Is RTA Cabinets’ Stability on Par with Store-Bought?

Kitchen cabinets are stable and sturdy. You rely on them being able to hold heavy weights, even your full body weight if you lean or sit on them. You can cut on them, even chop meat with a heavy cleaver. Heck, you can even hammer on them while doing crafts or helping your kids with school projects, or maybe to crush up candy canes or graham crackers for a pie!

But what about cabinets you assemble yourself? Are RTA cabinets as good on stability as the kind you’d find at the hardware store, or that your contractor might install?

Sturdiness vs. Stability

There are actually two aspects to how stable a cabinet feels—the impacts it can absorb, and the weight it can hold, without rocking, giving way, or making things inside rattle. One of those is sturdiness, and while we can’t speak for all ready-to-assemble cabinets, ours are built every bit as sturdy as anything you or your contractor would find in a store.

If anything, they’re a little bit over-built, with hardwood plywood structural elements that are thicker than the industry standard. We do this partly because of our commitment to quality, but also because that makes them much less likely to be damaged during what can be some pretty novice efforts at assembly.

A professional carpenter would instinctively know not to rest an L-shaped section of a cabinet under its own weight, for example, while moving on to the next step; an inexperienced but enthusiastic DIY homeowner who maybe isn’t the best at fully reading the instructions before diving in … maybe not so much. Our cabinets are sturdy enough to stand up to even that kind of partially-assembled abuse in most cases.

Stability on the other hand, is more about installation than design. Let us explain…

There’s No Such Thing as Perfectly Flat

Even in the world of precision machining, there’s no such thing as perfectly flat. Sure, a machined part is only out of flat by a couple thousandths of an inch, but when moving into even the most finely-crafted wood, that gets a lot bigger, to hundredths or even sixteenths. Add in swelling and flexing from variation in temperature and humidity, and even the most skillfully manufactured cabinets are never going to be perfect on the top or the bottom.

And here’s another thing—floors aren’t even close to being as flat as the surfaces of manufactured cabinets. They swell and undulate more than you might imagine. This means anything with a flat bottom to support and distribute its weight, like a cabinet, is going to rock and be unstable by default. It’s why tables and most furniture have feet, not rails to support their weight.

So how do you fix that lack of stability? Shims. For every cabinet you install, you’re going to use a level to see if it’s flat, and slide shims, little wedges of wood, under the lowest parts until it is. This fact can seem a little disconcerting at first, and may be the source of the concern about RTA cabinets’ stability, but the truth is, all cabinets are shimmed.

Your contractor does the same thing. The only difference is when they do it, you don’t know about it. Then again, you also don’t know that they did it right, either … and that’s one of the great advantages of doing home improvement projects yourself!

When you order your new cabinets, don’t forget to pick up an installation kit! We have three kits ranging from just the essentials—the screws and shims an experienced DIYer would need—to kits appropriate for someone just getting started, who doesn’t own a lot of tools, and needs levels, screwdrivers, squares, wood glue, and more. Find them on our Kitchen Cabinet Accessories page as you build your order.

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DIY Kitchen Layout Essentials

The first step when you decide to take the plunge and go from dreaming about a kitchen renovation to actually diving in and finding out what it would really take, is to design the layout. Of course, you probably have some ideas of what you’d like, whether inspired by a magazine or website, a TV show, or even just a friend or relative’s house, but the kind of DIY kitchen layout we mean is more precise and specific, and lays the foundation for finalizing the details and actually ordering the materials.

Tips and Pitfalls

Whether you’re using the old-fashioned method of graph paper and pencil, or the easier method we’ll show you in just a bit, there are a few things to keep in mind overall, that will make your design work easier and also make sure you are able to enjoy the finished product once you put your plans into motion.

Immovable Objects

Plumbing lines, high-voltage electric outlets, and gas lines are things you can’t move, or can’t move much. That means certain fixtures are where they are, even if you upgrade them.

  • Fridges – Typically have the most leeway. Most refrigerators in the US use standard 120-volt power supplies, so in theory any plug could work. They do, however, draw a lot of power, 700 watts or more in full swing, so if you’ll be moving it to a different outlet (i.e. more than a foot or two from where it is right now), you’ll need to make sure that outlet’s breaker can handle it.
  • Stoves – Not much wiggle room, just however long the cord or gas line is. Keep in mind, you want to be able to pull it out without ripping the connections out of the wall, so going too far to the side isn’t a great idea. We recommend putting the stove placeholder where it is, and leaving it there, barring a few inches of play to make things fit.
  • Dishwashers – These tend to have more play than you’d think, with flexible drainage and fill lines, though still not more than a foot or two.
  • Sinks – Another fixture, unless you intend to do a fair bit of plumbing. If you don’t intend to open up floors or walls, a foot or two is all you have to work with.

