Bifold doors, also known as bifold closet doors, are doors that fold into each other, similar to an accordion style. Painting your internal bifold doors can update the look of a room by adding a splash of colour or refreshing dated hardware.
With some preparation and the right painting technique, you can achieve a smooth, professional paint job on your bi-fold doors.
How to Paint Bifold Doors – A Step-by-Step Guide
Painting bifold doors can completely transform the look of a room. Whether you want to update the colour or refresh old, worn bifold doors, a new coat of paint goes a long way. Painting bifold doors is an easy DIY project that you can knock out in a weekend.
With some simple preparation, high-quality paint, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional results. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire bifold door painting process.
What You’ll Need
Before starting any paint project, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s what you’ll need to paint bifold doors:
- High-quality interior paint in your desired colour and finish
- Paintbrushes in various sizes
- Paint roller and roller cover
- Paint tray
- Drop cloths or tarps
- Painter’s tape
- Sandpaper (180-220 grit)
- Tack cloth
- Primer (oil-based or shellac-based)
- Mineral spirits or paint thinner
- Eye and hand protection (gloves, goggles, mask)
Make sure you have all these supplies on hand before you start applying the paint. This will allow you to work efficiently and avoid any delays.
Preparing the Bifold Doors
Proper preparation is crucial for achieving a smooth, consistent finish when painting bifold doors. Here are the key steps:
Remove the Doors
The first step is to detach the bifold doors from their hinges or tracks using a screwdriver. Place the hardware aside so you can easily reinstall the doors later. Taking the doors down provides much easier access for painting all sides and edges evenly.
Clean the Surface
Thoroughly clean each bi-fold door to remove any dirt, grease, or grime. Use a mild detergent and warm water solution. For stain removal, try a light abrasive cleaner. Completely rinse off any cleaner residue. Allow the doors to fully dry before you start painting.
Fill Any Holes or Imperfections
Examine the doors closely for any holes, cracks, dents, or other surface imperfections. Fill any small holes with wood filler and allow it to dry completely. Use painter’s putty or spackle for larger holes or cracks wider than 1/8 inch. Sand smooth any dried filler.
Sand the Doors
Lightly sand the entire surface of each bi-fold door using 180-220 grit sandpaper. This helps rough up the surface for better paint adhesion. Try to sand in the direction of the wood grain. Completely wipe off any dust with a tack cloth.
Applying primer is a must before painting bifold doors. Not only does it help the paint stick better, but it also provides an even, sealed surface. Use a high-quality oil-based or shellac-based primer. Carefully read and follow the primer directions for best results. Allow the primer coat to fully dry before painting.
Painting the Bifold Doors
Once you have properly prepared the doors, you’re ready to start painting. Follow these steps for flawless results:
Work in a Well-Ventilated Area
Paint fumes can be strong, so keep windows open and use fans to circulate fresh air. If working indoors, open as many windows as possible or run a fan to pull fumes outside. Consider wearing a respirator mask for added protection.
Spread Drop Cloths
Completely cover the floor and any nearby surfaces with drop cloths, tarps, or plastic sheeting. This protects floors from paint drips, spills, and splatter. Use painter’s tape to mask off any adjacent surfaces you don’t want painted.
Apply Paint in Thin, Even Coats
The key is applying multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat. Thin passes help avoid unsightly brush marks and drips. Use a high-quality acrylic latex paint formulated for interior doors and trim. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow each coat to fully dry before adding another.
Start with Door Edges
Paint all the door edges first using a paintbrush. This includes the outer edges as well as the edges around any interior panels or glass. Apply paint liberally but avoid excess dripping.
Use an Angled Paintbrush for Panels
For the interior panels of the bifold doors, use an angled trim paintbrush. This makes it easier to cut into the grooves and corners cleanly. Apply paint in smooth, even strokes while carefully following the panel lines.
Roll Large Surface Areas
Once the edges and panels are brushed, use a paint roller to coat the large central door sections. This creates a more uniform finish. Use a short nap or foam roller cover to avoid excess stippling or texture.
Inspect Between Coats
Check for any drips, thin spots, or brush marks after each coat dries. Make light touch-ups with a paintbrush before applying the next coat. Sand lightly if needed to smooth any obvious imperfections.
For the best durability and vibrant colour, apply two to three topcoats over the fully dried primer. Gently sand very lightly and wipe clean between coats for optimal adhesion. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended dry time between coats.
