RTA- Boon or Boondoggle?

May 21, 2015

Boon - a timely benefit : blessing.

Boondoggle- work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

 

RTA stands for Ready To Assemble. Many retailers offer kitchen and bath cabinets "RTA" or "flat pack."

This means the that cabinets arrive in a flat box and you are required to assemble them, prior to installation. Most come with a 1 page set of instructions which for the trained eye works most of the time. Cabinets like a lazy susan and wall diagonal corners are much more difficult and the instructions my not suffice. Some offer online videos to aid in your education.

 

Assembly methods vary. Quarter turn brackets, L brackets,  latch brackets and staples are the most popular. All require you to fit the pieces together  and then secure them. Screw driver, screw gun and a hammer will work for the bracket types. Cabinets needing staples,  require a set of power staplers and staples available from local hardware retailers, plus a screw gun. Glue is optional.

 

For DIY's the savings can be 10-20% over assembled cabinets when purchase and freight costs are  considered. Assume 20-30 minutes to assemble each cabinet and an hour for those corner cabinets.

If you have to pay someone to assemble the cabinets, calculate your labor costs and compare the savings. DIY caution:  cabinets need to be square to get best installation results.

 

My experience is; If you are hiring a contractor to install your cabinets, that they hate to do assembly and they value their time to provide more constructive services than assembly.

 

There are times where RTA is required. Check the size of every door need to transverse to get to the kitchen. Lazy Susan's are 36"x 36" (typical) and my not fit thru your doors.

 

Double check your ceiling height. If you are purchasing a pantry remember that a 96" tall box can't be stood upright inside a 96" ceiling. Moreover, most ceilings aren't perfect so the height may not be the same everywhere. This is also true if you plan to run cabinets or molding to the ceiling. A common mistake is to take measurements in the "raw" forgetting that you need to deduct the 3/4-1 inch  depth for the new floor.

 

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