Do You Have To Paint Both Sides Of A Bifold Door? (Pictures Included!)

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Last updated on June 3rd, 2022 at 12:07 pm

Do You Paint the Inside Of Bifold Closet Doors? Find Out Here!

Just installed new bifold doors and wondering if you have to paint both sides? (My exact thoughts after we installed SEVEN primed bifold doors…) Well, look no further because I have your answer!

Both sides of bifold doors should be painted if you need to seal the door or can see both sides of the door regularly. If one side won’t be seen, such as in a small closet, then you only need to paint the parts of the door that can be seen through the fold when the door is open.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let me further explain why you might not need to paint both sides of your bifold doors.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Painting Both Sides Of Bifold Doors

  1. Benefit Of Painting Both Sides Of A Bifold Door
  2. How We Painted Our Closet Bifold Doors
  3. When Should You Paint Both Sides Of A Bifold Door?
  4. When Can You Paint Only One Side Of A Bifold Door?
  5. How To Paint Bifold Doors That You Can See Both Sides
  6. How To Paint Bifold Doors That You Can Only See One Side
  7. Other FAQs About Painting Both Sides Of A Bifold Door
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. Related Door & Trim Articles

Benefit Of Painting Both Sides Of A Bifold Door

First, let’s go over why it would be in your best interest to paint both sides of your bifold door (even if you technically can’t see one side).

The main benefit to painting all sides of a bifold door is that the paint seals your door and protects it from humidity and moisture. Painting both sides is especially important if your bifold door is located in a bathroom or if you live in a high humidity climate.

If you don’t seal wood or composite, the unpainted part of the door can warp over time. Warping can ruin your paint job on the front side and the integrity of the entire door by stretching or contracting the wood beneath it.

Also, most manufacturer warranties are voided if all sides of a door aren’t painted. Yeah, they know moisture will damage an unpainted bifold door and don’t want to deal with the extra cost either.

How We Painted Our Closet Bifold Doors

Because of the potential damage, we did paint both sides of our bifold doors, but not in the way that you’re thinking.

I really didn’t want to take the time to put three coats of white paint on both sides of all seven bifold doors… but I didn’t want the potential damage either. Doors are expensive!

So we painted one coat on all sides of the bifold doors and only did all three coats on the front “show-side” of the doors.

That way, we compromised a bit. We saved some time and also put a protective layer over the entire door.

do you paint both sides of bifold doors
You can see how faint the coat on the back of our doors is compared to the front.


Related Door & Trim Articles


When Should You Paint Both Sides Of A Bifold Door?

You should paint both sides of a bifold door whenever you can easily see both sides of the door. If you can enter and leave a room (such as a bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, or walk-in closet), then you should paint both sides.

You should also paint both sides if you want to avoid voiding the warranty of the bifold door. Painting at least one coat of paint on all sides will help protect the door from moisture damage.

However, there are a few circumstances where you can get away with only painting one side of the bifold doors!

do you paint the edges of bifold doors
My husband rolled paint on the edges of our bifold doors to seal them off since we had to cut them to fit the opening.

When Can You Paint Only One Side Of A Bifold Door?

You can paint only one side of a bifold door if your door has already been painted before and you can’t easily see the other side. Small closets that prevent you from walking in and seeing the other side of the door can avoid having both sides of the door painted.

However, even on small closets, when the bifold door is open, you can see a small part of the other side of the door and the entire inner part of the fold of the door.

do you paint both sides of bifold doors
You can see that “folded edge” and a little bit of the other side of the door sometimes.

If the current color of the door and the color you are painting the door is close enough to the same color, then you can probably get away with not painting the other side.

But if your original door color is white and you’re painting it black now, you’ll want to at least paint all of the edges and one coat on the part of the door that you can see through the gap when the door’s open.

Other than that, there’s really no benefit to painting more of the other side of the door because no one will ever see it.

How To Paint Bifold Doors That You Can See Both Sides

Here is a quick tutorial on how to paint your bifold doors.

The first thing that you’ll have to consider is what kind of bifold door you’re going to paint, as in, what’s it made of?

