality.


Style and Design 

Choose RTA cabinets that correspond to your unique style and design preferences.  To create a unified look that complements the decor of your home, consider door style, finish, and hardware options. Whether you're looking for modern and minimalist or classic and ornate, numerous options match your preferences. However, keep in mind that each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, depending on your style tastes, and functional requirements.


Hardware and Accessories

Choosing the appropriate hardware for your RTA cabinets is important to ensure smooth operation and improve their overall appearance. Hardware options range from drawer glides and hinges to finishes and ornamental accents, allowing you to tailor your cabinets to your specifications. Examples like pull-out shelves and lazy Susans, as well as ornate moldings and trim, offering numerous customizing options. In addition to typical cabinet features, RTA cabinets include a choice of accessories and decorative components to improve their functionality and visual appeal. 



Establish a budget for your cabinet project and stick to it. RTA cabinets come in a wide range of price points, so it's essential to find a balance between quality and affordability. When evaluating options, take into account material quality, building methods, and warranty coverage to guarantee you get the best value for your money.


Designing and Planning RTA Cabinets For Your Home

Measure Your Space Accurately for RTA Cabinet Installation

Before purchasing RTA cabinets, it's essential to accurately measure your kitchen space to ensure a proper fit. Begin by measuring the measurements of the space where you intend to install the cabinets. Take precise measurements of the length, width, and height of the walls and floor area. Whether replacing old cabinets or creating a new layout, exact dimensions are critical to a successful installation.


Select Cabinet Sizes and Configurations

Based on your measurements and layout, choose the appropriate sizes and configurations of cabinets to fit your space. Consider your kitchen or bathroom's layout to find the ideal cabinet setup. Consider base cabinets, wall cabinets, and specialty cabinets, such as corner units or pantry organizers.


Utilizing Online Tools for Planning and Visualization

For homeowners seeking assistance with kitchen design, some RTA cabinet retailers offer design services or online tools to help visualize the layout and configuration of cabinets. Browse through the different styles and finishes of RTA cabinets to find ones that complement your home decor and personal taste. Consider factors such as door style, color, and hardware options. These online tools can be quite useful in ensuring that the final design satisfies your specifications and your sense of style.


Where to Buy RTA Cabinets

RTA cabinets are mostly available online, with stores providing a diverse range of styles and combinations. Because many RTA cabinets are only available online, ordering samples before your purchase is the best method to evaluate their appearance and feel. Additionally, some brick-and-mortar businesses might offer RTA cabinets, allowing customers to see them in person before making a purchase.


Before making a purchase, it's also essential to review the warranty offered by the RTA cabinet manufacturer. While warranties typically cover defects in materials and workmanship, it's crucial to understand the extent of coverage and any limitations that may apply.

Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets provide homeowners with a budget-friendly and simple way to upgrade their kitchen or bathroom. RTA cabinets provide greater flexibility and creativity in home renovation projects by offering a diverse selection of styles, materials, and customization options. Understanding what we discussed above about RTA cabinets allows homeowners to enjoy beautiful and functional cabinets that increase the overall appeal and value of their houses.

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