RTA or ready-to-assemble is also known as knock-down furniture or flat-pack furniture is the new form of furniture that is on the trend lately. It is not only convenient but also budget-friendly. It is not only limited here, it is also a great form of bonding between peers, families, and friends as you all work together to assemble. Over the years, RTA furniture demand has globally increased especially due to convenience in transportation as well as customer convenience. RTA furniture is the first choice for rented houses and small homes as it is easy to set-up or dismantle and the compressed packaging allows the customer to move it around easily. The instruction manual and the simple tools provided in the packaging make the assembling easier. RTA comes in a wide range including RTA desks, bookcases, tables, chairs, and beds and the segment is on an increase in form of design, size, and weight so that customers can choose from a wide variety.
RTA Furniture or Fully-Assembled Furniture?
When considering whether to buy RTA furniture or fully assembled furniture, there are a few differences that you should take into account. The first one is COST. Budget is always the main concern. RTA furniture is less expensive than fully assembled furniture as RTA is broken down into small components into a compact box hence reducing space consumption, and freight charges. If budget is your concern then RTA is a must-have. But if we consider the CONVENIENCE factor then fully assembled furniture is worth it. RTA furniture can range in difficulty from simply attaching the legs of a sideboard to intricate detailing which can consume take multiple hours as well as people. When you buy fully-assembled furniture you can use it right away. If time is your priority then go with fully assembled furniture. The third is SPACE CONSTRAINTS. Fully assembled furniture will need a good space to accommodate it. Especially executive desks, conference tables, and other large pieces. When ordering larger pieces you need to be sure about the size as well as the delivery options. Measure rooms, hallways, stairs, and doorways and then take the decision.
Components of RTA Furniture
RTA or Flatpack furniture generally includes materials such as melamine or any other laminate, thin wood, wood grain paper, PVC rubber sheet, paint, and so on. For low or mid-range furniture these latter four finishes are used but for high-end finish natural veneer is the top choice. RTA furniture is a combination of man-made panels as a basic material which are then surface treated to be used as main components later-on. The most environment-friendly is the melamine veneer but other different surface treatment methods are also available such as sticker spray paint, paint, veneer spray paint, vacuum blister, etc. If we peek into things generally, the price of RTA furniture consisting of board and wood is the highest while the price of wood-based panels is the lowest for melamine-covered stickers.
As with lay-up panels, there is no limit! Liners, Melamine paper, High-Pressure Laminate (HPL), veneers all are great ways to accomplish your customization. There are many reasons for using lay-up panels in furniture. Firstly, they are less expensive than using whole solid wood. Secondly, they weigh less than solid wood making them easier to transport as well as reducing the prices of the transport. Let’s define Melamine paper, Veneer, and HPL.
HPL or High-Pressure Laminate – HPL is the most durable and long-lasting surface material. Heat and high pressure are used to mold and carve it and then impregnate it with resin before applying it to the core layers. HPL is a great choice for families with young children as it has anti-bacterial properties and is flame resistant. It allows you to customize your designs with wood grains, abstract art, and metallic laminates. It is widely used in interior decoration, kitchen cabinets, laboratory tables, exterior walls as well as furniture.
Melamine or Medium Density Laminate is simply defined as particleboard that is laminated with a thermally infused paper or a resin coating to provide a hard, durable surface. Melamine is a great choice to be used commercially as well as for house supplies. It is a top choice for making cabinet carcasses as well as commonly used in RTA furniture. The main advantage of melamine is that is easy to clean as it is very resistant to stains and scratches. It is also resistant to chemicals. Melamine is also pretty economical and is a great choice for bathroom cabinet boxes, kitchen cabinets, shelves, etc. It is also heat-tolerant, moisture, and fire-resistant hence making it a great choice for kitchen or bathroom.
When to choose Melamine or Medium Density Laminate or HPL (High-Pressure Laminate):
Deciding whether to choose melamine or not depends on your budget, and the overall look you have been trying to achieve. If you want to have a long-term, highly-resistant (crack and scratch), and cost-effective option, you can opt for melamine. Melamine is best suited for vertical or low wear applications hence, making it great for home furniture and entertainment centers. On the other hand, if we talk about HPL, it is a real performer and can be used for vertical as well as horizontal applications. It is better suited to be used for commercial projects but it is also great for residential projects. Since it has the highest resistance of all, melamine as well as veneer, it is great for areas with high traffic. But HPL is not cost-effective if compared to melamine. For a more affordable alternative, you can always switch to melamine.
Things To Consider Before or While Assembling an RTA Furniture
RTA furniture is a great way to save some money but given the fact that you do not mind putting a little elbow grease to assemble it. If you are into cost-effectiveness but are not eager for the assembly process and the hard work, you need to consider a few things before putting your furniture altogether.
Always keep your tools handy:
Most RTA furniture will include special tools that are needed for assembly, but it is always good to have certain tools handy if you are putting together multiple pieces of furniture at a time. You should always have Allen and hex wrenches in various sizes, screwdrivers in various sizes, and a hammer handy.
If your RTA furniture comes with an Allen wrench then save it for later use as this type of furniture tends to settle over time, so may need to use those to retighten the bolts every once in a while. Pro-tip: Tighten your screws every six months. Also, Use of the power tool is not recommended on RTA furniture as too much force may damage the material.
Always read the instructions first:
Many of us are habitual of throwing away instructions but, behold! You need to read all the instructions thoroughly before starting the assembling process. Make sure that you have all the required tools beforehand. Once done, follow the steps carefully in a sequential manner or in-order. RTA furniture is difficult to take apart once done so assembling it rightfully is very important.
Tighten the bolts altogether in the end:
Instead of tightening the bolts as you go, always tighten them all together in the end. If you tighten them as you go, the pieces might pull in different directions making it difficult to insert the bolts in the first place. But putting the bolts loosely first and then tightening them once done will work things smoothly.
Always call for extra help:
Two minds are better than one! This is true in every case. Always keep a friend or relative with you like support or an extra helping hand. This will not only make your work fun but also keep the workflow smooth.
The final choice is always the consumers. This being said, this blog has covered all the basic information on RTA furniture including the differences, components, when to choose, and why. Also, the tips to consider before the beginning of assembling. Hopefully, it will be a great guide to help you through the furniture shopping and making it worthwhile!