The advantages of Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) outdoor furniture

This month we’re looking at the advantages of Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) outdoor furniture and tackling head-on the myth that it is of lesser quality than furniture supplied pre-assembled...

We’ve received a couple of comments in our Trustpilot reviews that, whilst they love our furniture, expressed surprise that it was supplied as Ready-To-Assemble (RTA).

So, the team here at Lazy Susan HQ thought it would be beneficial to explain the advantages of Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) outdoor furniture, clarify why we ship our products this way and, in the process, bust a few of the myths that exist around outdoor furniture supplied in this way.

First things first, let us clarify what we mean by RTA. Wikipedia defines it as:

“Ready-to-assemble furniture (RTA), also known as knock-down furniture (KD), flat pack furniture, or kit furniture, is a form of furniture that requires customer assembly. The separate components are packed for sale in cartons which also contain assembly instructions and sometimes hardware. The furniture is generally simple to assemble with basic tools such as screwdrivers, which are also sometimes included.”

Of course, the most famous proponent of RTA furniture is Ikea, and the entry on Wikipedia goes on to say about the development:

“In the Scandinavian countries, the furniture kit may have been independently invented by Swedish technician Gillis Lundgren, who had the idea when trying to transport a table in his car. According to reports, he had to saw off the table's legs so he could put it inside the car and bring it home. He talked about the idea with his boss at IKEA, and IKEA started selling flat-pack furniture in 1956.”

This brings us to the first myth regarding this type of furniture... Whilst, Ikea furniture was originally designed to be easy to transport, their ethos has developed to create a range that is well-designed, functional, durable, affordable and sustainable. But it is that word affordable.

The advantages of supplying outdoor furniture as ready-to-assemble

Many mistake affordable for cheap or of poor build quality but that is simply not true. The reason Ikea’s furniture is at a lower price point is that they utilise materials such as particleboard that are much cheaper than real wood. The actual design and construction are extremely high. And let’s be honest, you can’t compare a Billy bookcase to an antique Chippendale, so for what you pay, you get a very good product.

However, take a better material like a high-grade sand cast aluminium and supply it as RTA and you have a solution that is also well-designed, functional, durable, affordable, and sustainable, but also of a high-quality finish. It is perfectly suited to the construction of outdoor furniture but the RTA has a number of distinct advantages in our industry.

The advantages of supplying outdoor furniture as ready-to-assemble

Here at Lazy Susan, our easy-to-build furniture is mostly supplied as RTA, be it a garden table, chair, bench or lounger, and this has a number of advantages over supplying it as either a solid piece or pre-assembled.

If we take a garden table as an example, this is supplied with 4 legs off the tabletop, carefully packed with protective wrapping. It is easy to assemble and once out of the packaging, can be easily self-assembled in around 15 minutes. 

Also, a solid cast aluminium chair would simply not work. The simple nut and bolt construction of our furniture is what gives it both its stability and the flexibility needed when weight is applied. 

The advantages for both us and the customer in supplying our furniture range as RTA are:

  1. Delivery
    It allows us to deliver the furniture direct to your front door easily and safely with minimal risk of damage.
  2. Build
    It gives you the option to disassemble and reassemble. For example, you can remove the table legs from the top to store them, taking up significantly less space in your shed or garage.
  3. Design
    It allows us to create more intricate and beautiful designs but with the durability needed for outdoor use.
  4. Price
    It means we can supply quality outdoor furniture at affordable prices without compromising on durability.
  5. Shipping
    The cost of shipping is lower as multiple pieces can be packed on a pallet saving us and allowing us to pass that on to the customer
  6. Flexibility
    They are easy to ship, disassemble and put together so if you need to move house you can dismantle, transport and reassemble your furniture.
  7. DIY
    Self-assembly means you do not have to pay or we don't have to charge our customers to build the furniture.

The myths of flat pack and RTA outdoor furniture

We already touched on the perception that self-build furniture is of a lesser quality but that’s a myth. It is the quality of the materials and method of construction that determine if it is of poor quality.

Supplying high-grade aluminium that is easy to build with a simple nut, washer and bolt assembly is the logical solution for online retailers such as us.

Another myth is that RTA furniture designs are limited and simple but, again, that is simply not true. Our furniture is classical in design and we offer a number of intricate design styles and patterns.

To those who say that RTA furniture is complicated to build or the instructions are difficult to follow, that might be the case with something more complex like a wardrobe but it's another myth in our industry.

Asembly Instructions for our June Garden Table Asembly Instructions for our June Garden Table

The instructions for our best-selling June Garden Table are shown above. 2 pages. 2 steps. 15 minutes to build-time tops. Simple!

How we make our cast aluminium garden furniture

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

Our designs are classically styled, just like the traditional sand-casting process we use to make them.

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

Sand casting is an ancient method of moulding molten metal that can be traced back to 4000 BC.

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

The process starts by creating wooden moulds, placing them into the sand and pouring the molten high-grade aluminium to form a cast. 

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

Once set, the material is removed and the details are carved, creating a mould for each component part of our garden furniture.

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

The sand casting process is repeated with these moulds and the parts are carefully removed.

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

Finally, they travel through each workshop being cleaned, polished, powder coated and detailed by hand.

How we make our Garden Furniture Collection

How to assemble Lazy Susan RTA garden furniture

Here at Lazy Susan, we provide clear instructions, parts and tools for the construction of our RTA garden furniture, and the video above runs through the assembly of our June Garden Table.

Where you see a crossed-through spanner symbol on your instructions, this simply means that, at this stage of assembly, you need to only loosely tighten the bolts in the diagram. 

Later in the assembly process, when all four legs are attached, you will be prompted to tighten them up using the spanner provided. 

This is especially important when attaching your garden table’s legs as it allows you to correctly position and align the legs so they are level

On some items, such as our garden chairs, you may find that certain nuts and bolts have already been attached to the individual parts, for your convenience. This is primarily on the bases of our chairs but any other loose fixings will be provided in a separate sealed bag.

If you have any questions about assembly, our Customer Service Team are always happy to help. 

Lazy Susan RTA garden furniture assembly tips

Before you start building your ready-to-assemble Lazy Susan furniture, our product development team has compiled a few helpful tips and tricks:

  1. Protect It
    If building on your patio, put something down to protect the cast aluminium parts - A large piece of cardboard (such as the box we ship it in) or a soft picnic-type blanket is perfect.
  2. Don’t Force It
    Always make sure any bolts etc go in straight/are lined up straight.
  3. Keep It Loose
    Keep all fixings loose at first to make it easier to connect each part.
  4. Finger Tight
    Finger-tighten all bolts/screws before finishing with the supplied tools (spanner/screwdriver) - This will ensure everything is straight before you tighten.
  5. Lubricate
    Apply a little WD-40 into a screw hole or inside of a bolt to reduce friction if need be.
  6. Not Too Tight
    Never over-tighten/over-torque any of the bolts as you can damage the aluminium and the painted finish.
  7. No Power
    Do not use power tools they can easily over-tighten and cause damage.
  8. Cap It
    Fix the supplied bolt/screw caps to help prevent them from rusting.
  9. Get Organised
    Use a tray or plastic tub to keep all loose parts such as the bolts together and safe from rolling away.
  10. Align It
    Make sure you use and position all washers, etc correctly.

If you have any photos of your new Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture mixed assembled and looking fab on your patio, then we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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