Cabinet Case: Pre-Assemble or RTA

February 21, 2018

Blurb: Kitchen cabinets are probably one of those elements of your home that you have to be careful with. They take up a lot of space in the kitchen, go through a lot of wear and tear and are aesthetically and functionally important to the whole kitchen. So what’s the best cabinet to purchase for your kitchen? The fancy Pre-Assemble or RTA?

LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-2If you’re thinking about purchasing new kitchen cabinets, then you’re probably going for a pretty big overhaul of your kitchen. Cabinets are a very important part of the area and your decision on what kind of cabinets to get might be crucial to the aesthetic and the entire ambiance of your home. So take a while to check your options, work up a budget and figure out what works best for you before you head out and make that change. Here are a few tips that may come in handy.

Pre-Assemble or RTA

There are two kinds of cabinets that you can purchase for your kitchen. Assembled kitchen cabinets are delivered assembled, and just have to be installed wherever you want them. It requires no building on the homeowner’s side and comes with everything intact.


LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-5RTA kitchen cabinets, on the other hand, come to your home unassembled. They require the customer to put everything together and build them at home or any location that is convenient to them. The cabinets come as different parts of a puzzle and require some effort from the installer. Because of this, they are comparatively cheaper than the assembled ones.

What’s Good About RTA Cabinets?

Most people think that RTA means that they are compromising on quality and buying mass
manufactured products. But, interestingly enough, that isn’t the case. While the first advantage of choosing this kind of cabinet is the cost itself, keep in mind that you can still choose the quality of the wood, whether you are winging it with the cheapest option or going for the best hardwood available.

When you’re out looking for cabinets to buy, keep the appearance of your kitchen in mind. Also, think about storage needs and tasks you perform in the kitchen. RTA cabinets are available in all sizes and configurations, small nook cabinets to the full-size ones that work as a pantry. These cabinets include many of the same quality features that are standard on custom made kitchen cabinets. Therefore, there is a little customization involved, giving you room to match the cabinets with the rest of your home.

LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-1Another plus is the ease with which you can assemble them. These cabinets come with pre-drilled holes and brackets and hinges. So you’d probably just need a screwdriver or mallet to get everything done.

There Are Some Challenges Though

Add-ons are always expensive. The directions that come with the cabinets are not always helpful. You will probably do better-watching videos online. While RTA cabinets cost less, they take more time and effort. Even the easiest cabinet will take about 40 minutes to finish (and that’s just one piece).


LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-4If RTA is too much work and effort, then assembled cabinets are your way to go. These cabinets are ready to install. And as soon as they reach you, you can call your nearest handyman to do the job for you.

Why Assembled Cabinets?

They require no assembly and are top quality in craftsmanship. They come with a better finish since they are assembled with the right tools and machines. And because they’re standardized they have more space for accessories like lazy Susans and more. They require no extra effort from the homeowner. And, they are also made from high-quality wood and will look just as good as a custom cabinet in your kitchen.

What’s Challenging About Them

LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-3While it does save time, pre-assembled cabinets come with their share of challenges. First, the shipping time – you will have to wait upwards of three months to receive your cabinets because of the time and effort it takes to make them. And because the manufacturer has to assemble the cabinets, and then ship them to you, the end cost (including an exorbitant shipping rate) will be rather high. For buyers in a time crunch, the RTA is usually a better option since they arrive pretty quickly and are relatively quick to install (including the assembly time) from the time of ordering.

Think Hard

Both RTA cabinets and pre-assembled cabinets have their advantages and drawbacks. So when you’re choosing one of these for your kitchen, take some things into consideration like time, money and the amount of labor involved from your side or the manufacturer. If you think you have the time to fix them up and want to save some money, then go for the RTA. But if you think you would rather wait than have to sit down with a rubber mallet, then the pre-assembled ones are yours for the taking.LifeDesign Home cabinet-case-6

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