How to Paint an Internal BiFold Door
Internal bifold doors are great space-savers. They are often used for closets, pantries and laundry rooms. They fold onto themselves, reducing the amount of space required for the opening, making them a convenient option in smaller homes. It’s easy to paint internal bifold doors before they are hung, but once they’re in place they’re a little harder to work with. Here are a few tips to help you repaint your bifold doors as efficiently as possible.
You Will Need:
- Masking tape
- Tarp or plastic sheeting
- Paint (latex based)
- Paint brushes
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Sponge and bucket
- Microfiber cloth
The painting doesn’t take long, but the entire process could take a weekend, because of the time required for the paint to dry between each step.
How To Paint Internal Bifold Doors
- Place a large plastic sheet or tarp on the ground, and put two sawhorses on top of it, three or four feet apart, with a spring clamp on each sawhorse to prop up the folding part of the door, so that you can paint both the face and the edge in one go.
- Remove the doors from their tracks and put them on the sawhorses. Make sure that the fold is on the spring clamps. Carefully remove any knobs or handles from the doors.
- Clean the door, on both sides, using a damp rag. This is just to remove any surface dust and dirt.
- If you are painting a door that already has paint on it, and are worried that the existing colour might show through the fresh coat, strip the paint first. You don’t always have to do this. Sometimes, you can paint over the top of the existing coat, especially if you are using thick, dark latex based paints. If you think you need to stop the existing paint first, use a generous amount of stripper, peel the paint off with a scraper, and then neutralize the stripper with warm water and allow the door to dry for 24 hours before you start working on it again.
- Sand both sides of the doors using some fine-grid sandpaper, and then wipe away any dust using a microfiber cloth. This is to prepare the surface of the door to accept the paint. Once the door is ready to paint, cover the hinges with masking tape.
- The best paint to use is latex based paint, because it will achieve a nice, smooth finish, and it is suitable for indoor use. Stir the paint thoroughly before using it. Apply the paint to the panels using a brush that is either 1-inches or 2-inches wide (depending on the style of the door). Work from the middle outwards, and only paint the upward-facing part of the door, for now.
- Once you have covered the upward facing part of the door, you can move on to painting the edges and the outside of the panels.
- Allow the paint to dry (this could mean leaving the doors overnight), and then repeat the process again for the other side of the door.
- Allow the other side to dry overnight, and then re-attach the hardware to the door, remove the tape from the hinges, replace the hardware on the door, and then put the doors back into their tracks
Some Final Tips
If you want to paint the doors with different colors on each side, do one whole side, flip the door, and then use a fresh paintbrush for the other side. Paint the edges with the color on the side that is on the ‘outside’ when the doors fold, for a neat look.
It’s a good idea to remove the doors from the tracks before painting them. Painting the door while it is in place will likely look messy. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare the doors properly will do you a lot of good in the long term.
To stop the paint from running while you are painting, use an elastic band over the top of the paint tin. Dip the top inch or so of the bristles into the tin, then draw it out over the elastic band to remove any excess. If you do end up with runs or drips on the door, brush them away while they are still nice and wet. Make sure that the brush you use is clean and in good condition, with soft bristles. If it has gone hard or has caked on paint, throw it away and buy a fresh one.
It is important that you are patient and let the paint dry fully between each step, otherwise you could end up with a scuffed, damaged or uneven finish. Latex paint can be sticky when it is ‘not quite dry’. This means that it can show finger prints pretty badly. Giving the door a little extra time to dry will prevent that messy finish.
Painting an interior bifold door takes a little planning if you want to do a good job, but in the main it follows a similar process to painting a regular internal door. Use good paint brushes, and work systematically. Prepare the surface before you start painting, and you can look forward to a great finish.
Make sure that you work in a well-ventillated environment, especially when using paint strippers and paints. Wear a mask while you are sanding, and wear gloves when working with paint strippers. These chemicals can be quite toxic, so it’s important that you use them carefully and wear the right protective equipment when doing so.