Overlay Cabinet Construction & Inset Cabinet Construction

Cabinet Construction 

At RTA Wholesalers, we have a few types of cabinet designs to choose from:

1) Overlay which is available in 1/2", 1-1/4" and Full Overlay

2) Inset which is available as Semi-Custom or Full Custom 

 Whether you prefer the classic look of Inset cabinets or the modern look of Overlay cabinets, we offer both styles at affordable prices without compromising quality.

The Inset Kitchen Cabinet is a style that showcases the entire Face Frame. The doors and drawer fronts sit inside the cabinet face frame opening with precise 1/8" spacing around them. This design is highly favored by designers and decorators for its aesthetic appeal. It is considered to be one of the most elegant styles available and delivers superior quality.

Assembly  ]Instructions for Inset Cabinets - Click here.

The Overlay Kitchen Cabinet is the most popular type of cabinet in the United States. It is a versatile design that complements a variety of kitchen styles, from traditional to contemporary. This cabinet type features doors and drawers that are larger than the cabinet openings, covering the face frame and creating a seamless appearance.

At RTA Wholesalers, we offer three different sizes of Overlay cabinets: 1/2", 11/4", and Full Overlay. The 1/2" Overlay cabinet style is the most popular in the United States and features a 1" reveal of the face frame around the doors and drawers. This design provides a classic and timeless look that many homeowners like with the benefit of the low price.

Our Overlay cabinets are crafted with the highest quality materials and are available in a range of colors to suit your style preferences. Whether you are renovating your entire kitchen or simply updating some of your cabinets, our Overlay cabinets are an excellent choice for their durability, functionality, and style.

Our 1/2" and 1" Overlay cabinets are perfect for residential use and feature a sturdy 1/2" thick plywood construction for long-lasting durability. The solid hardwood face frame, drawer frame, and door frame lend a premium, high-end look to these cabinets, making them an excellent choice for contractors and tradesmen. The drawers feature dovetail corners and full-extension, soft-close hardware, while the doors boast concealed hinges that are adjustable in six different ways.

If you are looking for maximum coverage, our Full Overlay cabinets are a great choice. They offer a beautiful and seamless appearance that can elevate the look of any kitchen.

We also offer the Inset cabinet style, which is typically custom-ordered from a local cabinet maker. However, we now offer this style in RTA Cabinetry, making it more accessible and affordable for our customers. Our Inset cabinets feature solid birch cabinet fronts, 5/8" birch plywood materials, and solid wood face frames, doors, and drawers. We offer four different styles to choose from at reasonable prices.

Our cabinet sizes are designed to fit most any kitchen layouts and needs. The base cabinets, pantry cabinets, wall refrigerator cabinets, and wall oven cabinets are all 24" deep for both overlay and inset cabinets. However, overlay cabinets extend 3/4" further out from the wall than 24" deep cabinets. The wall cabinets for the overlay style are 12" deep, while the Inset upper cabinets are 14" deep, providing more shelf space due to the inset door and door stop.

The Toe Kick height is 4-1/2" on all cabinets and requires a Toe Kick skin to span from cabinet to cabinet, covering the seams between each cabinet. It is recommended to keep the Toe Kick at the manufactured height without modification.

Our Inset Face Frames are 1" thick solid wood with a second "Stop" face frame behind. The width of the Face Frame is 1-1/2" wide for both the stiles and rails (unless specified) and an additional 1/2" on the Stop Frame. This design provides an elegant and refined look that is sure to impress.


Cabinet Box - Sides, top and Bottom

The cabinet box is an essential component of any kitchen cabinetry as it serves as the foundation of the cabinets. Our overlay cabinets feature a cabinet box that is constructed with high-quality 1/2" plywood material, making them sturdy and long-lasting. Plywood is a durable material that offers excellent strength and stability, making it an ideal material for cabinet boxes.

Our inset cabinetry is constructed with 5/8" birch plywood, which is a premium grade material that offers superior durability and strength. Birch plywood is a popular choice for cabinetry as it is known for its strength, stability, and resistance to warping and cracking. This material is an excellent choice for inset cabinets as it provides the necessary support to keep the cabinets in place and prevent any unwanted movement.

Both overlay and inset cabinets offer their unique advantages, and the choice ultimately depends on the homeowner's preferences, price point and needs. However, regardless of the style chosen, customers can be confident that their cabinets are built with the highest quality materials to ensure they are both functional and long-lasting.

