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Kitchen Cabinets 101- The Difference Between Stock, Custom, and RTA Cabinets

Jul 19, 2008
A local Home Depot or Lowes is usually the first place people look when they are ready to remodel or build their kitchen. It's easy access. You can tell them what you want and they will lay everything out for you. They usually have a wide range of styles to choose from, and the cost is significantly less then your typical custom cabinet company.

High quality, custom kitchen cabinets can range anywhere from $20,000 - $100,000 for your average size kitchen. Unfortunately, the majority of homeowners can not afford to pay $100,000 for a new kitchen.

When it comes to remodeling a home or building one from the ground up, everybody is looking for a way save money. You don't want to sacrifice style for quality, but for the average person they have to find a happy medium to keep their renovation project within their budget.

Aside from custom cabinets, most cabinet manufacturers and distributors today (even the private label brands at the big box stores) are acquiring their materials and products from factories overseas. This reduces the cost per item by eliminating the labor cost, and allows them to pass some of the savings onto their customers. However, the big retail stores still have the high overhead cost associated with brick and mortar stores.

Most of these cabinets fall under the category of RTA cabinets or Ready-To-Assemble cabinets. If you can turn a flat head screwdriver then you will be able to construct these cabinets in no time.

The assembly is easy and the benefits are even better. But, if you could save even more money by buying direct, and skipping the store, would you? Well now you can. There is a new of distributors that are importing these cabinets and selling them direct to the consumer.

Dellivery time or lead time is another big selling point of RTA kitchen cabinets. If you compare the delivery time, quality and price of most RTA cabinets to a Lowes or a Home Depot, the RTA kitchen cabinets sell themselves. Since Lowes and Home Depot do not keep the majority of their kitchen cabinets in stock, they have to make them accordingly to each order, which could take several weeks if not months.

When purchasing RTA cabinets you are looking at about 8-10 business days for your order to be processed then around 2-4 days for shipping. The quality comparison is even more convincing. Your typical Lowes and Home Depot kitchen cabinets include multiple pieces made of particle board, which does not hold up well if you are not familiar with the material.

Good RTA kitchen cabinets are made entirely of real wood. The front of the each cabinet is made of solid wood and the sides are made of 1/2" or 3/4" finished plywood. The shelves are also made of 1/2" finished plywood along with the drawers as well.

As mentioned earlier, these are RTA (ready to assemble) cabinets. All that is needed to construct these cabinets is a flat head screwdriver in order to tighten the cam locks, which is a locking mechanism that is engaged with a simple twist of the wrist once two parts are fitted together.

If you still need to be convinced that RTA kitchen cabinets are your best bet for well made affordable cabinets, the price comparison seals the deal. A typical 10x10 kitchen at Lowe's and Home Depot easily goes for $6-$10k. That same estimate with RTA cabinets can be as little as $2-$4k.

So by choosing RTA cabinets for your next kitchen remodel not only can you save thousands of dollars that can be well spent on other parts of the house or just simply saved, you are getting solid cabinets that look great.
About the Author
Find out where the experts go to get all of their kitchen cabinets and accessories. Learn how to save thousand on kitchen cabinets by buying them where contractors and builders shop.
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