Available in countertop and undercounter versions, RTA cabinets help save money. You can spend double the amount on custom cabinets. Get to know the brands, how they are built, the quality of the wood and the finish, before you buy imported things.

Beware of these factors in imported RTA cabinets.

• Look for pleasing colors and finishes.
• Hand finishing lasts longer than spray finishing.
• Best to avoid cam locks and die assembly.
• Component replacement made easy by local manufacturers.
• Determine quality and ask questions about breakage.

Some shopping tips
As for the hardware, make sure the sliders are of good quality and close smoothly. Does it have self-closing hinges? Find out about replacements and damage and how long it would take to receive new parts. Cabinets made in America would be better and more convenient. If it’s a shelf, you don’t need to replace the entire cabinet. Finish material made in America would be better because the imported ones have a poor coating. Hand-clean siding is better deeper and more expensive due to labor and materials.

Some imported RTAs offer authentic die assembly with fasteners and glue that can be screwed on or nailed on. What happens over time is that the wood expands and contracts and starts shifting and peeling as well. An American manufacturer offers dovetail technology, which means that unraveling cannot occur after assembly.

Examine the drawers and doors. Consider your preferences like a full overlay or pocket door. Do you have a particular color in mind? Maybe you can buy an unfinished piece if you want to apply the finish? Chinese imports do not allow all that flexibility and domestic products may be better.

Would you buy Chinese RTAs?
Why not go to China with affordable prices and good standards? Buying domestic frees you from some worries, like getting spare parts. However, many manufacturers in China are doing quite well and their products are definitely worth buying. If you are a smart shopper, you know the pros and cons of imported RTAs. Please buy accordingly with understanding. Be prepared for amazingly low prices, coming directly from the factory.

Chinese cabinets are made from plywood and that’s cheap. The design is easy to assemble. Avoid relying on cam locks alone and use glue for added strength. The 6 to 8 door style and various commonly available finishes are inexpensive. Mix and match will not be possible. There are limited options available regarding door styles in terms of colors and glass doors are not to be found. The common wood is Russian birch. Buy with confidence.

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