Latex paint comes off with fingernail… how to prepare for a new paint job?

C.L. asked 5 years ago

I have recently purchased a home built in the 1950s. The kitchen, hallway and living room have 1 or 2 coats of latex paint on top of what I think is oil-based paint.

My problem is that the latex paint scrapes off easily with my fingernail. And I’d like to repaint these rooms.

1) Do I need to scrape all of the latex topcoat off, seeing as my fingernail can scrape it off easily everywhere?

2) Can I use a shellac-based sealer or similar product on top of the current peeling/scraping latex paint and then, paint over it, instead of scraping and sanding all of the existing latex paint off?

3) Should I be concerned that the oil paint underneath is toxic/lead-based?

4) If I do need to scrape all the newer latex paint off, what’s the best way to do it… with water and a scour pad or???

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