The three most common bifold door materials are wood, aluminum, and composite, with wood being the most prevalent one by far. 

Regardless of which type you’re going to paint, surface preparation is the most important factor and all three types are prepared in a similar fashion.

  • Thoroughly clean and inspect every aspect of the door
  • Use caulk to fill in any defects
  • Sand every square inch of the bifold door with 120-grit sandpaper
  • Clean it again, more thoroughly this time
  • Inspect it again to ensure no dust or debris remains
  • Tape off any parts (Knobs, hinges) that you don’t want to paint
  • Paint

Surface prep is the most important aspect of any painting job because if you fail to prep the surface of the door the right way, the paint will be more prone to fall off, crack, or curl up. However, you start by cleaning it up.

Once you’re done cleaning the entire surface area—if your bifold door is composite or wood—use a quality caulk to fill in any gaps, defects, or any areas where you find depressions in the material. 

Once the surface has been cleaned and caulked, go over it with 120-grit sandpaper, making sure to scratch up every bit of exposed material.

The scratched surface will ensure that the paint is able to bond with the composite/wood at a molecular level.

Clean it again, thoroughly, making sure to remove all dust and debris. Anything left behind will weaken the paint’s ability to adhere to the surface over time.

Then, tape off any spots that you don’t want to paint with painter’s tape.

Now you’re free to brush, roll, or spray paint the bifold door. If you want to paint both sides, you’ll need to go through the entire surface prep on the backside as well as the front. 

should you paint bifold doors before hanging
The fresh white paint looks much better than the light yellow pre-primed color!

How To Paint Bifold Doors That You Can Only See One Side

The prep process is the same as above, but you only need to paint a few spots on the edge and the backside if you can only see one side of the bifold door.

  1. Open up the door and see how much of the other side you can see through the fold
  2. Paint as far on the other side as you need to cover what you saw
  3. Paint the front edge and inside edge of the doors
do you paint both sides of bifold doors - where to paint only one side
Paint only as far as you need to cover what you can see from the outside.

Other FAQs About Painting One Side Of Bifold Doors

Here are some other frequently asked questions about painting bifold doors to help you complete your painting project!

Should you Paint A Bifold Door Before You Hang It?

You should paint a bifold door before you hang it if you need to paint the top, bottom, and sides of the door to seal it (because it was cut to fit or unfinished). Otherwise, you can paint a bifold door while it’s hanging.

The door has a little wheel along the top track that pulls down and allows you to fully extend the bifold door. This feature is excellent for painting the door while it’s hanging.

how to open bifold doors to paint easier
This is the door opened part-way off it’s track to make painting easier. Just pull that little spring down and pull the door open.

What Type Of Paint Should You Use On Bifold Doors?

Bifold doors should be painted with high-gloss paint to make them easier to clean and maintain. It is common to paint cabinets, doors, and trim with this type of paint to help them stand out slightly from the wall.

Do You Paint Bifold Door Edges?

Bifold door edges should be painted to seal the door from moisture damage and to make the door look fully uniform whether it’s open or closed. The edges of bifold doors can be seen when they are opened, so it is best practice to paint them.

Final Thoughts On Painting Both Sides Of Bifold Doors

There you have it!

While you don’t have to paint both sides of a bifold door, it’s definitely beneficial to do so to protect the underlying wood from swelling and contracting.

However, I’m also all for doing things faster because I know our time is worth a lot!

Hopefully, this guide will help you decide if it’s worth painting both sides of your bifold door or not. Good luck with your painting project!

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Wooster Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush (2-Inch)

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FoamPRO 164 Fine Finish Roller (4-Inch)

If you want the least amount of paint texture left from a roller (such as on metal or furniture), then this is the best roller you can use. The fine finish in the foam leaves the tiniest bit of texture that can easily be sanded between coats to get a finish almost as good as a sprayed finish. You can find this awesome foam roller here on Amazon.

do you paint both sides of bifold doors
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Do You Have To Paint Both Sides Of A Bifold Door? (Pictures Included!)

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