WNY Handyman

Kitchen Cabinet Disccussion RTA

Here is a recent discussion that I had with someone on a real estate investors message board. (REIClub.com). I felt that it would be helpful for others who are considering a purchase of ready to assemble kitchen cabinets (RTA cabinets). The poster, Tony, had a few good questions that many others will probably share. Consider this a kitchenyourway cabinet review.

I saw your post on the Kitchen Your Way Cabinets. I am very interested in these cabinets. I have priced my entire kitchen, received samples, I even ordered a single cabinet (unfortunately UPS destroyed it when delivering it). I was also impressed with the drawers (the dovetail joints are standard) and doors. I was a little concerned with the box, actually the cams, they seam a little weak.

I was hoping to get a little insight from you. Are the cabinet boxes strong enough once attached to the walls? Are you having any problems with weight inside the cabinets? The hardware seams to be sturdy, have you found the same thing?

Any information that you could provide regarding your experience with these cabinets would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, for your time I will be looking forward to hearing from you. You can either reply to this message or email me at ——

Thanks,

Tony
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Re:Kitchen Your Way Cabinets on: Wed. Apr 19, 2006, 07:04 AM

Tony,

The boxes are strong enough when attached to the walls. The cams might seem a little weak, but they do the job. I considered stiffening the cabinet up by running a bead of construction adhesive where the cabinet sides meet the face frame. This would really solidify the carcass and would eliminate any concerns. However, as the project when on, I didn’t take that extra step. It really wasn’t needed. There is so much stiffness added when the cabinets are attached to the wall and to each other, that you gain a lot of strength.

I can understand your concern about the cams holding up under the weight of cabinet contents, but it shouldn’t really be an issue because of all the points that share the load. If you do have a concern, construction adhesive will do the job. I had to cut down a pantry cabinet to fit around a chimney in a corner. I cut the cabinet down and had to remove the cams. Try removing a cam if you want some assurances of the strength they have. A couple didn’t have much adhesive, but the ones that did were a real bear.

The hardware seems sturdy enough. The dovetail drawers were a bonus. Because the drawers are dovetailed, the drawer box will be more stiff and the drawer slides will last longer. The hinges and drawer slides seem like the standard issue ones that you find with most mid level cabinets. Even if they gave out, changing those doesn’t in the future affect the integrity of the cabinet and would only add to the quality.

I did order a side panel (refrigerator) and it was essentially a 1/2″ piece of plywood with some edge banding. There was no 1″x2″ face frame on it. On top of that, the panel really warped. In fact, it warped in 2 directions. I made my own face piece and also added one at the top to stiffen the whole thing up. I used 1″x2″ poplar (my stain matched up better on poplar than on maple) and routed a dado to accept the 1/2″ panel. There was no trouble after that. I would not pay for a side panel again. I would make my own if needed again.

I was able to match up the stain pretty easily. I am not a finish guy, but it was pretty easy to get a match with the honey spice maple.

Which cabinet color/style did you order? I am working with someone on a garage and he wants to use these. I have only used the HSM. He wants to go with white to save some money. However, there is no face frame on those cabinets (the carcass is 3/4″ instead of 1/2″ though). Let me know what you used and how the finish looks.

I hope that this helps. Don’t hesitate to ask some follow ups.

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Thanks for your response, the information that you provided is very helpful. I have selected the sunset maple cabinets. I was planning to use wood glue on the face frames during the assembly process, it is good to hear that you feel that these cabinets are strong enough once attached to the wall and each other.

I was also planning to get a divider panel, and was concerned with what it was going to be like. Based on your information I think that I may remove the divider panel from my design.

What was your impression of the side panels of the cabinets? Two base cabinets and two top cabinets will have their sides exposed in my kitchen. Did you have any sides exposed? How do they look to you? The sample that I received didn’t look like the plywood sides were finished very well. I was wondering if a couple coats of poly would bring out the finish on the sides.

How did you finish the base cabinets at the bottom? Did you put some sort of full length kickplate in?

Thanks, again for your response.

Tony
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Re:Kitchen Your Way Cabinets on: Wednesday Apr 26, 2006, 08:24:29am

Tony

I did have some exposed sides, but they weren’t too bad in my case. There isn’t too much pattern to the wood because of the species used. You could really dress them up with 1/8″ or 1/4″ plywood (stained birch would probably be an OK match and the most economical). In my own kitchen (not the rehab), we have beadboard panels covering any exposed side panels. It looks great. You probably noticed that the cabinets from Kitchenyourway have an end that extends about 3/16″ – 1/4″ from end allowing plenty of room for a panel. Depending on the value of the home, I would determine my course of action. In then end, about $15-$40 for end panels would really dress things up for you.

I don’t think that a couple of coats of poly would help a lot. In the end, there isn’t much of a grain to bring out. I am sure it would look better since you will add some shine to it. A little bit of light sanding (use a scraper if you are a woodworker) between coats will help.

I actually ended up custom fitting a pantry cabinet and removing about 10″ in depth from one side (had to wrap a chimney stack). This left me with enough material to use as a toe kick that tied all of the cabinets together with a matching piece. I then added some shoe molding to that. It really gives it a custom look for a very low price. If I were in your shoes, I would probably buy a sheet of 1/8″ or 1/4″ maple plywood (price dependent – or birch if I could choose the sheet to make sure it didn’t have the dark streaks that a lot of birch does) to finish my end panels and give me toe kick material. This would kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Look for a ‘good one side’ (g1s) plywood. This is all you need and it will cut your price. I can buy 1/8″ x 4′ x 8′ sheet of birch for $12.29. I can buy a 1/4″ maple sheet for $16.99.

Send me some pics. I would love to see the sunset maple cabinets. I wanted to use those, but my wife felt it was too dark for the size of the kitchen.

Tony

Hope this helps.

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