Walkway Clearance

You need to be able to walk through your kitchen reasonably well, even when all kitchen cabinet and appliance doors are open. This means 24” of clearance in front of base cabinets and 30” in front of most appliances. You should also double-check to be sure you aren’t relying on a cabinet door opening into the same space as an oven or dishwasher door, as that isn’t likely to work out all that well.

Better than Graph Paper

Bearing these things in mind, we invite you to upgrade your DIY kitchen layout adventure from graph paper to something a little easier to use and more sophisticated. Come try out our free online DIY kitchen design tool. It uses a convenient drag-and-drop interface, with a look and feel a lot like graph paper, only every appliance and cabinet size is already perfectly scaled and measured for you. You just drag and drop them where you want them. You can move them around, save your work and come back later, and even track everything you’ve placed to make filling your shopping cart a breeze. Sign up today by clicking here.

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Professional Kitchen Cabinet Installation – Needed or Not?

The idea of installing an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinets can be daunting.  It seems much easier to just hire professionals to do it, and let them worry about everything.  If you have a free weekend, someone (or a few someones) to help you, and the gumption to do it yourself, you can install your kitchen just as well as any professional could, at a fraction of the cost!

Kitchen Cabinet Installation Tools

You will obviously need some tools, but not quite as many as you think.  All of the RTA kitchen cabinet lines we sell here at RTA Cabinet Store are very easy to put together, and you need nothing but a few tools such as a screwdriver, hammer, tape measure and perhaps a level, just to check things.

If you want to get everything that you could possibly need, check out the installation kits we offer to help our customers at  We offer them pretty much at cost so that you can get that kitchen installed yourself!

One more item that you might need for putting your upper cabinets up is a cabinet lift.  It’s good to check your local rental store, and a cabinet lift can be had at around 30 to 40 dollars a day or 120+ for a week.  Not too expensive, and well worth the cost!

Kitchen Cabinet Information

There are many instructional videos online on how to install RTA kitchen cabinets, and they are well worth watching.  Spend an hour or two getting to know the process of installing, and learn all the techniques and tips you can.

To get started, make a good plan of your kitchen, and of how you will install the cabinets, and stick to it.  Make sure you confirm that all your walls are level (floor too!) before you begin, as you will need to compensate with shims if a wall or floor isn’t exactly perfect.

Go ahead and save that money and do it yourself!  You could spend the savings on better kitchen appliances or some kitchen cabinet accessories such as Rev-A-Shelf!  Make sure you get the right cabinets though, or you could have a hard time with them.

Would you like to get the inside scoop on buying cabinets online, including common dirty tricks and misconceptions? Get The Consumer’s Guide to Buying Kitchen Cabinets—it’s a free downloadable book that will help put your mind at ease.

Go to it, and good luck!

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Inexpensive Kitchen Cabinets Have Been Found!

When building a house, or even remodeling a kitchen, it’s always a good thing when you save some money.  But sometimes, you need to spend the extra money to make sure you get the quality, stability, beauty and longevity you need on certain things, and kitchen cabinets are top of the list.

Most people get the best kitchen cabinets they can afford, even sacrificing other items or levels of quality in different parts of the house just to be able to raise their budget for the kitchen.  Things are different than they used to be.  You can have everything you want in a cabinet for a surprisingly reasonable price.  RTA kitchen cabinets are the answer!

RTA Kitchen Cabinets and Quality Levels

Let’s qualify our following statements by saying that not all RTA kitchen cabinets are made equal.  We here are RTA Cabinet Store make sure that each line of cabinets we sell are of the highest quality.  There are some places, though, that have lower quality cabinets, and that’s fine for them, but we prefer to have the best available to our customers.

Our RTA kitchen cabinets are made in factories at the highest standard possible, and with every available advanced technology applied in the creation process, ensuring the most advanced and stable cabinet you could possibly get, even more so than custom.

The specifications are so exact, that the slightest deviation in one of our RTA kitchen cabinet pieces marks it for immediate recycling.  This ensures that nearly every cabinet shipped is perfectly formed, and ready for assembly.  Check out some of our cabinet lines here:

Save Money

Because of the nearly automated process of making the cabinets, and the advent of cheaper shipping, RTA kitchen cabinets are much cheaper than other options.  Selling through a virtual storefront such as ours also allows us to offer the cabinets at a much cheaper price than a brick and mortar store.  You CAN get the quality, stability, beauty and longevity you need in your kitchen cabinets and save money at the same time!