Painting Bifold Door Tips
Follow these handy tips and techniques for professional-looking results:
- When painting over stained or varnished doors, use a stain-blocking primer first for best coverage.
- Tint the primer to match the colour for enhanced hiding power.
- Maintain a wet edge and overlap strokes to prevent lap marks between coats.
- For a smooth finish on interior doors, opt for satin, eggshell, or semi-gloss paint. Avoid flat paints which show imperfections.
- Water-based acrylic latex paints provide excellent durability and are easy to apply. Oil-based paints are shinier but require mineral spirits for cleanup.
- Paint the door panels first, then the door frames to avoid overlapping brush marks at the edges.
- For spray painting, use light misting coats and keep the can 10-12 inches from the surface.
- Allow fresh painted bifold doors at least 2 weeks of cure time before closing or rehanging them.
Reinstalling the Painted Bifold Doors
Once the paint has fully cured, you’re ready to rehang the bifold doors. Follow these steps:
- Check the doors for any stuck paint that could interfere with smooth operation.
- Carefully realign each door on its hinge hardware and slide back into place.
- Test the doors to ensure they open and close freely without sticking. Make any hinge adjustments needed.
- Reattach any previously removed door stops or other hardware. Check for proper latching and closure.
- Vacuum up any stray drips or overspray specks on the surrounding floor or walls.
- Consider adding new door handles or knobs to finish off your freshly painted bifold doors.
With proper preparation and application, freshly painted bifold doors can provide a beautiful new look for any room. Just exercise patience for the best results. Avoid shortcuts and follow each step closely.
Your diligent efforts will pay off in doors with rich, flawless colour and professional quality. Give your interior a mini makeover with stylish painted bifold doors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Painting Bifold Doors
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about painting bifold doors:
What type of paint should I use on bifold doors?
High-quality 100% acrylic latex paints provide the best finish for interior bifold doors. They offer great durability, colour retention, and flexibility. Look for an interior paint formulated especially for doors and trim.
How many coats of paint do bifold doors need?
Applying two to three coats ensures full coverage and an even colour. Use a primer coat first, then finish with two topcoats of latex paint for a polished look. Add a third topcoat if covering a darker colour.
Do I need to take the doors down to paint them?
Yes, removing the bi-fold doors makes painting them much easier. You can fully access all door edges and completely finish painting the door fronts. Rehanging them is straightforward once the paint is dry.
Should I use a paintbrush or paint sprayer?
For most DIYers, using quality paintbrushes to apply the paint gives great results. A sprayer can speed up application but requires masking off the surrounding area. Brushing allows for precision, especially on the door panels.
How long does it take for painted bifold doors to dry?
At 70°F and 50% humidity, latex paint will dry to the touch in 1-2 hours. The painted doors should not be closed or rehung until the paint has fully cured, which typically takes 14 days.
Can I paint over stained bifold doors?
Yes, you can paint previously stained or varnished bifold doors. Remove any loose finish first by light sanding. Use an oil-based primer to block stains before painting. Two coats of latex paint provide ideal coverage.
Painting bifold doors allows you to easily refresh the look of any room. With the right supplies and these step-by-step instructions, you can achieve professional results. Just be patient and let each coat fully dry between applications. Enjoy your newly painted bifold doors!
Painting bifold doors can seem daunting, but with the right preparation and materials, it can be a straightforward DIY project. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can achieve a smooth, professional-looking paint finish on your bifold closet doors.
The key things to remember are:
- Remove the doors and clean thoroughly – This allows you to paint all sides and edges evenly. Use a degreaser to remove any oils or dirt.
- Sand lightly to rough up the surface – This helps the new paint adhere properly. Pay extra attention to any glossy areas.
- Apply primer – Use oil-based primer for the best results on bifold doors. This seals the wood and evens out absorbency.
- Add two coats of paint – Allow proper drying time between coats. Water-based paints provide a smooth finish. Spray paints can be easier for bifold door slats.
- Re-install the doors – Wait at least 24 hours after the final coat before re-hanging your bifold doors. Check they open and close properly.
Take your time with each step and you’ll be rewarded with long-lasting, great-looking bifold closet doors. The transformation a fresh coat of paint makes is amazing.
For more handy home decor tips, check out the rest of the articles on our site. Don’t forget to share this guide if you found it helpful!