Any experience with RTA (ready to assemble) cabinets-good or bad?

Fun2LearnJuly 3, 2013

I originally asked this question on the bathroom forum but didn't get any response, so thought I'd try here, since this forum is more active and "cabinet intensive"!! It appears that the companies that make RTA vanities also primarily make kitchen cabinets, too.

I would love some feedback on RTA (ready to assemble) vanities/cabinets that you may have had. Pros and cons? Suggestions of companies/brands to recommend or avoid?
I am especially interested in hearing about J & K and Forevermark, or Monda cabinets, among others.

I need to replace a small, 24" wide vanity cabinet in our teens'/guest bathroom. I have "champagne taste on a beer budget". I would prefer a white painted finish and a plywood "box" that are commonly used in the RTA vanities vs. the thermofoil and particle board that you normally get in the big box store white vanities. (Our current builder's grade vanity's particle board sides are decomposing( from water from washing the floor and perhaps an overflowing toilet way- back- when?) so I am especially leary of particle board in a bathroom.) I have found that an RTA vanity would be about the same price, even including shipping, as a big-box store off-the-shelf vanity.
I want to go with white since the bathroom is so tiny already, (I feel a darker color would just make it feel even smaller) and the existing floor and wall tiles are bluish-gray and white. The existing oak vanity never went very well with the gray!

(BTW- I have already ordered a granite vanity top in "mission white" (white with gray)from Lowes, so the vanity has to be able to hold up under a heavy countertop!

Thanks for any feedback and help or advice you can give me.

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Did you search? I found Barker Cabinets through here, and they seem ideal for your application (3/4" plywood boxes should hold anything up).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The majority of RTA cabinets on the web are Chinese. With dealers that don't last more than a year selling them. Barker, Scherrs, and Conestoga are 3 exceptions. Do your research. You won't be saving that much money for a small order over buying from a cabinet company that will also sell vanities. Shenendoah, or American Woodmark at the box stores can do a pretty decent vanity for not much money. Aristokraft from a cabinet company also is decent quality.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I looked up Barker, Scherrs, and Conestoga and I couldn't find any white vanities on their sites.
I can't afford even the Shendendoah or American Woodmark type vanities, believe it or not. They start a $300-$400 for a small vanity. I can get a solid wood, painted RTA one for $200. I found a local dealer that had one in the size I needed in stock and he will assemble it for $10! I think I may go with that, unless someone has any good warnings about something I may not have thought of. It is by J & K cabinets, btw.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:37PM
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On the Barker site you just have to select the options. You can get them unfinished, clear varnish or one of two white paint colors.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:42PM
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I have used both Conestoga and Barker. The quality is high, the service is great. In the hands of a good DIY or contractor, they can be quickly assembled. The disadvantage of Barker is you need to stain yourself. I like staining and finishing but not every homeowner does. I will also confess that when facing 26 shelves I farmed out the work to our painter once I had the stain mix perfected.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Thanks everyone. Well, I found out that J & K cabinets (a large RTA cabinet distributor) had a local dealer not too far from me, (Global Home Products in Beltsville, MD) so I called them and they actually had the size and color vanity I wanted in stock. The price was $199, and assembly was only $10, for an all wood, painted white shaker style vanity. Even the center panel on the doors was solid wood --a true reverse raised panel (almost every RTA cabinet seems to use MDF for the center panel!) The cheapest, similar, special order cabinet from Home Depot or Lowes would have been between $300-400 (American Woodmark or Kraftmaid, etc.) I checked with Barker cabinets and they were quite expensive in comparison.

When I got to the dealer, I was surprised to see what a large showroom they had and how busy they were, even on a weekday afternoon. I believe that all their cabinet lines were RTA, and they had very good prices. The display kitchens and vanities looked very nice. The place seemed to be run mainly by Chinese people, ( a little hard to understand their accents, but very nice and helpful) so I imagine they don't have any problems communicating directly with those factories that make their cabinets over in China if they need to!
Anyway--I'm glad that I had them put the cabinet together, as when they opened the box there was some minor damage to the face frame part. So they used the face frame off the identical vanity that was on their showroom floor and were able to assemble my vanity. It does look gorgeous--esp. the doors.
Even the back is solid plywood with wood bracing. I suppose that makes it more sturdy, but it will be more work for my husband to drill holes for the plumbing.
Hope this helps someone else who might be wondering about RTA cabinets.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:26AM
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