You’ve gotten a lot of information about kitchen cabinets, but how do you put it all together? Get help today with a free kitchen design consultation by one of RTA Cabinet Store’s professionally trained designers. Just go to or give us a call at 1 (610) 337-5934 to get started!

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What’s Up with Shaker Kitchen Cabinets?

Elegant_White_ShakerIf you have ever been in more than one home in your life, you have probably seen Shaker style kitchen cabinets, even if you didn’t know the name.  They are the most ubiquitous style of kitchen cabinet in the United States, and most likely, the world.  They are great looking, stable, and most of all, easy to make, i.e. very cost effective and lower priced than many other cabinet styles.

Shaker Kitchen Cabinet Construction

What makes a cabinet style Shaker?  It’s pretty simple really.  Each cabinet door and drawer has five panels which make up its construction.  Four of the panels make up the frame of the door, and are of equal width.  These are all thicker than the 5th panel, which is recessed behind, and framed by, the rest of the panels.  It’s like a simple, rectangular picture frame with the same color canvas in the center!

Also, for strength and visually clean lines, the horizontal frame panels slot into the vertical panels, making the joins vertical, and stronger for a cabinet door or drawer as compared to horizontal joins.

Shaker Kitchen Cabinets—Styles Galore!

Traditional Shaker kitchen cabinets are white.  This is the color that used to define the Shaker style.  Check out our line of White Shaker Kitchen Cabinets, here:

Things have changed and advanced, though, and now there are many Shaker styles available.  One style we sell quite a bit of here at RTA Cabinet Store is the Arlington Linen Shaker (, which has thinner and beveled frames on the doors and drawers, and elegant trim for the upper lines of the top cabinets.

More than a third of our RTA kitchen cabinet lines are Shaker styles, including wood face, veneer, white, dark, and medium colors.  Shaker kitchen cabinets are also very easy to maintain and clean.  And, on the off chance something does happen to a cabinet face, or even box, these cabinets are so popular that there is pretty much a guarantee that replacement parts will be available for many years to come.

Check out some Shaker RTA kitchen cabinets today, and be sure to sign up for your no obligation, completely free kitchen design consultation with one of RTA Cabinet Store’s professional designers at!


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Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinet Doors

When choosing kitchen cabinets, everyone wants the best.  The desire for the best, however, is usually tempered by the need to stick within a budget.  Because of the budget, people often make compromises, and the compromise is usually the quality of the cabinets, rather than the look.

Unfortunately for many unsuspecting buyers, it’s pretty easy to find good looking, but low-quality cabinets for a reasonable price.  As technology has advanced, good quality cabinet prices have come down, however.  There is an answer to the conundrum of price vs. quality, and that answer is RTA kitchen cabinets!

RTA Kitchen Cabinets

While not all cabinets are created equal, the RTA kitchen cabinets we sell here at RTA Cabinet Store are manufactured to be of the highest quality, using materials that are intended to last the lifetime of your home.  Instead of cheap particle board, almost every line of our cabinets uses all-wood construction, including using veneered plywood doors on lines where there would normally be a chance where the wood might warp or split.  Check out one of our lines with all-wood construction:

Solid Wood Doors

Since your RTA kitchen cabinet doors are pretty much the most used part of your kitchen, they take the most wear and tear, and suffer the most bumps and dings.  This is where wood construction is so important.

Particle board doesn’t do very well with hard knocks, routinely denting and scratching much easier than wood.  Well treated wood also better resists the stressors of heat and dampness. The heat and damp can warp and crack door and drawer faces, especially if they are made cheaply.  A solid wood door or plywood with veneer is much stronger and has a much better chance to resist, well, everything!


In case you were wondering, high grade plywood is often stronger than regular wood.  Layered together at right angles and in multiple layers, plywood has a very high tensile strength, and is very resistant to torsion.  Having no bendability and being super resistant to cracking and warping makes it a perfect substrate for a wood veneer, and for the boxes of a cabinet.  As plywood can also be made from any species of tree, oftentimes cabinet lines use the same species of tree in their plywood as the doors and drawers of the line.  This means super-strong boxes, shelves, and doors, all made of wood of the same type.

You can learn more about plywood, and other specifications that make RTA kitchen cabinets of such high quality by clicking this link to get your free downloadable copy of The Consumer’s Guide to Kitchen Cabinets.


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