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How to Paint Internal Bi-Fold Doors

Folding doors offer an excellent way for homeowners to create a little visual novelty in their homes.  They’re also incredibly functional, and capable of transforming two adjoining rooms into a single large space in a moment – and then back again a moment later.

When you’re shopping for one on this site, you’ll have the option to have it finished with a stain that’ll bring out the natural qualities of the wood, or you might opt for a traditional all-white look.  If, on the other hand, you’d like to paint the door yourself – so that you might choose a colour that best matches your interior, then you can order it without a finish.

But it isn’t just at the outset that you might wish to paint your bi-fold door.  As time goes on, they can begin to show signs of wear-and-tear, which can be addressed with a fresh coat of paint.  Fortunately, this is a job that doesn’t require much effort or ingenuity – anyone can do it!   In this article, let’s consider how we might go about the task.

Preparation

Before getting started, it’s worth pausing to consider how exactly we’re going to go about the task.  Where are you going to do the painting?  Are you going to do it in the same room that the door is kept in, or are you going to transport them to some out-of-the-way place where paint spillages and obstructions aren’t going to be such a big concern?

Whichever you decide, you’ll need to remove your internal bi-fold door from its tracks and disassemble it. While this sort of major surgery might seem a large investment in time, you’ll be able to reach all of the nooks and crannies and spaces within the hinges far more easily if the door is in pieces.  What’s more, if your door comes with a floor-mounted rail, you won’t be able to get a sheet underneath it – which will make unsightly paint spillages inside and around the track inevitable.

Using masking tape, fix sheets down across the area you intend to use to paint the door.  If you’re painting a particularly large door, then you might wish to perform this step in stages, painting a few panels at a time.

Finally, before commencing you’ll need to assemble a few different materials:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soapy water and sponge
  • Duster
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to get started!

 

Removal

Now that you’re ready to get started, the first stage is to disassemble the entire door, including the rollers, the hinges and the handles.  Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to lay the door flush against the floor without worrying about any protrusions propping it up and creating a sloped surface.  Moreover, you won’t need to worry about paint spattering onto the bits of the door you’d rather weren’t painted.  Be sure to keep track of all of the screws you’re removing; keep them in a series of labelled boxes.  This will save you an enormous amount of trouble when you come to put the door back together.

Once you’ve gotten the door stripped down and lying flat on the floor, you’re almost ready to get started with painting.  But before you do so, you’ll want to be sure that the door is as clean as possible.

 

Cleaning

Cleaning a door (or indeed, any wooden surface) before applying a coat of paint is an essential step, without which we’d run the risk of burying those tiny particles of dust and grit in a layer of paint, creating an ugly textured effect.  We can avoid this with the help of a sponge and a little bit of soapy water.  We don’t want to use so much water, however, that the wood becomes saturated – since once it’s covered in paint, any moisture that’s trapped inside will have nowhere to go.  For this reason, less is certainly more – use a damp sponge rather than a soaked one and to allow the wood to thoroughly dry before commencing the actual job of painting.  While you’re cleaning, you’ll want to clean any glass panels that are set into the door.  Do this with a soft cloth and a suitable cleaning solution.

Unlike a table or floor, a door is unlikely to have picked up a significant amount of abrasion, and so sanding won’t be necessary.  What’s more, since many of our doors are veneered, sanding risks removing the outer layer and thus ruining the door – so don’t do it!

 

Painting

Finally, we arrive at the business of actually painting the door.  Before doing so, you’ll want to apply a thin strip of masking tape around the edges of any glass panels, to ensure no paint gets onto the glass, and that any divide between the glass and the surrounding frame is as stark as possible.

Be sure to apply thin layers of paint as evenly as possible, and to mop up any runs that you notice with the paintbrush.  If necessary, cover the door in multiple thin layers of paint.

 

Re-installation

Once you’ve finished painting your doors on every side, and allowed them to properly and thoroughly dry, it’s time to re-attach all of the hinges, handles and other accessories you removed, and then reattach the entire door, piece by piece, to the frame.  Be sure that in doing so, you don’t scratch the paintwork with an errant screwdriver.  When you’re done, you should be looking at a much-improved version of your door, which should serve you well for a few years before needing a fresh coat of paint!

Summary

Re-painting an internal door can markedly improve its appearance, and extend its lifespan.  It’ll allow you to make different colour choices for the rest of the room.  It’s also remarkably easy to do, and so there’s no excuse not to!

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