Metal bi-fold closet doors/popcorn ceiling/wiring living room for light fixture.

Good morning!

So this past weekend I went to see some properties. One of them seems particularly a good deal. However I have the following questions that I hopy you could help me with:

1 - all the closets have those metal bi-fold closet doors. Some were dented and others were scratched. My question is - will I get good results if I spray paint them? Have you tried it with success? I am trying to avoid having to replace them.

2 - For the ones that are dented - is there anything I can do? Or would I be better off replacing them?

3 - popcorn ceiling - the house has popcorn ceiling throughout. I read some old posts around the subject and it seems that some people prefer to remove them and others prefer to leave them alone and spray paint over them. Considering that this is a starter home I would probably not try to remove it. Any new thoughts/insights?

4 - there is no place for a light fixture in the living room. There are no electrical wires coming through the ceiling. There is a switch on the wall that probably turns on/off a power outlet on the wall. This is probably how they turn on/off the light in the living room. My thinking is that it should be fairly easy to drill a hole in the middle of the ceiling and pass some wires and connect them to the wires coming from the switch on the wall. Any thoughts on this approach? Have you done that? Are there any pitfalls/challenges I should be aware of?

5 - and one last question related to 4 above - considering that this is an entry level home would you go through the trouble of installing a light fixture in the ceiling of the living room? Do you think this would add value to the property? Another option would be to install some free standing lights connected to power outlets on the wall. Any thoughts?

I am trying to get answers to the above questions so I can estimate my cost of rehab. Thank you all for your advice. Have a great day!

  1. Closet doors. I’ve painted them with a sprayer in the past and they have turned out good. I’d just clean them first.

  2. Hard to get a dent out of those things if not impossible. I would probably replace them.

  3. You can spray them down with water and then scrape them so the dust doesn’t get everywhere and then retexture with something nicer than popcorn. For a started home I would just paint over the popcorn.

4 and 5. With the time and effort and not knowing what you will run in to… get a $25 free standing lamp. :slight_smile:

My two cents…

The best way to repair a dent in metal is to use automotive bondo and sand the spot even. You can get it at any automotive store and a can will last forever filling small dents. Just sand down to metal apply, sand even, and paint, put a primer on the bondo first or just paint the area once or twice before final coat.

j 1dias,

Are you going to flip the house or rent it out? That always makes a difference in how much you do.

  1. The metal doors…I had the same problem and found louvered bi-fold wood closet doors at Home Depot. They were not expensive. They were already painted and made a huge difference in the quality-appearance of the bedrooms. Don’t waste time on those old doors.

  2. Popcorn ceilings…if you paint them they soak up buckets of paint but look nice and fresh. Or you can hire cheap labor to scrape off the popcorn and then have them textured. Scraped, textured ceilings look better. What is your aim with this house?

  3. Yes, to the dining room light. Nice ceiling fixtures are not expensive (start at $35), then you buy a “swag kit” so it can be run off that switch. You might find old wires up in the ceiling.

Just adding my 2 cents, too.


1+2. I agree on the bondo idea. Our building’s front door is an ugly “Smurf Blue” metal door with some small dings on it. When I get time, I’m going to do exactly what GRIDcorp suggested. Cheap & easy fix. So if you wanted to save the metal doors, that would be an option. I haven’t priced the wooden bi-folds lately, but if you wanted to change and they’re not too expensive, those things are easy to install. You can use an oil based paint on them. They’ll have a little shine to them and marks will easily wipe off.
3. Some people on here have mentioned about how some of the old popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. I don’t know if there’s a way to tell the difference without taking a sample to get tested. Better find out before you scrape it off and perforate your lungs. I don’t know how much you’ve heard about asbestos dangers, but it’s only a problem when disturbed. Just by having a ceiling like that doesn’t mean you’re in danger unless you scrape it down.
If you paint it, you should expect to spray it. My parents’ house has these ceilings. I remember my dad trying to touch up a few areas. If you use a brush or a roller, it will pull down the popcorn from the area you’re working on.
4+5. There are plenty of apartments out there with no ceiling light in the living area, but have the outlet wired to the living room switch. You could test yours to make sure it works that way and just tell tenants they can plug in a lamp there or you can put in a light fixture/ceiling fan of your own.
Our apartments didn’t have ceiling lights in the living areas. In the ones we rehabbed, we installed $50 ceiling fans in the living areas. We also had to spend about $10 for wire to run over to the switch. Just make sure you have some type of solid base to mount the fan unit to. It wasn’t hard running the wire and ceiling fans are super easy to install anyway. I think it makes a great difference in there. The living areas are SO much brighter in the rehabbed units than the other ones. Yes I could’ve installed a $10 light fixture, but the fan is a nice touch and didn’t cost too much more.
If you’re going to just use the outlet, I would just make the tenants supply the light. If you put your own in the living area, it may grow legs and move out when they do.
Good luck with it!!



  1. I always remove any folding doors. They won’t survive the tenants, unless you have very upscale tenants. If the doors are in bad shape, I throw them away. If they look good, I put them in my storeroom, to be used if I ever sell the property.

  2. Popcorn ceilings are fine for a rental.

  3. Forget the ceiling light. Go to Walmart and buy a $10 floor lamp.

If this is a rental - THINK CHEAP! Learn to be a cheapskate! Save a penny, make a penny!

Good Luck,


Thank you for the advice.

1 and 2 - I checked the price of the bi-fold closet doors at Home Depot. $75.00 each. My cost spreadsheet had those at $238. If I buy the place I will paint them and try the bondo trick first. If it doesn’t work I will replace them. Thank you.

3 - I will probably remove the popcorn from the ceiling. This is a flip and I believe the house will show better with a textured ceiling. All of the other houses I’ve seen in the neighborhood has popcorn ceiling. I will probably try to remove it myself (with a respirator to protect me from asbestos).

4 and 5 - Not sure what to do. I like the idea of installing a fan. However I don’t want to overdo it. I will probably check the wiring and if I find it will be easy to install the light fixture I will do it.

Thank you again for the advice. Have a nice day! :O)

if you’re not an electrician, and you perform electrical work on a home for rent or for sale, you could be setting yourself up for liability if someone gets hurt or starts a fire. I would at least have an electrician inspect it.

Mcwagner - thank you for the advice. I can do the work myself, but I will get someone to inspect it after it is done… Just in case… :O)

putting a ceiling fan with a light is definitly a good idea.if their is an attic above this ceiling its no problem.
metal doors get rid of them you can buy bifold doors cheap.
popcorn ceilings tough decision does the rest of the neighborhood have them?hope i helped a little

Carpenter - your insight helps… Thank you.

Most of the houses I am looking at have popcorn ceiling. And when I go to one that doesn’t have it, it catches my eyes… So I believe if I remove it, it will help me sell the house… Maybe…

Thank you. Have a nice evening!

Popcorn ceilings scream 80’s. I looked at a 6-unit that had that crap sprayed on the walls too. You could see every hole that had been put in the walls over the years and didn’t have the same texture where they fixed it.
If you are going to rehab and sell, I’d try to get stuff off if I were you.

You could just brush those dusty walls and ceiling. And those ceiling fans could be detached to the ceiling and wash them too. Paint the wall with odorless paint.

It sounds like you don’t have experience fishing wires, doing it from a lightswitch to a ceiling is very difficult and will generally require a hole at every turn (read-patching).

If there is an attic above, add a fan–> properly secured as others have mentioned, if there is something other than an accesable attic above, get a lamp.