Exposed Ends of Cabinets

The exposed end of a cabinet will require a "Skin". Most cabinetry has natural interior and exterior "Box" plywood which will require the skin to give a finished color. Skins can be glue applied or fastened with brads or nails.

The 1-1/4" Overlay cabinet does not require skin panels for exposed sides since they are factory finished to match cabinet front. Toe kicks require toe kick skins.

Back of Cabinets

The back panel of a cabinet is an important component that provides structural support and stability. Our overlay cabinets feature a back panel that is constructed with 1/2" plywood for added strength and durability. Additionally, the back panel also includes 1/2" engineered backing, which provides additional reinforcement to ensure the cabinets remain sturdy over time.

Engineered panels are for strength. The material is a plywood panel with plywood perimeter  strips. There is NOT any particle board or other man made materials in the engineered panel.

For our inset cabinets, the back panel is constructed with 5/8" thick engineered material, which provides superior strength and stability. The engineered material is specially designed to resist warping and cracking, ensuring the cabinet back panel will remain structurally sound over time.

The cabinet backs are designed to fit perfectly into routed grooves in each cabinet and have either cam screw connections or factory brackets for easy and secure installation. The cam screw connections provide a tight, secure fit, while the factory brackets offer a quick and easy installation process.

By using high-quality materials and precision manufacturing techniques, we ensure that our cabinets are built to last. The cabinet back panels are an essential component of the overall cabinet structure, and our commitment to using high-quality materials ensures that our cabinets will remain sturdy and reliable for years to come.


Overlay cabinets have 3/4" plywood shelves and the Inset style has 3/4" thick plywood shelves. The plywood material is edge banded to give the furniture finish look and all cabinet interiors are clear finished with a natural birch wood base.

Color of Cabinet Interior

  • The interiors of most cabinetry is a clear UV acrylic finish on natural maple wood. The interior of the cabinet is a quality finish that compliments the exterior of the cabinet.
  • Some cabinets with painted finish are also painted on the interior as all exposed sides. Check cabinet description for details.

Dovetail Drawers and 5 Panel Doors and Drawer Fronts

Our drawer are all 1/2″ solid wood with dovetailed joinery. Overlay and Inset cabinetry have drawer boxes made of solid birch sides with dovetail joints. The bottom of all drawers is 1/4" plywood. All cabinetry come with quality drawer hardware that will extend out of the cabinet completely (full extension) and glide smoothly when closed to "catch" and soft close the last few inches.  

Knobs and handles are not supplied and no preparation is done to the doors for this hardware. Customer must supply handles and drill the doors/drawer fronts accordingly to install their handles..

Our cabinets are far superior to many cabinet lines available. Many companies use MDF or particle board as their main material for both the cabinet and cabinet door/drawers while we use solid Birch hardwood for the cabinet fronts and solid cabinet quality plywood for the cabinet sides, bottom and tops . The backside of our cabinets are engineered for stability of the cabinet where it is attached to the wall. 

Each door is made of quality Birch hardwood. Shaker and flat panel doors have HDF material on the center panel to guarantee against warping. 

Inset cabinets have a unique look compared to European style or the standard overlay look. The inset door is flush with the face frame of the cabinet. This superior styling is a hard to find feature and widely desired as the best looking of the shaker line.


Each cabinet comes with the quality hardware to assemble your cabinet. Door hinges are hidden inside the cabinet and come with the "Soft Close" feature. When you close a door it will "catch" itself as it moves and slowly close without any assistance (no soft close on joined doors like lazy susan). Handles are not supplied.

Drawer hardware is an essential component of any cabinet, and we understand the importance of providing our customers with the highest quality products. Our drawer glides are beautifully operating hardware that is designed to provide smooth and effortless operation.

One of the key features of our drawer glides is "full extension". This means that when you pull out the drawer, it extends all the way out of the cabinet, providing complete access to the contents of the drawer. This is a convenient and practical feature that makes it easy to find what you need quickly and easily.

In addition to full extension, our drawer hardware also includes "soft close" technology. This means that when you slide the drawer back into the cabinet, the hardware will catch itself and slowly close the drawer. This is a gentle and quiet way to close the drawer, which also helps to prevent damage to the cabinet and the contents of the drawer.

All hardware manufactured by SH-ABC. (Click here to link to the drawer slides website)

The cam screw and lock sets are manufactured by SH-ABC model 911-A5 or 911-A1-B1-C1

Overall, our drawer hardware is designed to provide you with the best possible user experience. Whether you are using your drawers for storing utensils, pots and pans, or other items, our drawer glides will ensure that your cabinets operate smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

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